A sculptural new public space made up of flying saucer-like structures has opened in Tenri, a small town in Nara, Japan. Designed by prolific Tokyo-based Studio Nendo, CoFuFun, as it’s called, is a 6,000-square-meter (approximately 65,000 square feet) plaza meant to bring together residents and tourists alike.
The discs, inspired by ancient Japanese tombs known as “kofun,” and a number of which are found throughout Tenri, occupy several functions. Concentric stairs lead up or down and also act as benches, or as seating for an amphitheater, as a playground for children, or a roof.
Located by a train station, the circular concrete architecture—prefabricated offsite using molds—also comprises a cafe, meeting space, and a study lounge. The circle motif continues on the ground as well, where patches of turf of varying sizes offer a bit of green space in the middle of the city.
Placed at four different heights to minimize noise, the structures create a dynamic public space that is also playful. Have a look.