ASLA Online ASLA Online ASLA Onine American Society of Landscape Architects
ASLA Online ASLA Online ASLA Online What's New Contact Us Site Map Search

Merit Award - DESIGN

right click to download print version
right click to download print version
right click to download print version

Nikko Kirifuri Resort
Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture, Japan

Carol Franklin, Colin Franklin, Yaki Miodovnik - Principals, Andropogon Associates, Ltd.,
Junji Tashiro - Director, Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications

Carol L. Franklin, FASLA
Principal, Andropogon Associates, Ltd.
374 Shurs Lane
Philadelphia, PA 19128
Tel: 215-487-0700;
Fax 215-483-7520

Project Purpose

The purpose of the Nikko Kirifuri Resort project was to create anew resort hotel and spa complex on a mountainous forested site in central Japan. The landscape architect's objective was to protect the ecological integrity and natural beauty of the site while developing design Patterns that were sensitive to the natural features of the site and respected the artistic and cultural traditions of Japan. The~ new facilities and amenities designed by the landscape Architect -- the access roads, bridges, parking, gardens, paths, trails, and stormwater management system -all fit seamlessly into the forested hillsides with minimal intrusion.

Role of the Landscape Architect

The landscape design for the 3-acre site at Nikko Kirifuri Resort demonstrates the broad Role of the technical and ecological expertise of the landscape architect. The overall feel of the landscape suggests a rural Japanese village nestled within a forest setting. For this project, the landscape architect:

  • sited the resort buildings on a previously disturbed flat terrace, and determined building footprints to reduce their impact on natural areas;
  • designed stormwater management as a system of three dramatic ornamental ponds with waterfalls and garden terraces accessible to the hotel guests;
  • designed all pedestrian and vehicular circulation, including entrance and internal roads, paths, hiking trails, gardens, pedestrian bridges, and parking;
  • determined the shape, placement, elevation, and footing of the vehicular entrance bridge, a continuously curving and rising cantilevered bridge, and;
  • directed and designed the restoration of a stream and forested ravine slopes disturbed during construction

An American architect designed the hotel building. Japanese landscape designers and civil engineers assisted with construction documentation and implementation.

Special Factors and Significance

Although spectacular in its beauty, the natural site posed serious challenges for the designers - complex landforms, steep slopes along a mountain stream, highly erodible soils, sensitive woodlands, and greatly restricted building zones. Protecting the ecological integrity and natural beauty of the site was, however, essential to the project's design. The landscape architect developed strategies to minimize the impact of all site interventions, especially damage to natural systems during construction. 1800 trees and shrubs were salvaged prior to construction, stored for three years in a rice paddy, and replanted on the site. The construction access road was removed and all areas of the stream and forest disturbed during construction were restored.

Design solutions for individual problems on the site were not seen as separate, but interdependent, forming an integrated design for the whole site. For instance, stormwater retention basins were recast as ornamental stormwater ponds, and sited in formerly eroded gullies, transforming an eyesore into a major landscape feature, as the site layout evolved, the design became progressively more compact and tightly planned to integrate the buildings with the site. In particular, vehicular circulation was minimized and one parking lot was tucked underneath a building.

Nikko is the first large-scale project in Japan that integrates Western ecological understanding with the ancient aesthetic tradition of Japan. Every aspect of design was crafted to protect, repair, and dramatize the natural resources of the site in a style that reflected a Japanese sensibility to place. The design vocabulary for the gardens, roads, parking lots, paths, terraces, and courtyards was inspired by the rich, layered structure of the native forest and the whimsical and colorful patterns of rural Japanese villages.




2001 Award Winners
Press Release
Copyright  1995-2000 by The American Society of Landscape Architects