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Tombs Inspire Architecture Project in Japan

Friday, June 9, 2017

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Japenese design studio Nendo recently unveiled the CoFuFun Plaza, the company’s first venture into public space design. The new space is filled with white, disc-shaped concrete structures, and the entire area covers more than 19,000 square feet.

Individual structures were made in precast concrete molds, resembling a “huge pizza,” according to the Nendo press release. Large pieces were cast at a factory and then moved to the site. From there, they were assembled like building blocks. This method of construction allowed the molds to be reused, which kept construction costs down, Nendo stated. Additionally, the roundness of the structures makes them stable against “forces coming from any direction.”

Nendo founder Sato said in an interview: “They wanted us to design a park in front of the railway station with information centers, cafes, a stage for music."

The plaza, located outside of Tenri Station near Kyoto, was inspired by a type of monolithic ancient burial ground known as “cofun,” which fills the surrounding area. Cofun can span well over 1,000 feet. Individual tombs often look like keyholes, squares or circles when viewed from above. Nendo also drew inspiration from local geography, which includes Nara Basin and the surrounding mountains.

New Purpose

Ultimately, the site is designed to encourage a sense of play in visitors. According to Nendo’s press release, the plaza’s different levels serve a variety of purposes from stairs to benches for sitting, or fences to protect playing children. The space also encourages visitors to explore and relax there with shops and cafes.

Previously, however, the site had gone unused.  "This space was used for nothing basically," Sato said. Now, the CoFuFun Plaza is a space sure to draw in and engage the community. The plaza has been Nendo’s biggest endeavor, outside of its renovation of the Siam Discovery shopping center in Bangkok last year.

The name—CoFuFun—comes stems from a combination of “cofun,” the “co-“ from “cooperation” and “community,” fun, and the term “fufun,” which is a Japanese expression for happy, conscious humming. Both the Japanese and alphabet spellings of CoFuFun Plaza engage with Japenese-speaking and non-Japanese-speaking visitors alike, which truly reflects the spirit of inclusion and engagement behind the entire project.

   

Tagged categories: concrete; Decorative concrete; Public spaces; Urban Planning

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