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A New Park for Osaka: Jerde-Designed Namba Parks Opens Today; Fifth Jerde-Designed Project to Open in Japan Within a Year.

Business Editors/Travel Writers


Japan's second largest city today welcomed the latest project to debut in the country designed by Los-Angeles based experience architecture firm The Jerde Partnership. Namba Parks in Osaka, Jerde's fifth Japan-based project to open within a year, introduces a public-oriented, natural place to a city dense with concrete and steel. The Namba Parks grand opening marks a major milestone in the firm's ongoing goal to build unique places that deliver memorable experiences and bring lasting social, cultural and economic value to the places that host them.

Namba Parks' design is inspired by the transformative force of the elements found in nature. Among the project's most striking features are its urban rooftop park with groves of trees, clusters of rock, lush lawns, ponds, waterfalls and outdoor terraces, and canyon promenade that mimics the natural curves and stratification sculpted by wind and water in stone. Designed as an armature, the canyon reinforces the projects connection with nature.

"We are grateful and fortunate to have had so many wonderful opportunities to contribute to the continually changing urban face of Japan," said Jon Jerde, founder and chairman of The Jerde Partnership. "With Namba Parks, we have been able to take the next step in an important goal of the firm: to blur the line between nature and the built environment."

Jerde added, "Namba Parks amplifies the powerful synergy that comes when the public realm is artfully melded with commercial amenities. We strove to create a unique, community-oriented place that inspires vitality, promotes further revitalization and is a gift to the citizens of Osaka and enjoyed by visitors from around the world."

The 3.7 hectare site of the former Osaka Stadium presented owner Nankai Electric Railway with a prime opportunity to create a true urban center for one of their city's main entry points. Jerde, along with the architectural team from Obayashi Corporation, conceived the design concept, which resulted in the verdant sloping park that gradually ascends eight stories from the street. The man-made canyon divides the park and forms the primary pathway through the project. Lifestyle focused retail and entertainment venues rise effortlessly within each layer of the canyon interior. The project creates a corridor that connects the east and west edges of the site with urban circulation patterns. The two sides of the canyon are connected by glass bridges which become arcing tubes of light at night. The project was started in the mid-1990s.

In the past twelve months, Jerde has celebrated the openings of Roppongi Hills and Dentsu Shiodome in Tokyo, La Cittadella in Kawasaki, and RiverWalk Kitakyushu in Kitakyushu. Jerde was embraced by critics and the public alike with its first Japanese project Canal City Hakata in Fukuoka in 1996. Shortly after the project's opening, AsiaWeek proclaimed Fukuoka "The Best City in Asia." Critically acclaimed architect Arata Isozaki called Canal City Hakata one of the two most important designs of the late 1990s.

About Jerde Partnership

Jerde Partnership is a visionary experience architecture firm that builds innovative places which deliver memorable experiences attracting millions of people everyday. As the firm that pioneered "placemaking," Jerde projects have consistent and lasting social, cultural and economic value throughout the world and promote further investment and revitalization. Jerde takes a co-creative approach to design and collaborates with local architects to realize the vision of their projects. Jerde is based in Los Angeles, Calif. and has been designing projects worldwide for more than 25 years. The firm has received critical acclaim from organizations including the American Institute of Architects, Progressive Architecture, American Planning Association, and The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design. Jerde currently has more than 30 projects in process in Europe, Asia and the United States.

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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Oct 6, 2003
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