In June 2017, the Japanese design studio Nendo completed a massive new urban plaza near Kyoto, Japan.
CoFuFun, located outside Tenri Station, is Nendo’s largest project to-date, and their first public space. It takes its design inspiration from ancient Japanese tombs known as ‘cofun’. The landscape of the plaza, punctuated by the cofun, is intended to represent the characteristic geography of the Nara Basin area, which is surrounded by mountains.
The plaza’s name combines ‘cofun’ with ‘fufun’ which is a Japanese expression meaning ‘happy, unconscious humming’.
Pieces of a precast concrete mould were fitted together to create the white, disc-shaped cofun structures. A low cost was achieved by using the same factory moulds several times, creating a precise and easy-to-assemble structure pieced together like building blocks using cranes.
According to Nendo, ‘it is an ‘ambiguous’ space that’s entirely a café, a playground and a massive piece of furniture, all at once.’
Content and images courtesy of Nendo.
Photography is by Daici Ano, Tadashi Endo, Kokuyo, Takumi Ota and Akihiro Yoshida.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
Demographics, digital tech, climate change, AI - all challenges facing the built environment. Enter our ideas competition.
Lessons from Australia on how to make affordable, sustainable housing a reality.
Adjaye Associates reveal their designs for a new espionage museum in New York.
CIAT submit their recommendations to the government's Grenfell Tower inquiry. See the summary here.
Read our introductory article on collaborative practices for building design and construction.
Read about the history behind one of Italy's most recognisible buildings.
Roland Busch of Siemens AG looks at how cities can fight climate change.
Every home and small business in Great Britain will be offered a smart meter by the end of 2020.
The PM’s speech stole the headlines but what was said about infrastructure at the Conservative Party conference?
We interviewed the photographer Jade Doskow about her new book documenting the strange architecture of World's Fair sites.
Industry leaders join CIOB and Stronger Together to tackle modern slavery in construction.
Drawing on the recent Mexico earthquake, a collection of free journal articles has been assembled.