Yamanote-line Lab


The Yamanote Line Lab is a project to study the future of the railway station in the urban space of Tokyo, with Tokyo Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and East Japan Railway Company as members. The lab activities were promoted by Yoshiharu Tsukamoto Laboratory in School of Environment and Society, Tokyo Institute of Technology. To clarify the perspective to explore the significance of architectural design in the future context, the Lab invited Prof. Sheila Kennedy from MIT by “Invitational Program for Faculty from the World’s Top-Level Universities”, who practices architectural project that combines advanced materials and sustainable design towards social issues. With Yamanote Line as the subject of study, the Lab agreed into a joint research contract with JR East, which owns and operates the Yamanote Line. To enhance the feasibility of study results, the projects included researcher from JR East and assumption of the future society explored by JR East became the premise of the study. The study was conducted through the architectural course named “Architectural Detail” in Tokyo Institute of Technology. The potential of a station in Tokyo has been considered from a global perspective by 38 participants including international students from around the world.


The architectural course took place in June-July 2018. First, 12 stations on the northwest side of the Yamanote Line, which run through the topography, were selected as subjects. These are the stations that managed to avoid large scale of repeated urban development, which made the historical, geographical, and social background of the station building transmitted until today. By creating these station as study cases, the lab tried to position the architectural design between the characteristic of the place and the future society. Studio participants are divided into 12 teams of 3-4 people based on their own desires. First the participants investigated the “Background“ such as historical, geographical and social aspects to find the characteristic of each station. Next, they study the match between the characteristic they found with future visions that JR East stated as “Agenda”. In the mid-term review, together with guest lecturers and JR East employees, the significance of the architectural design created by these match was discussed. In response to the discussion result, each team extracted the parts where the significance appeared intensively in the existing station building and worked on architectural design as an experimental intervention. At the final review, we invited JR East executive officers along with the guest lecturers to critique and evaluate the social significance of the intervention and the possibility as an architectural design. The results of the study that dveloped by voluntary members after the course were exhibited, co-sponsored by JR East and Tokyo Institute of Technology from December 2018 to the following February 2019 with the cooperation of the Railway Museum.



Yamanote-line Lab

Sheila Kennedy
Yamanote-line Lab
2018 1Q