A hotel to innovate a city.

Obihiro is the central city of the magnificent Tokachi Heiya, known as 1100% food self-sufficiency in eastern Hokkaido. The city used to be one of the busiest cities in Hokkaido during the high economic growth. With the unique lifestyle of Hokkaido and the development of shopping malls in the suburbs, the city was subjected to revitalization. Tetsuya Kashio, a lawyer who attended a town planning school in Portland, was born and raised in the center of Obihiro, and he wanted to bring back the liveliness to the city one day. Mr. Kashio was impressed by the city planning in Portland, especially the fact that what makes Portland attractive is residents who create small businesses and make the charm of the city. Purchase a hotel in the city was the first step to revive Obihiro. Mr. Ryohei Suita also joined this project. He is the author of “Green Neighborhood” and the first person who introduced the city planning of Portland to Japan. Mr. Kashio, Mr. Suita and BAUM as a team, planned to build a hotel which contributes to the city. The vision created by multiple fieldworks is “Hotel Urbanism = a hotel that creates a city.”

The issue which was discovered through fieldworks is that although there are unique tourism resources in the city center, targeting was not the right people who would be more attracted. Although many people visit Kushiro, next to the city, the style of road trip by visiting multiple cities has not been established. Since Niseko and Sapporo have greatly increased the name recognition of Hokkaido, it has become a big attraction for travelers from countries without snow, especially in Asia. And the experience in Tokachi Heiya has potential. If this city speaks to the right people who are interested in this city, people will stay at this hotel then, this city will revive. The targets were backpackers and enthusiasts of outdoor activities. Backpackers are always looking for a cheap inn with interesting encounters. Outdoor activity enthusiasts are looking for a cost-effective inn, but they feel lonely just sleeping in a business hotel. The hotel was originally built for short business travel with small rooms.
The rooms are small but clean. And the 1st floor facing the street became the contact point between the city and travelers. Here is the sketch that describes the atmosphere.

In the city of Obihiro, the shop’s windows were generally hard to see the inside. Even though it has a large window, it is filled with advertising posters. This is the main reason why the atmosphere of the city was not lively. There used to be a similar situation in Portland, Oregon, where it is now one of the nation’s leading “High Walkability City”. By actively opening stores on the street, visitors can see the people inside. Portland became lively even during a long rainy season.
The strategy on the 1st floor of the hotel also emphasizes that point. A cafe and bar space was set up continuously with the front desk space. Events are frequently held in the lobby and it became a point of contact between travelers and locals. The goal was to make this hotel a “Curious to see what is happening there” place. The concept was built based on the vision, “Urban Lodge”. A place where having the latest information about nature experiences, participating and planning own activities like a mountain lodge. A big magnet is a special experience in the Tokachi Plain. People visit seeking a special experience like nowhere else can. Also nightlife is so unique and cultural that digs out the fun in the central city area.

It has been several years since the hotel opened. In the morning, fisher men and hikers share the breakfast table in the lobby. An exhibition of outdoor gear, and regular music lectures are held. Collaboration with nearby stores is progressing, and the flow of people is steadily changing little by little.

Concept Design