Umekita, Osaka, Japan, 2013
Situated in the heart of Osaka, next to the train station Umeda, lies a piece of barren land that currently serves as a safe haven in the event of a disaster. A tranquil place, in the midst of a concrete jungle, it divides the city into two different densities. High rise with commercial activities lie on the southern end towards the centre of Osaka and on the northern side there are low rise residential buildings. UNStudio’s design is a mediation of these urban conditions.
Rachel’s Forest is an area that houses functions where the bio-technology industry can thrive.
A park of 10ha is projected on the site, providing a habitat for local species and agriculture. A vaulted seedbank lies under the park with an educational centre - coupled with a health centre - and offices. Below ground level lies infrastructure that connects Rachel’s Forest to the rest of the world via the Shinkansen and Airport Express.
2019 will see the first phase. The park will rise above ground to make space on ground level to ease the infrastructure below and to house the educational and medical centre, signifying the new era of bio-technology. A Gingko tree nursery is planned for the Southern tip, while urban agricultural land on the Northern edge of the site will house a park where water filtering features with swales will be placed to facilitate the water supply of the site. When the Gingko trees mature, the trees will be planted in the rest of the city of Osaka.
In the second phase, around 2029, new office buildings will be placed on the Southern tip of the site that ties into the existing high rise urban context. The Northern edge of the site will provide space for lower residential buildings. The park will continue to exist and is now approximately 6ha, located in the centre of this new urban enclosure.
Client: City Planning Bureau, the City of Osaka
Location: Osaka, Japan
Building surface: 500.000m2
Building site: 16 ha.
Programme: Urban forest - urban regeneration transport hub into ‘disaster prevention area’
Status: competition design, finalist
UNStudio: Caroline Bos, Ben van Berkel with Frans van Vuure, Elisabeth Brauner and Crystal K.H. Tang, Tomas Mokry, Derrick Diporedjo, Benjamin Kolder, Harlen Miller and Andres Lopez
Yamashita Sekkei, Tokyo: Masuru Fujinuma, Mizukoshi, Ayaka Tanabe
Structural/civil engineer: Arup Tokyo
Market-research: La Salle Investment Management
Landscape architect: Grant Associates, Bath, U.K.
Visualisations: MIR, Kilograph