Page D1.1 . 12 November 2003                     
ArchitectureWeek - Design Department
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Shopping Japanese Style

by ArchitectureWeek

Despite dips in the economy over the past decade, Japan maintains a strong commitment to urban development. Retail construction appears to flourish. And unlike the boxy shopping centers that blight U.S. suburban and rural landscapes with their featureless design and sprawling parking lots, some recent Japanese developments set examples for combining dynamic design with urban sensibilities.

The American firm The Jerde Partnership has recently completed several such projects in Japan. Each is successful in creating a lively, mixed-use civic center. One of them, "Namba Parks," is also an extraordinary demonstration of building a three-dimensional garden on a difficult site.

Described by its promoters as a "leisure-oriented retail and entertainment complex and urban park," Namba Parks squeezes between a 30-story tower and a busy highway in a new commercial district of Osaka. Because of the site's location — adjacent to Namba Train Station and the first stop from Kansai Airport — owner Nankai Electric Railway asked Jerde to create a gateway that would redefine Osaka's identity.   >>>

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Combination retail/ entertainment complex and urban garden, Namba Parks, designed by The Jerde Partnership, squeezes between a 30-story tower and a busy highway in Osaka, Japan.
Photo: Hiroyuki Kawano

ArchWeek Image

Layered "canyon" walls of Namba Parks.
Photo: Hiroyuki Kawano


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