nendo's first public space features stepped saucers that reference ancient japanese tombs
 

nendo's first public space features stepped saucers that reference ancient japanese tombs

nendo has completed its first public space — a 6,000 square meter plaza named ‘CoFuFun’ that includes cafés, meeting spaces, and play areas. situated next to a railway station at the heart of tenri, a small city in japan’s nara prefecture, the masterplan seeks to revitalize the community for both residents and tourists, with new events space, leisure facilities, and information kiosks.

nendo CoFuFun
nendo’s first public space is a 6,000 square meter plaza
image © takumi ota

 

 

as the city of tenri is home to a number of ancient japanese tombs known as ‘kofun’, the design team reinterpreted the form of these megalithic mounds within the plaza. the kofun-inspired architecture has been configured to suit a variety of purposes. the structures simultaneously serve as stairways, benches, and roofs. ‘this variety creates an environment that encourages visitors to explore and spend time in different spaces within the plaza, rather than limiting their movement to one place,’ explains nendo. ‘it’s an ambiguous space that’s entirely a café, a playground, and a massive piece of furniture, all at once.’

nendo CoFuFun
the project is situated next to a railway station in the city of tenri
image © takumi ota

 

 

according to their function, the saucers have been arranged at four different heights in order to minimize noise levels. a play space for children, a lounge and study for reading, and a stage that can be used for concerts or public screenings have all been added to the meeting area. meanwhile, tenri souvenirs can be purchased at a newly designed shop. nendo was also responsible for the shop’s interiors as well as its furniture, which seeks to establish a sense of continuity with the adjacent plaza.

nendo CoFuFun
the masterplan seeks to revitalize the community for both residents and tourists
image © takumi ota

 

 

the ‘kofun’ were formed at a factory using precast concrete molds, before being pieced together on-site with the help of cranes. this method means that large spaces can be formed without the use of columns or beams, while the round shapes result in well-balanced structures that offer a high degree of stability. the plaza’s name, ‘CoFuFun’, combines the main design reference with the colloquial japanese expression, ‘fufun’ — meaning a happy, unconscious humming. ‘the design for the plaza should offer a convivial atmosphere that unconsciously leads visitors to hum, happily, while they’re there,’ adds the design team.

nendo CoFuFun
cafés, meeting spaces, and play areas are included as part of the scheme
image © takumi ota

nendo CoFuFun
the architecture has been configured to suit a variety of purposes
image © takumi ota

nendo CoFuFun
the structures simultaneously serve as stairways, benches, and roofs
image © takumi ota

nendo CoFuFun
the saucers have been arranged at four different heights in order to minimize noise levels
image © takumi ota

nendo CoFuFun
the structures were formed at a factory using precast concrete molds
image © daici ano

nendo CoFuFun
the round shapes result in well-balanced structures that offer a high degree of stability
image © takumi ota

nendo CoFuFun
the varied environment encourages visitors to spend time in different spaces
image © daici ano

nendo CoFuFun
inside one of the site’s saucer-like structures
image © takumi ota

nendo CoFuFun
the site is populated with young trees which will grow over time
image © daici ano

nendo CoFuFun
nendo was also responsible for the project’s interior design
image © takumi ota

nendo CoFuFun
integrated lighting gently illuminates the plaza at dusk
image © takumi ota

 

 

 

project info:

 

photography: daici ano, tadashi endo, kokuyo, takumi ota, akihiro yoshida
filming: takahisa araki, toru shiomi
film editor: mindo

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