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Osaka, Japan

Osaka Institute of Japanese Culture

A catalyst for the creative precinct of design, media and the performing arts in Osaka, Japan. International Design Competition.


The vision for the project is to foster a culture of creativity and joy where symbolic and cultural innovations are exported from Japan. As such, the precinct is designed to fuse the economic and cultural domains and create an experience that attracts creative local and global entrepreneurs to Osaka. 


The proposal envisages the evolution of a living cultural precinct integrated with an arts and technology campus, nurturing the emergence of cultural innovation and creativity through progressive design, media and performing arts. The rebirth of Japanese creative innovations aims to meet the challenges of a global knowledge-based information economy.


There is a strong focus on innovation and the expansion and development of Japanese culture, cultural innovation and intellectual production, leading ultimately to the production and consumption of cultural products and the exportation of a Japanese cultural identity through innovative new commodities, based in the arts, media and design.

The growth potential for development by an innovative and responsible land-use for the targeted area is limitless. Few urban sites in the world present such an excellent opportunity for a holistic design approach on a clean slate, with such potent infrastructural adjacencies.

The design approach adopted for the Osaka Institute of Japanese Culture (OiJAC) seeks to find a balance between:


• optimal return-on-investment of infrastructure and development

• maximisation of public access and involvement with the site

• long-term viability and growth of participating role-players

• creation of a synergistic learning, creative and business environment

• building of an iconic cultural place that will be an asset for Japan


Fostering Creativity in Japanese Business Culture.


In their study of planned science and technology parks throughout the world, Technopoles, Castells and Hall (1994) argue that Japanese institutions, norms and procedures fail to generate sufficient creative and innovative ideas and fundamentally new technologies (1994:210). 


The OiJAC project aims to reposition Osaka and the Kansai region, by moving the City on a new growth path that is innovation led in the fields of cultural media, design, and knowledge-based industries. The objective of stimulating regional economic growth through the cultivation and exportation of Japanese intellectual property, conceived and executed through the auspices of an Institute of Culture, will ensure governmental support for private enterprises.

Incubator of Cultural Media


A critical business model for the success of the participating academies and industries is the use of media surfaces and exhibition spaces in and around the targeted area for the launch of products under development in the various academies, in particular, the Tower Video Wall.


Through the use of the 25-storey high video wall that faces the station, all manner of film, music, product design and software design can be broadcast to approximately 2.5 million potential customers per day.


Feedback from the public in real time for products under development will speed research and development time, and foster a better understanding of market desires. The impact of the screen as a billboard for the Institution and the Academies will further the success of enrolment and identity, and should not be used for advertising any non-academy events or products.


Capitalising on the rise of media and information as cultural commodity


While the United States and other Western economies have capitalised on the content aspect of information technology and services, and excelled at the exportation of film, music and software globally, Japan has shown relatively little growth in the creation of globally accessible media content – with the exception of computer games. The OiJAC proposal seeks to stimulate development in the performing arts, literature, film and design in order to capitalise on Japan’s unique cultural identity, which is ideal for exportation with no chance of being imitated by foreign competition.


Developing space-saving, portable and transient consumables


As a global trend, a growing lack of space indicates that consumable goods that occupy the least amount of space are most desirable. In this context the transient nature of broadcast media and indeed most plays, films and recordings, which occupy little or no physical space at all, can be consumed over and over with no impact on personal space. The OiJAC will promote the development of new media that satisfies the demand for an increasingly mobile, leisurely and space-deprived world.

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