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Tadao Ando's Awaji Yumebutai Part I

Awaji Yumebutai - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley
Awaji Yumebutai - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

Click for more photos of the Awaji Yumebutai Botanical Gardens

Awaji Yumebutai is a sprawling complex of buildings by Tadao Ando. It was originally meant to be a golf course built on the site of a former land quarry used to provide earth for the Kansai airport. Ando helped convince the prefecture to purchase the surrounding land (100 hectares) and turn it into a park. Somewhere in the development process that all got changed, and instead of a golf course and park, it ended up as a hotel, conference center, and gardens. At first they were worried that it would be difficult to get people to stay in such a remote spot, but a visit by David Beckham secured them future bookings and taught Ando the power of celebrity.

Attached to a Hilton hotel, the complex includes both indoor and outdoor gardens, a conference center, tea ceremony building, fancy restaurants, and a small amphitheater. Each building has it's own distinct geometric shape, lending itself to an easy iconography that I wished I snapped some photos of. The complex is so sprawling that, even after a couple of hours, there was still much to see. Unfortunately I could not stay longer, but I wanted to leave a little left unexplored so that I might have a reason to come back (when the weather was better).

The Hyakudanen botanical gardens are the star of the complex, in my opinion. While there are some interesting spots in the complex to visit, much of it seems filler in comparison. The gardens were designed as a memorial to those who died in the Great Hanshin Earthquake in the Kobe area. They are a like a giant Q-bert style grid of square flower boxes connected by stairs. An elevator helps you get half-way up the grid, but for the rest it's up to your own fitness as to how many stairs you wish to go up and down.

I'll have more photos of my visit from the rest of the complex in a later entry.

Update: Awaji Yumebutai Part II

Photo Gallery: Awaji Yumebutai Botanical Gardens

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This page contains a single entry from kwc blog posted on May 21, 2009 3:43 AM.

The previous post was Photos: Tadao Ando's Water Temple (Shingonshu Honpukuji).

The next post is Tadao Ando's Awaji Yumebutai Part II.

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