Text description provided by the architects. Tama Plaza Station is a transit-oriented development centrally located in the commercial heart of Tama, Japan, municipality in southwestern Tokyo seeking to regain its competitive commercial edge over neighboring cities. Located at the city’s central transportation hub, the alternating open air and enclosed mixed use commercial center lies one level above ground, just steps above major automobile thoroughfares, bus lines, and train tracks.
The mixed use development is unique for its innovative span of several city blocks under single land ownership, an opportunity to create a comprehensive and unified commercial development that is quite rare within Japan’s often feudal land patterns. The mixed-use center is a transit-oriented development, a high-density commercial hub that offers priority to pedestrian access, a variety of commercial and transit services, and is centered around a train station. This new type of unified development serves as a catalyst and character model for surrounding developments, and seeks to use transit innovation as a way of both preventing and alleviating traffic congestion, pollution, and other endemic problems caused by traditional sprawling, low-density developments.
The new town center is organized in a series of open air and enclosed plazas, connecting people and places and encouraging pedestrians to store-hop, window browse and people watch. The architecture defining each open space and the facades, which rise from the street below to engulf the forms above, employs “Wabi Sabi”, or the Japanese Art of impermanence, and suggests such qualities as transparency, penetrability, humility, asymmetry and imperfection.