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弁天町駅  大阪市




Osaka, Japan
Spring 2020
Partner Pam Pan
Instructor Joan Busquets and Dingliang Yang
Academic, Des 4372, Harvard GSD

The project aims to redevelop the Bentencho station of Chuo Line and JR Loop Line and surrounding areas to create a gateway and new urban center for Osaka. As the site is in equal distance to the city center and the 2025 Expo site, and directly connected to the northern and southern urban gateways of Osaka, via its JR Loop Line, the redevelopment would not only serve the incoming visitors during the 2025 EXPO but also provide office and institutional programs for local residents.  


The transformation of the station would also solve the existing issues in this neighborhood, as elevated railways and highways cut the site into four pieces, it is frustrating for pedestrians to cross over and it is missing a connected open space network. Moreover, the co-existence of super-blocks with 200-meter towers and high-density low-rise residential blocks is creating an unbalanced block structure. 


In this project, we use multiple strategies to cope with the transportation infrastructure that we extracted from multiple case studies and our goal is to activate the urban space for pedestrians with walkable paths, greenery, small scale retail, and large-scale commercial space and to use transportation infrastructure as opportunities instead of barriers for better public space.

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Open Spaces of Osaka City

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① Castle & Shrines


② Canals


③ Boulevards


④ Parks


⑤ Osaka Port


Open SpacesTypes



The open space synthesis drawing indicated the overlapping open space systems existed in the city of Osaka. By decoding the open space patterns from historical, geographical, civic, and development perspectives, we categorize the open space in Osaka into the following five categories: castle & shrines, canals, boulevards, large parks, and Osaka ports. Each category was shaped and performed with natural and artificial water systems, religious and topography, political and commercial needs, as well as the previous world expositions. The goal is to find the interconnectedness between the five systems to create a connected open space system that strengthens the east-west connection from the city center to the site of the EXPO2025.

From these typologies, we learned that the success of open space heavily depends on continuity and systematic network. However, these characters are the Bentencho Station area lacking. The open spaces around the station are fragmented, disconnected, and missing an interconnected network.

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Ferry System


Railway System


Highway System



Bentencho area has a good location in the entire transportation system. In the railway system, it is the intersection of the Osaka Chou Line and Osaka JR Loop Line. The Loop Line covers a large amount of area of Osaka city. Bentencho station is the best place for the passenger to transfer to the Chuo line to visit the EXPO area in 2025. On the other hand, whatever people come to the city by ferry or airline, the Hanshin Expressway is the only way to the city. Bentencho area is the first place along this highway that has a city landscape. This area has the potential to be developed into an urban gateway of Osaka city. 


Existing Site Conditions

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Roads Directions


Block Scale


Program Distribution



Transportation not only brings this area efficiency but also urban issues. The elevated Hanshin Expressway and National Route 43 are fragmenting this area into four pieces. The spaces under the expressways are designed into bike parking, and there have very few sidewalks that can walk through. People have to cross the streets by underground tunnels where lack light and ventilation. The urban design of this area was based on vehicles rather than humans. 
Furthermore, the block structure and grid system are also showing in a disbalance way. A superblock of high rises which includes Osaka Bay Tower on the northwest corner has a tremendous contrast to the surroundings, numerous traditional small blocks with low rise residential buildings. The new proposal needs to have more connections between blocks and merges the block scale difference. 

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Sections cut through the existing condition (left) + Proposal sections (right)



By cutting two series of sections through the Chuo Line and JR Loop Line, we repropose this area by using the method that design in sections. The connections we designed between the four corners are bridges and staircases. Not only think about how the passengers transfer more effectively but also, we design commercial and public services along the transfer routes. The new urban complex includes office and hotel can provide the EXPO visitors a convenient living space due to Bentencho is halfway between the EXPO and city center. Multilevel of landscape and public connections between the original fragmented green spaces are maximum the benefits of the existing urban system. This new gateway can activate the local business and intend to solve the urban issues of the present. 


Master Plan of Proposal

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Axon of programs

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Perspective Section (Click the renders to pop up)

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Perspective Section Zoom in

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Perspective Section

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