Osaka Trees / 2013
Landscape & Pavilion
120,000 Square Meters
NMDA was invited to develop a competition proposal for the Second Development Zone in the Umekita Area, adjacent north of JR Osaka station in Japan. Umekita area (appox. 24 ha), has been developed mainly on the former site of Umeda Cargo Station and serves as the core base of regional development projects designed to enhance Japan's international status and national strength.
The brief asks for many things, but most prominent among them, is a design for the "face" of a city. If the face is typically transposed as the facade in architecture and design, we have chosen instead to think about "the heart" or "the core" of a city, something deeper than mere images. We have resisted easy iconic images in favor of an iconic experience that will be the enduring feature and an inexhaustible space rather than the object to behold.
After recognizing the topographic possibilities with Osaka's name, Osaka meaning large slope, we designed an O-shaped logo that is at the same time a representation of a leaf. The design intention is for the "O" to be experienced as trees on the slope. Like leaves on trees, the painted steel figure can be grown or assembled into a clustered 3 dimensional field by becoming structural ring elements that are capable of being linked together. Since trees have certain canopy level, especially in the forest, our scheme for O-SAKA TREES is centered on an abstract tectonic tress canopy that floats above the slopes of both programmed and spontaneous events.