VISON

Commercial resort complex themed on food and health

2021@Taki, Mie Prefecture

The VISON is located in the city of Taki, which is at the center of Mie Prefecture. It is adjacent to the Seiwa-Taki Interchange, which is a 20-minute drive from Ise-jingu Shrine. Revolving around the herbal medicine bath facility (Honzo spa), which is closely tied to the city of Taki, this commercial resort complex consists of a multitude of features, including hotels, commercial areas, and agricultural areas.

Bird’s eye view of VISON. Photos by ToLoLo Studio (all of this page unless otherwise mentioned)

It started out with getting an offer from the Taki local government to help create a facility themed on food and health, and we visited the site for the first time in 2013. In the face of the incredible scale of the premises—an altitude of 200 meters over a land size equal to two Disneylands—we realized that we could not prioritize economic efficiency in the narrow sense. 
If we were to drastically alter the natural environment, we wanted to recreate it into a place where people could have hope and feel the regional uniqueness. Trying to build homogeneous facilities in pursuit of efficiency as top priority would make us lose sight of the richness of the land. The act of leveling mountains and filling in the valleys must reach the positive praise of inherent uniqueness, like exquisite dishes that bring out the best of the ingredients. The landscape that drives people’s attachment to the area and awareness of belonging can be a launchpad for children’s upbringing and further become a charm that attracts guests from afar. To fulfill the facilities’ concept and challenge of regional revitalization, we considered it necessary to create a multi-strata scenic value that covers not only architecture, but also industries, tourism, and human resource development.


Sketches

To that end, instead of consolidating or centralizing functions, the master plan aimed for a village-like facility arrangement by having smaller separate structures along the mountain terrain wherever possible and by distributing the parking areas. We then considered connecting these fragmented elements with plazas and alleys to provide diverse sequences. The details of the facilities were modified one after another, and those adjustments reminded us of the Myth of Sisyphus, but the basic policy of planning the landscape by using the original geography remained unchanged from the initial sketches.

Initial bird's eye perspective
Initial hotel plan
Initial Honzo spa plan
Initial WA-VISON plan
Initial Hatago plan
Initial external escalator plan
Initial sweets area plan
Utsukushizaka (now Atelier VISON)
Initial Marché plan
Sakura Terrace (now Marché VISON)
Outdoor activity shop plan (not achieved)
Lake Futago use plan (not achieved)
Initial Herbal Medicine Laboratory plan
Restaurant area plan (not achieved)
Glamping plan (not achieved)
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Skeleton of the Landscape

We organized the skeleton of the landscape by searching for the plane for construction that optimized the relationship between the road gradient and view. We aimed to create a unique landscape by comprehensively reviewing civil engineering and construction. A forested area was incorporated into the landscape plan as required by law. We are hoping that the VISON grows into a landscape with depth along with vegetational growth.

Bird’s eye view of the northeastern part of the central area: We created two rolling hills on both sides with an arterial road in the valley and set the landscape of the hotel facing the sweets area across the street and the distant view in the direction of the street as the main axes of the scenery. (Photo by Takenori Hikosaka/SS)
Looking at the hotel from the fir tree hill
Fir tree hill (Photo by ORGA-Lab)
Viewing the fir tree hill from the hotel entrance hall (Photo by Takenori Hikosaka/SS)
Viewing the hotel from Maholo Bridge (Photo by Takenori Hikosaka/SS)
One-tree bench in front of the Marché for taking in the scenery
Looking at the central zone in the direction of the street from the Marché

Intermediate Areas

One of the themes of the design was the intermediate areas between the inside and outside of buildings, such as verandas and space under the eaves. We aimed to create a bright depth by turning the scenes of people’s enjoyment into scenery and penetrating the inside and outside of rooms with a line of sight so that the vibrancy can be noticed from a distance.

Herbal Medicine Laboratory (Two photos by Takenori Hikosaka/SS)

Scenic Rain

We are also working on incorporating rain into the scenery. Rain is a characteristic element of nature in Japan, but is also something that drives people away from commercial facilities. In response to this issue, in most places we eliminated gutters to show drippage from the eaves and other fun components to make rainy visits more enjoyable.


Maintenance

Many of the constructions at the VISON use unpainted wood. Modeling on the regular shrine removal of the Ise-jingu Shrine, we capture the environment and constructions in a continuous framework and attempt to consider maintenance by expanding the scope to cover protection and development of forestland. This is, at the same time, a challenge to take the end of life of wood materials into the design of commercial facilities.


Signs

We explored how we can create VISON’s signs in a way that they blend into the environment. This does not mean we want them buried in the background. The idea is to attract attention while actively taking in the environment, like the concept of “Shakkei” (meaning ‘borrowing landscape’ by using environmental features outside of the garden as part of the scenery), a Japanese gardening technique. In addition to being signs that present the concept of the VISON, this is also a proposal as a solution to the landscape problem where signs cover up the natural environment.


Transmission Antennas

Likewise signs, transmission antennas also have a noticeable impact on the landscape. Due to the awareness of such issues, we recreated the design of transmission antennas for the VISON. Being as simple as this, they can be mere staffage in the scenery, or can be arranged in good balance with architecture.

Transmission antennas
Herbal Medicine Laboratory and transmission antennas
Honzo spa and transmission antennas