Sep. 05, 2021
Namie Town
Kengo Kuma & Associates, Inc.
Sumitomo Corporation

Concluding a Partnership Agreement on Reconstruction of the Local Community in Namie Town through the “Power of Design”Architectural and townscape design project implemented by Kengo Kuma and Junji Ito in an area extending over approximately eight hectares around Namie Station as the first trial of its kind in Japan

Namie Town in Fukushima Prefecture (Mayor: Kazuhiro Yoshida; hereinafter, “Namie”), Kengo Kuma & Associates, Inc. (Minato-ku, Tokyo; Representative Director: Minoru Yokoo; hereinafter, “Kengo Kuma & Associates”), Junji ITO OFFICE (Setagaya-ku, Tokyo; Representative: Junji Ito), and Sumitomo Corporation (Head Office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; Representative Director, President and Chief Executive Officer: Masayuki Hyodo) (collectively, “the four parties”) have concluded a partnership agreement on reconstruction of the local community in Namie through the “power of design” (hereinafter, “the Agreement”) with a view toward promoting a range of measures for further reconstruction of Namie, including implementing the Namie Station surrounding area improvement project.

Namie suffered devastating damage due to the Great East Japan Earthquake of March 2011 and the subsequent nuclear power station accident. Although progress has been made in the reconstruction of local roads and the restoration of local living conditions, the town’s residential population is still slightly less than 10 percent that of the pre-disaster level. Against this backdrop, Namie urgently needs to improve the local living environment and increase its sustainability by creating new industries and employment and fostering local community activities. To meet this requirement, the Namie Station surrounding area improvement project was set up in March 2021 to speed up local reconstruction by increasing the number of people returning and moving to the town, based on the town’s central area revitalization plan set to foster reconstruction of the local community and the vision articulated for revitalization of the area surrounding Namie Station.

The Agreement is intended to foster innovation in the town, with Kengo Kuma & Associates and Junji ITO OFFICE leading the design of the buildings and townscape in the area surrounding Namie Station (comprising about eight hectares) in a manner that harmonizes with the use of hydrogen and other renewable energy sources and generates synergy effects between these two initiatives. For the Namie Station surrounding area improvement project, a master plan will be created within fiscal 2021 and both basic and detailed design work will be conducted for the sequential establishment of various facilities in the targeted area in and after 2024.

In Namie, the forestry industry has long prospered, and the Fukushima Advanced Manufacturing Center for Laminated Timber (FLAM), which boasts the largest size of this type of center in Japan, is operating in the town to lead the forestry industry across Fukushima Prefecture. In order to promote the architectural use of wooden materials, Kengo Kuma & Associates will engage in the design work for the project as a company versed in wooden architectural design, while Junji ITO OFFICE will handle entire space design. Sumitomo Corporation will make use of its expertise and network to transform the town into an advanced “100-percent renewable energy town,” where hydrogen and other renewables are produced and consumed locally, as part of the company’s “Zero Carbon City” creation efforts.

The four parties will embrace the challenge of making use of hydrogen and other renewables for reconstruction of the local community in Namie, while also making use of the town’s nature, history and culture. To meet this challenge, the “power of design” will be combined with know-how to provide necessary mechanisms and places toward the goal of creating a town full of hopes and dreams that makes people feel like living there on a continuous basis, as upheld by Namie as its vision.

<Comments from the parties involved>
■Kazuhiro Yoshida, Mayor of Namie Town
“Professor Kuma and Professor Ito will design the buildings and townscape for Namie, and the “power of design” will steadily and visually convey the fact that the town is making progress toward full-scale reconstruction, while at the same time adding new charms, to local citizens, those related to the town and people who will come to know more about the town through the project. I also expect that Sumitomo Corporation will give us innovative ideas for the use of hydrogen and other renewable energy sources. I look forward to seeing how the area will change as a result of the project.”

■Kengo Kuma, Kengo Kuma & Associates
“We will make use of the nature and culture of Namie to create a community that its citizens will be proud of and that will contribute to the full-scale recovery of the town from the disaster. We will also make use of hydrogen, other renewable energy sources and wooden materials to create a ‘future town’ that we can show off to the world as an environmental model town.”

■Junji Ito, Representative, Junji ITO OFFICE
“I have been engaging in reconstruction projects since immediately after the March 11 disaster. I saw Namie becoming a ghost town in the wake of the disaster. Having had this heartbreaking experience, I now feel very pleased to be able to participate in the redevelopment project for this historical town. I would like to extend my support, however small, to the future growth of Namie, where traditional culture and new industries will exist in harmony together.”

■Hajime Mori, Energy Innovation Initiative Director, Sumitomo Corporation
“I feel honored to be able to engage in the reconstruction and community development project for Namie in cooperation with Professor Kuma and Professor Ito. Sumitomo Corporation, based on the partnership agreement concluded this January with Namie Town, will foster the use of hydrogen and other renewables and promote innovation to contribute toward redeveloping a community suitable for the lifestyles of local citizens.”

<Activities to be conducted under the Agreement>
・Those related to the design of buildings and urban space
・Those related to harmonizing urban space design with the use of hydrogen and other renewables to generate synergy effects between them and create a community where various innovations are implemented
・Those related to the promotion of local industries
・Those related to revitalization of the town and to the dispatch of relevant information

Corporate Communications Department, Sumitomo Corporation
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