A 52-year-old one-storey reinforced concrete block house in the central urban area of Miyakojima City, Okinawa Prefecture, was renovated into an accommodation facility.

Miyakojima Island, located about 290 km southwest of the main island of Okinawa, has seen the construction of many resort hotels in recent years, but if one looks at the city center, one notices that many vacant houses still exist. This project began with the desire to renovate vacant houses and revitalize them as lodging facilities, making them places where islanders can rediscover the unique value of their environment, and tourists can experience the beauty of the island while supporting the daily life of Miyakojima.

The existing reinforced concrete block structure, one of the characteristics of Ryukyu/ Okinawan architecture, had a simple, waist-high frame that provided a comfortable, shaded environment where the wind can flow and provide relief from the hot and humid climate.

In response to this unique structure and environment, we removed the sashes on the south side of the building, leaving the openings where traces of the sashes remained, and framed each opening with a larger glass surface on the inside. 

By spatializing the wall itself and blurring the boundary between the interior and exterior, we attempted to bring the environment of Miyakojima in to the structure itself.

Using the existing floor plan and openings as a guide, we were able to scatter features such as the counter top, water area and a small raised area across different levels, encouraging guests to linger in these spaces.

The small but generous one-room with a ceiling height of 3.5 m was transformed in scale into something profoundly different to the typical Japanese house by adding margins both in plan and section, and the structure was designed so that the environment can be enjoyed from any and every area of the house.

One of the attractions of this project is that the remoteness of the island imposes restrictions on the materials that can be used. Sourcing only materials distributed on the island, such as insect-proofed cedar wood, corrugated slate panels, Ryukyu tatami mats, and flower blocks, the design was updated in consultation with local craftsmen on materials and production methods, giving it a nostalgic air that blends old and new.

With its large intake of island air, proximity to ever-shifting nature, and timeless feeling, we aimed to create a new lodging experience that will become a part of the daily life of Miyakojima.