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BIG's Toyota Woven City breaks ground in Japan

Japan Architecture News - Feb 24, 2021 - 14:12   8159 views

BIG's Toyota Woven City breaks ground in Japan

Bjarke Ingels Group's Toyota Woven City, set to be the world's first urban incubator, has broken ground at the foothills of Mount Fuji in Japan

The Toyota Woven City is designed as a prototype city of the future where all ecosystems are connected, which has begun construction at the Higashi-Fuji site in Susono City,  located in eastern Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan.

BIG first revealed plans for Toyota Woven City in January 2020 and the 708,200-square-metre project is conceived as "a living laboratory" to test and advance mobility, autonomy, connectivity, hydrogen-powered infrastructure and industry collaboration. 

BIG's Toyota Woven City breaks ground in Japan

In an announcement by Toyota on February 23, 2021, it said that a groundbreaking ceremony was held in Jichinsai for the construction of Woven City at the old vehicle yard adjacent to the former Higashi-Fuji Plant site of Toyota Motor East Japan.

"The Woven City project officially starts today," said President Toyoda. 

"Taking action as one has decided is never an easy task. I must express my deepest gratitude to all who have provided their whole-hearted support and cooperation to the project through today." 

"The unwavering themes of the Woven City are 'human-centered,' 'a living laboratory' and 'ever-evolving.' Together with the support of our project partners, we will take on the challenge of creating a future where people of diverse backgrounds are able to live happily."

BIG's Toyota Woven City breaks ground in Japan

TMEJ President Miyauchi added that "I am deeply grateful for having had our Higashi-Fuji Plant operate here for 53 years with the support of the local community." 

"The knowledge and expertise we acquired from all of the people who worked at the plant must be carried on into the next chapter. With the conviction that Woven City will stand not on mere empty land but where the history of the Higashi-Fuji Plant lies, I will offer the greatest possible collaboration in the future," added Miyauchi.

BIG's Toyota Woven City breaks ground in Japan

BIG's Woven City aims to continuously create advancements that will help better society by accelerating the cycle of technology and development of services.

In the project, BIG's design scheme will demonstrate a human-centered approach to community development. With Toyota’s shift from an automobile manufacturer to a mobility company, the project will bring new technology to life in a real-world environment across a wide range of areas, such as automated driving, personal mobility, robotics, and artificial intelligence (AI). 

The project is expected to provide a number of opportunities for businesses and researchers around the world.

BIG's Toyota Woven City breaks ground in Japan

Offering three types of streets interwoven with each other on the ground level, one street will be dedicated to automated driving, the other one to pedestrians, and the last one will be dedicated to pedestrians with personal mobility vehicles. 

To transport goods and serve for other facilities, there will also be one underground road.

Toyota added that "the community will start with roughly 360 residents, mainly senior citizens, families with young children, and inventors and will eventually have a population of more than 2,000 individuals including Toyota employees." 

"The infrastructure of Woven City aims to create an environment where inventions with the potential to solve social issues are created on a timely basis."

BIG's Toyota Woven City breaks ground in Japan

In the masterplan, BIG uses solar energy, geothermal energy, and hydrogen fuel cell technology to strive towards a carbon neutral society. 

Called Toyota e-Palette, it will offer a driverless, clean, multi-purpose vehicle strategy which will be used for shared transportation and delivery services, as well as for mobile retail, food, medical clinics, hotels and workspaces. 

Recreational areas will serve for micro-mobility types such as bicycles, scooters and other modes of personal transport, including Toyota's i-Walk. 

BIG's Toyota Woven City breaks ground in Japan

Throughout the masterplan, BIG's team uses mass timber, the team will combine the legacy of Japanese craftsmanship and the tatami module with robotic fabrication technology, Japan's construction heritage lives on, while building sustainably and efficiently into the future. 

In the Woven City, residences will also test new technology such as in-home robotics to assist with daily living. 

"These smart homes take advantage of full connectivity using sensor-based AI technology to perform functions such as automatic grocery deliveries, laundry pick-ups or trash disposal, all while enjoying spectacular views of Mt. Fuji," stated in a project description.

All images courtesy of BIG

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