Redeveloping an unused site in Japan

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Japanese design studio Nendo has completed its first ever landscape architecture project - the CoFuFun plaza, near Kyoto in Japan.

The 6,000m2 site outside Tenri Station had been previously unused, so a competition to enliven the area was proposed, and Nendo submitted the winning design.

The site is covered in stacks of white, concrete, disc-shaped structures that reference Cofun, a traditional Japanese style of ancient burial ground that, while raised, blends beautifully into the everyday landscape.

 The design inspiration for CoFuFun Plaza came from an ancient Japanese style of burial. Photo credit - Takumi Ota

The design inspiration for CoFuFun Plaza came from an ancient Japanese style of burial. Photo credit - Takumi Ota

Nendo also took inspiration from the geography of the nearby Nara Basin, which is surrounded on all sides by mountains.

Some of the stacked discs dome upwards, allowing shops, cafes and information centres to be housed inside, while others dome down, creating amphitheatres that can be used to stage concerts and events. One of these amphitheatres even includes a bouncy centre, encouraging younger visitors to play. 

 

 The stacked discs house shops and cafes. Photo credit - Takumi Ota

The stacked discs house shops and cafes. Photo credit - Takumi Ota

CoFuFun plaza has been designed so that every surface, including its roofs, are engaged. All of the stacks are covered in steps to provide both seating and a means of scaling the structures for the general public.

 The concrete discs were assembled on-site after having been cast in a factory, and the moulds were able to be reused, keeping construction costs down.

 The plaza is designed so all roof tops are engaged. Photo credit - Daici Ano

The plaza is designed so all roof tops are engaged. Photo credit - Daici Ano

These circular stacks and craters are interspersed with circular patches of grass, which both add green to an otherwise white and grey space, and provide more areas for recreation.

Nendo‚Äôs highly original and multi-purpose development is designed to bring the community together, providing both a fun and lively destination for locals, and a more pleasant space to relax for those waiting for their train. 

 The plaza is designed to bring people together. Photo credit - Daici Ano

The plaza is designed to bring people together. Photo credit - Daici Ano

Watch the video below to see the construction process. Filming by Takahisa Araki and Toru Shiomi. Editing by mindo.