Nendo turns tombs into a fun park in Japan

The Japanese architecture and design practice draws on ancient burial motifs (and pizzas) for its first park
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Tenri Station Plaza CoFuFun by Nendo. Photo by Takumi Ota. All images courtesy of Nendo.
Tenri Station Plaza CoFuFun by Nendo. Photo by Takumi Ota. All images courtesy of Nendo.

From the outset, the job looked difficult. The Japanese architecture and design agency Nendo were asked to turn the station plaza at Tenri Station in Nara prefecture, southwest Japan, into a vibrant public park, fit for events, a tourist information office and leisure facilities for local residents.

 

Tenri Station Plaza CoFuFun by Nendo. Photo by Takumi Ota
Tenri Station Plaza CoFuFun by Nendo. Photo by Takumi Ota

Station forecourts are rarely the most salubrious part of a city, and Tenri Station had an additional sombre presence: a number of low circular traditional tombs or cofun.

 

Tenri Station Plaza CoFuFun by Nendo. Photo by Takumi Ota
Tenri Station Plaza CoFuFun by Nendo. Photo by Takumi Ota

However, Nendo, seizing on this unlikely design motif, took the cofin shape, recast it in a precast concrete mould, and filling the urban space with a series of saucer-like forms, which the firm likens to pizzas.

 

Tenri Station Plaza CoFuFun by Nendo. Photo by Takumi Ota
Tenri Station Plaza CoFuFun by Nendo. Photo by Takumi Ota

“Because precast concrete moulds are formed at the factory and then assembled onsite, the resulting structures are precise and the same mould can be used multiple times, ensuring excellent cost-performance,” says Nendo.

The shapes serve as steps, children’s playparks, circular buildings, a stage and a meeting place. And it’s even inspired the new park’s name: Tenri Station Plaza CoFuFun.

 

Tenri Station Plaza CoFuFun by Nendo. Photo by Takumi Ota
Tenri Station Plaza CoFuFun by Nendo. Photo by Takumi Ota

“CoFuFun combines the main design motif, the cofun, with colloquial Japanese expressions,” Nendo says. ““Fufun” refers to happy, unconscious humming: the design for the plaza should offer a convivial atmosphere that unconsciously leads visitors to hum, happily, while they’re there.”

 

Tenri Station Plaza CoFuFun by Nendo. Photo by Daici Ano
Tenri Station Plaza CoFuFun by Nendo. Photo by Daici Ano

We’re sure even the dead would approve of this. For more on innovative landscaping get 30:30 Landscape Architecture. For more on sacred spaces, get Sacred Spaces.


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