Shin-Okubo / Station as a Public Kitchen

Various ethnic groups gather in Shin – Okubo, mainly from the Asian region. As the ethnic restaurants from these countries are familiar to the Japanese people’s taste, the key is diversity in food culture. Food is a common enjoyment for humans beyond ethnic groups and ideology. However, in rural areas, children cafeterias are drawing attention to children’s poor eating habits of eating alone or having unbalanced diet by eating the same thing always or only one type of food. Therefore, it is necessary to think of a place that connects people who eat and those who make diverse food.

When the station thinks about how potential in “food” can increase the value of exchanging interactions, Shin Okubo was the best case study. The station offers a dining table as a public kitchen. It is an open space that invites the surrounding ethnic restaurants as food creators, accepting children that have dietary issues, and enables young and old to find a broad range of foods.

At the existing Shin Okubo station, there is no barrier free infrastructure and limited in space where people can stay. The new 4 story station building endeavors to remove this issue. It is necessary to make a space for a large number of people to share a dinning. Responding to the diversity of ethnic cuisine, the design proposed a cave-like space that is excavated below the underpass and an open space on the rooftop of the 4 story station. When the station’s ticket gate on the first floor become gateless and touchless and giving more room to the inside of the station, expanding the sidewalk in the underpass, will create a place where people can stay yet be away from the flow of moving people. The elevator is extended to connect the platform, the upper floor, the cave floor and the station building rooftop level. This way, diverse people are mixed together through the flow between these two public kitchens in the station.