BenTen Residences - The Restoration Effort

According to the title deeds, this pair of properties is described as more than 100 years old. In our brief to the architect Asami-san, our intent was one of restoration, which would go over and beyond a simple renovation process. At the same time, we realised the need to incorporate modern comfort features like heated flooring while retaining as much of the original architectural characteristics as possible.

The crew that worked on the BenTen restoration project are passionate artisans and demonstrated an extraordinary level of intensity and craftsmanship in their work. One good example would be this structural pillar which had a new piece of wood fitted in to reinforce it. The craftsman painstakingly recreated the wood grain so that the new and original wood would blend seamlessly once the beam had been oiled and stained. That said, the majority of these beams would not be visible to guests as they would reside behind the walls. Yet, as this was a restoration project, they remained thorough and true to their work. The attention to detail and pride of their craftsmanship is evident throughout the property.


Reinforcement of structural pillar with a new piece of wood
PHOTO: RICHARD TAN

Another great example of the exceptional dedication and craftsmanship is seen in BenTen West, where the design of the staircase necessitated the installation of single solid wooden beam measuring the entire 6m height of the staircase so as to preserve the entire structural facade. This took an inordinate amount of engineering work, coordination and patience to navigate, not just at the facade but also the narrow streets of the neighborhood and other houses along Kamibenten-cho.


Observe the 6m solid wooden beam in the centre of this picture - inserted to strengthen the wooden structure of the Machiya
PHOTO: TOMOMI

PHOTO: TOMOMI TAKANO

BenTen Residences: Before Restoration
PHOTO: ASAMI TOSHIYUKI

BenTen Residences: The Worksite
PHOTO: TOMOMI TAKANO

BenTen Residences: Completion of Restoration Works
PHOTO: TOMOMI TAKANO

Komatsu Residences - The Journey of Re-creation

Komatsu Residences is a development built our on 2 plots of land nestled within Komatsucho, a stone's throw away from Kenninji, considered to be the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto.

When Shimaya's founders came across these 2 land plots, the Kyo-Machiyas which had been built on them had already been demolished. Thus began the new challenge, and journey, of recreating Kyo-Machiyas.

The first phase of Komatsu Residences - Komatsu South - was designed by Asami & Associates, and handcrafted by Tsuji Workshop. This brought together once again the partnership which made possible the BenTen Residences restoration project.

Komatsu South was handcrafted using traditional construction methods, and features an exterior which is in the traditional Kyo-Machiya style. However, an adventure awaits those who step into it.


Shinto Rites before the commencement of construction works
PHOTO: JANICE TAY



Wooden Scale Model of Komatsu South
PHOTO & MODEL: CLARA HANNAH GOH




Structural & Ground Works - Laying the Concrete Foundations
PHOTOS: ASAMI TOSHIYUKI and JANICE TAY




Wooden Beams Prepared for Construction of Main Building Structure
PHOTO: ICHIKAWA YASUSHI



Putting Together the Main Building Structure
PHOTOS: ASAMI TOSHIYUKI




Putting Structural Beams in Place
PHOTO: ASAMI TOSHIYUKI



Completed Building Structure
PHOTO: ICHIKAWA YASUSHI



Craftsman at Work
PHOTO: ICHIKAWA YASUSHI



Entrance Hallway: Under Construction
PHOTOS: ICHIKAWA YASUSHI



Entrance Hallway: Completed
PHOTO: LEE YONG CHYE



Rooftop Garden: Under Construction
PHOTOS: ICHIKAWA YASUSHI



Rooftop Garden: Completed
PHOTO: LEE YONG CHYE



Entrance to Rooftop Garden: Under Construction
Photo: JANICE TAY

Entrance to Rooftop Garden: Completed
PHOTO: LEE YONG CHYE



Komatsu South: Exterior
PHOTOS: LEE YONG CHYE



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