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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 Bentencho Station of the Chuo Line and JR Loop Line, along with its surrounding areas, to establish a gateway and new urban center for Osaka. Located equidistant from the city center and the 2025 Expo site, and directly linked to Osaka's northern and southern urban gateways via the JR Loop Line, the redevelopment aims to accommodate visitors during the 2025 Expo while providing office and institutional facilities for local residents.

Redevelopment of the station aims to address existing issues in the neighborhood. Currently, the area is divided into four sections by elevated railways and highways, creating difficulties for pedestrians and lacking a cohesive open space network. Additionally, the juxtaposition of super-blocks with 200-meter towers and high-density low-rise residential blocks has led to an imbalanced urban structure.

To tackle these challenges, the project employs multiple strategies derived from various case studies. Our goal is to activate urban spaces for pedestrians by implementing walkable paths, green spaces, small-scale retail, and large-scale commercial areas. We aim to transform transportation infrastructure from obstacles into opportunities, enhancing public spaces throughout the area.

Introduction   01

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Castle & Shrines








Osaka Port

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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.

Urban Open Space  02

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Ferry System


Railway 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. 

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Highway System


Urban Potential  02


Existing Site Conditions

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Urban Block Scale


Program Distribution


Urban Connections


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. 

Urban Issues  03

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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. 

Sectional Proposal   04

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