Namba Parks is an urban centre that serves as a gateway to the city and redefines city’s
identity and urban experience.

Namba Parks, a vibrant lifestyle centre, inserts a much-needed natural amenity into Osaka’s dense city core. It generously weaves rich landscaping and other natural
elements with specialty retail, entertainment and dining, creating a new unique place that celebrates the interaction of people, culture and recreation.

'Jon has been an icon for an architecture which connects the human mind and heart. He’d write a script for what he wanted you to feel.’ - In praise of Jon Jerde – the architect of Namba Parks.

Jon Jerde is an architect whose designs seize the human yen to shop, merging the mall and downtown, commercial and public space, and faux environments and real experiences. Namba Parks is alive with colour and dazzle. It is an antidote to the bland malls of convenience that are designed around the globe.

Namba Parks is located in the downtown Osaka, Japan’s second-largest metropolitan area. The 3.37 hectare site extends the southern end of Minami, Osaka’s historic central business district and introduces a sloping park into the harsh urban context. The first phase started with the construction of a three-level parking structure to serve the hotel, shopping patrons at Namba City and Nankai’s own office building. Anchored by the 30 storeyed commercial building, the second phase added 300 shops under Nankai’s elevated railroad tracks out of Namba station. At Namba Parks, the conceptual premise is that of a canyon coursing through an urban park. A terraced complex of retail spaces envelopes an open space in the centre, starting out as an oval vertical space, open to the sky and flowing out to the entrance. Namba Parks lends absolute meaning to the theme of a canyon cutting across the layers of time. It has stood as a regenerative force in transforming the mournful events of the demolition of the Osaka Stadium and recession of the Osaka Bay four kilometres to the west, into a celebration.
The open space is irregular, curvilinear, and nonplanar in all dimensions. An elevator
tower rises in the oval centre and glass-enclosed pedestrian bridges traverse the
canyon at various points at different levels, connecting the interior spaces and serving
as a projection screen for night light shows and advertisements.
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Glass bridges revealing the Namba Parks' eight retail levels, giving patrons glimpses of shopping activity throughout the complex.
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The oval centre of the project opening to the sky.
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Roof Plan.
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Northward sectional view showing the relative narrowness of the canyon as it cuts through the eight levels of retail uses above grade.

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The roof park featuring miniature trees, shrubbery and planting beds.


The project is a timeless architectural work of art first, and a retail complex second.
At the uppermost roof level, surrounding the central opening—the mouth of the ‘canyon’— are hardscaped common areas where people can congregate outdoor activities. Its apex is a terraced amphitheatre, circular in plan and facing a flat stage area. The curved facade of Namba Parks' office tower and the landmark elevator tower's finial face and complement each other, and the canyon is bridged by pedestrian walkways enclosed in glass, connecting the two eight-level retail wings.
Nearby is the crown of the elevator tower, terminating in an inverted hemispherical
finial. The underside of the hemisphere reflects a laser light show that can be programmed for occasions and serves as a light beacon when entertainment is being
produced. Cascading down from the eighth-level rooftop is another Jerde innovation: a
series of green terraces a top the roofs with of the retail spaces below. Extending the
canyon theme to the roof, Jerde brings the canyon-top landscape to its very precipice.

The project’s interior is a man-made canyon. Originally conceived by the client as a simple concrete passageway to connect the north and south parcels of the project site, Jerde proposed a canyon instead. Constructed from band of coloured stone, the canyon reinforces the project’s connection with nature while forming the primary circulation pattern. This path is carefully sculpted to produce a sense of mystery and create a variety of coves, caves, valleys and other exploratory spaces. At selected locations, varying with each level, direct access from the canyon is provided to
outdoor terraces located on the park plane. Glass bridges connect the two sides of the
canyon, by night becoming arcing tubes of light. All vertical spaces are sky-lit from the
park above.
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Serving as the main entry for patrons, the mouth of Namba Parks' "canyon," at the left (north), leads to the oval-shaped centre at the right (south).
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A series of green terraces with community activities atop the roofs with the retail spaces below.

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Internal Pathways within the complex.

Forming 1.15 hectares (2.8 acres) of rooftop park space, one of Japan’s largest; this
‘Big Park’ is a counterpart to the ‘Big City’ contained below in Namba Parks’ retail
spaces. The roof park features trees, miniature ponds, shrubbery, and planting beds—all irrigated by recycled water filtered from the greywater of the restaurants within
the complex. During the summer, when asphalt can reach a surface temperature of 51
degrees Celsius (124 degrees Fahrenheit) and concrete is 45 (113), the rooftop park is only 34 (93). The retail complex is of steel-frame construction, clad on all non-glazed surfaces with preformed exposed-aggregate concrete panels in banded colours reminiscent of a desert canyon. There is extensive glazing, especially in the storefronts that open to the roof terraces, and within the canyon itself. Standing at the street-side periphery of the complex, the 30-story office tower is sited to cast its extensive shadow most of the day on the law’ that guarantees a measure of sunlight to affected buildings. The architect of the building, Nikken Sekkei, designed one of the biggest floor plates in Osaka—measuring about 1,500 square meters (16,146 square feet) per floor, steel-framed, using the latest in earthquake-resistant design technology.

The rectilinear street facade is banded with glazing, and the curvilinear facade facing
Namba Parks is clad in concrete panels with patterned fenestration.

Namba Parks amplifies the powerful synergy that comes when the public realm is artfully melded with commercial amenities. “We strove to create a unique, communityoriented place that inspires vitality, promotes further revitalisation and is a gift to the citizens of Osaka and enjoyed by visitors from around the world”, says the architect. The project exemplifies the Green TransitOriented Development, where economic performance and quality green design emerge as a single objective.
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Aerial View of the Namba Parks.

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