Tenri Station Plaza CoFuFun, Tenri

Designed by: Nendo
For client: Tenri city Floor area: 6000.00 M² Year of completion: 2017

05 Tenri Station Plaza Co Fu Fun23 Takumi Ota
© Takumi Ota

roof of Info & Lounge cofun

About the Project

The master plan for the station plaza at Tenri Station in Nara prefecture, located in the southwest region of Japan.The plan for the 6000-sq-m area includes bicycle rentals, a cafe and other shops, an information kiosk, a play area, outdoor stage, and a meeting area. The project goal was to encourage local community revitalisation by providing a space for events, tourist information dissemination and leisure facilities for local residents.

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. This variety creates an environment that encourages visitors to explore and spend time in different spaces within the plaza, rather than limiting their movement to one place. It’s an 'ambiguous' space that’s entirely a cafe, a playground and a massive piece of furniture, all at once.

What’s unique about it

Everyday children leave Tenri city to play at Cofufun - much to the surprise of its citizens who were unaware that there were so many in the city.The space has been transformed into an area where people from all aspects of the community and many generations gather: encompassing families with young children, local students and the elderly now sharing the experience of the public space together, before passing through the station and continuing their journey.There has also been unexpected benefits with the whole area around the station being revitalised by the increase in local residents gathering and enjoying the plaza. Nendo aims to share this situation with people around the world.

09 Tenri Station Plaza Co Fu Fun2526 Takumi Ota
© Takumi Ota

The pre-formed parts are pieced together like building blocks using the same massive cranes used to build bridges. Large spaces can be formed without the use of columns or beams, and because of the round shape the well-balanced structures offer stability against forces applied from any direction.

01 Tenri Station Plaza Co Fu Fun34 Takumi Ota
© Takumi Ota

Distant view 1

02 Tenri Station Plaza Co Fu Fun04 Takumi Ota
© Takumi Ota

Distant view 2

03 Tenri Station Plaza Co Fu Fun07 Daici Ano
© Daici Ano

Distant view 3

04 Tenri Station Plaza Co Fu Fun09 Takumi Ota
© Takumi Ota

Stage cofun

06 Tenri Station Plaza Co Fu Fun15 Takumi Ota
© Takumi Ota

Fuwafuwa Cofun

07 Tenri Station Plaza Co Fu Fun13 Daici Ano
© Daichi Ano

Entrance of Fuwafuwa Cofun

08 Tenri Station Plaza Co Fu Fun21 Takumi Ota
© Takumi Ota

The construction technique used to create the plaza’s round cofun structures consisted of fitting together pieces of a precast concrete mould resembling a huge pizza. Because precast concrete moulds are formed at the factory and then assembled onsite, the resulting structures are precise and the same mould can be used multiple times, ensuring excellent cost-performance.

10 Tenri Station Plaza Co Fu Fun Lounge And Shop0206 Kokuyo
© KOKUYO / Takumi Ota

A play space for children, a lounge and study space for reading books, and a stage that can be used for concerts or public screenings have all been added to the meeting area. Tenri souvenirs can be purchased at a newly designed shop next to the space. Every design was made to ensure that the materials and colouring of the interiors matched those of the plaza as closely as possible. Furniture and fixtures made using wood from Nara Prefecture and designed around a cofun theme create a sense of uniformity with the plaza.


Nippon Design Center Irobe Design Institute

izumi okayasu lighting design

studio mons

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