Catalyst architecture5


Miyashita Park

Interview with Yoshiharu Tsukamoto,
Atelier Bow-Wow
Producer: Hans Kiib and Peter Mandal Hansen


MIYASHITA PARK – Places of Behaviour

Miyashita Park is a small pocket park placed on top of two existing parking complexes that date back to 1964. It is located in Shibuya, just 100 meters from Tokyo’s largest mobility inferno; elevated railway lines and four-lane roads with heavy traffic surround the park on all sides. Immediately next to the parking house façade, approximately 40 homeless people have settled in shacks made from steel scaffolding and plastic sheeting.

The new design of the park became a series of active spaces with long benches for recreation around the edges. Atelier Bow-Wow has invested significant time in discussions with different groups (particularly young people) in the area, talking about the programs and creating an informal ownership of the new design without removing the homeless people and the existing users of the parking complex. This strategy has been successful. The previously unappreciated park with simple materials of concrete, gravel, tarmac, grass, and tall trees now provides the framework for a diverse urban life with various users, 24 hours a day.

Places of behavior are characterized by being lively, humorous places, which give people a sense of openness and vitality. It is essential that this kind of situation cannot be created through manipulation from outside. The secret is to perceive the trends in the behavior of a place and with this as a backdrop activate the spatial mechanisms and guide these in a new direction.

“Atelier Bow-Wow feels that the true fun and vitality of a ‘place of behavior’ cannot be experienced privately by a lone individual. When viewed from the perspective of ‘behavior’, they say that human beings are seen to share a particular custom or standard, something not entirely reducible to individual experiences. Behavior is not something belonging to the individual’s inner world; rather it arises as an action of custom of involvement in specific places. ‘Behavior’ therefore is something shared – something no individual person can exclusively possess” (Shinohara 2014, p 45).



Miyashita Park, immediately north of Shibuya Station, Tokyo

Size: 14,000 m2 in a narrow strip, which is 400 meters long and 20 to 40 meters wide.

Contains: Fields and areas for football, skating, dancing, climbing, picnics, and other recreational activities

Architects: Redesign of existing park: Atelier Bow-Wow, Tokyo

Engineers: Kanebako Structural Engineers

Inventory and lighting: Studio Lamp and Bonbori Lighting Architect & Associates, Inc.

Landscape Architect: TOKUZOU

Client: Public Works under Tokyo Metropolitan Administration

Inauguration after restoration: 2011

Cost: 470 million JPY/ 3,2 million EUR/ 4 million USD