Taking the concept of a ‘slow city’, HASSELL has put forward a proposal for the redevelopment of the Tokyo rail yards, bringing together a mixture of public space and towers to foster a sense of lifestyle. The new design covers 1.25-square kilometres making it the largest urban renewal project in Tokyo.
The rail yards are located at the edge of Tokyo Bay and have historically been the ‘front door’ to Japan. Now no longer the thriving port and hub it once was, the site’s importance has given way to the commercial centre of Tokyo.
HASSELL’s proposal is the result of a closed competition calling for a masterplan that would restore the area’s status as a gateway to the megapolis. In addition, the competition called for the proposal to connect with nature and create an authentic sense of place.
Creating an urban garden
A driving design principle of the project was to create a space for people to pause and reflect, slowing down from the intensity of urban life. In order to create this HASSELL realised that the landscape would play a major role. This required a green infrastructure as a central point.
The rail yards have been transformed into a continuous urban garden, helping to instil a sense of community while ensuring civic value.
Establishing unique character
To accompany the ‘monumental landscape’, seven structures line the site, which redefine the rail yards within the Tokyo skyline.
The buildings work together to create a unique silhouette that helps to frame and define the public space at ground level. Rather than simply going up, the buildings take on a chubby shape being wide around the base. Not blocks, not quite towers – they have their own distinct character.
The project is the first stage in a long term regeneration strategy for the waterfront area. This initial phase brings in commercial frontage at ground level, with an urban forest and winter gardens, which set a layer of landscape for later regeneration.
HASSELL and Weston Williamson will be designing Melbourne’s Metro Tunnel, read about it here.