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UNStudio Envisions Giant Observation Wheel in Japan

Consider a social-networking experience that combines real-time amusement with an awareness of your surroundings. Dutch architecture firm, UNStudio, together with Ferris Wheel Investment of Japan, have laid out a colossal vision that expects to attract millions of visitors to a mixed-use retail, food and beverage center anchored by an architecturally-iconic observation wheel, Nippon Moon. The concept utilizes a user's smart phone or tablet, extending the rider's experience far beyond the moment they physically enter one of the 32 single or double-decker capsules.

The Nippon Moon app will utilize 'active queuing,' allowing users to shop and eat while they wait for their scheduled ride time. Image Courtesy of UNStudio
The Nippon Moon app will utilize 'active queuing,' allowing users to shop and eat while they wait for their scheduled ride time. Image Courtesy of UNStudio

A user's device becomes a portal to a network that notifies them of waiting times - essentially doing away with long, exhaustive lines - and enables users, who are otherwise visually or physically separate, to communicate from one capsule to another. The intent is to encourage active participation in one's own experience of culture, the environment and self. 

Courtesy of UNStudio
Courtesy of UNStudio
Courtesy of UNStudio
Courtesy of UNStudio
Courtesy of UNStudio
Courtesy of UNStudio

The pill-shaped capsules completely enclose the users, displaying digitally altered views upon its transparent glass shell thereby mediating between the real and the virtual. To fully understand behavioral trends and user-experiences, UNStudio has teamed up with Experientia, an Italian-based design company, to develop a coherent strategy for the proposed augmented visuals. Considerably evolved from traditional ferris wheel carts, the capsules are large enough to accommodate roughly a dozen people meandering on its floors for the duration of the ride. Arup and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, specialized wheel engineers, have joined the design team to consult on structural constraints.

This romanticism, claims UNStudio, is an integral part of the vision to ensure that the design and engineering of the wheel represents the ambitions of modern Japan. "The concept of the observation wheel itself is not new," they admit. However, by exploring the relationship between robust engineering and emerging technologies, we can develop a uniquely-Japanese cultural attraction. 

Courtesy of UNStudio
Courtesy of UNStudio
  • Architects: UNStudio
  • Architect in Charge: Ben van Berkel
  • Design Team: Gerard Loozekoot, Frans van Vuure, Filippo Lodi, Harlen Miller, Jan Kokol, Wendy van der Knijff, Todd Ebeltoft, Tina Kortmann, Patrik Noome, Jeroen den Hertog, Iain Jamieson
  • Client: Ferris wheel Investment Co.,Ltd
  • Structural Engineer: Arup Tokyo + Melbourne, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
  • Interactive Design: Experientia
  • Animation: Submarine
  • Visualization: MIR
  • Building Surface: Terminal and platform 7.200 m2
  • Building Volume: Terminal and platform 90.000m3
  • Capsules: 32
  • Building Site: 18.000m2
  • Area: 0.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: Courtesy of UNStudio
Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite:Jose Luis Gabriel Cruz. "UNStudio Envisions Giant Observation Wheel in Japan" 04 Sep 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/424526/unstudio-envisions-giant-observation-wheel-in-japan/>