Tenri Station Plaza

Tenri Station Plaza CoFuFun is the remarkable first public space designed by Nendo, recently completed in Tenri, a small city in the southwest of Japan.

Bicycle rentals, a cafe, shops, an information kiosk, a play area, outdoor stage, and meeting area are the elements included along the 6,000m2 area plan, a project that looks to encourage local community revitalisation. Nendo explains the influence of this project:

Tenri’s urban boundaries include a number of ancient Japanese tombs, known as “cofun”. The cofun are beautiful and unmistakeable, but blend into the spaces of everyday life in the city. The plaza’s landscape, richly punctuated by several of these cofun, is a representation of the area’s characteristic geography: the Nara Basin, surrounded on all sides by mountains.

The cofun’s different and ambiguous levels encourage visitors to explore the spaces that serve a variety of purposes: stairs, but also benches for sitting, fences to enclose playing children, the cafe and stage roofs, shelves for displaying products and the evening lighting effect, which floods the plaza with light. All created under the unmistakable characteristics of Nendo that on so many occasions we have described and celebrated on Minimalissimo, so seeing them now in a public space just deserves one word: remarkable.

The construction technique and sublime finish of this space is what struck me; a technique that consists of fitting together pieces—like building blocks—of a precast concrete mould formed at a factory, resulting in precise structures that can be well appreciated in the detailed photography.