ICC Kyoto

Kyoto, Japan | C.1966

Photo Credit: Accidentally Wes Anderson


A product of the first public design competition in Japan, the Kyoto International Conference Center – abbreviated as ICC Kyoto – is a large modern conference center with devotions to historical Japanese design.

Japan’s first public design competition took place in 196, and resulted in 195 entries. Ultimately the promising young architect Sachio Otani would win proposal in 1963 for his references to traditional Japanese design and his unique approach to site planning. His final design incorporated a combination of upright & inverted trapezoids, with traditional Japanese patterns reminiscent of a Shinto shrine or gassho-zukuri steep-roofed hut.

The site in Kyoto was chosen for its optimal location to showcase Japanese culture encased by magnificent scenery.  Architect Otani allowed the forms of nature to inspire his design in an attempt to avoid disturbing the surrounding environment.  Within his design process he was “investigating the proper role of architecture within natural systems”. His resulting work complimented the environment, rather than awkwardly contrasting the surrounding.

Pictured here, the Main Hall’s ceiling is decorated with a floating disc which symbolizes the earth. The center of the stage wall has numerous aluminum cast pieces that contain various shapes embedded in them. This mural symbolizes that an international conference is composed of a gathering of people from different countries with unique cultures & beliefs.

Winner of numerous design awards, the ICC Kyoto is a proud example of the 1960s modern architectural aesthetic, while also providing a harmonious cultural legacy with the ancient capital and the surrounding natural environment.

Written By: Accidentally Wes Anderson

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