REBUILDING JAPAN: Architecture for Humanity Raises Hikado Marketplace from Tsunami Rubble

by , 07/05/11

Architecture for Humanity, cameron sinclair, hiromi tabei, rebuilding japan, green architecture, eco architecture, inhabitat, inhabitat donation, japan earthquake, japan tsunami, sustainable architecture, architecture for humanity japan, japan disaster, humanitarian design, hikado marketplace, hikado

The project started when AFH design fellow Hiromi Tabei and a colleague were dispatched to Motoyoshi to see what could be done there to alleviate the small fishing community’s troubles after the tsunami, which ranged from destroyed homes to being unable to work because many boats were also demolished. 50 temporary housing units had already been planned for the area so the decision was made that what the villagers really needed was a place to gather, converse, maybe grab a beer or some tea, and regain some sense of normalcy at a time that simply could not be called normal. The plan developed further to include food stands and a wooden deck, all facing a beach that is, at last, peaceful – a sign that maybe things could get back to how they once were.

The marketplace, which will act as the new community center for the village, is being built out of materials that once made up the homes that stood there. Team members have been collecting things like wooden beams, some over 100 years old, and shingles to reuse on the marketplace. Aside from being much more sustainable than trucking in new materials from elsewhere, the act of using these salvaged pieces of wreckage symbolizes the resourcefulness and resiliency of the Japanese people. As Americans say, “When life gives you lemons…make lemonade” the Japanese might now say “When a tsunami leaves you with scattered pieces of wood…use them to rebuild your town.”


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  1. JenniferL July 10, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Doing all that is within our power to help those in need, is one of our greatest strengths. Keep up the wonderful work!

  2. mercurydan July 3, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    This is a disaster, but lets not forget also the people in Africa that face this tragedy everyday yet never get televised because its become the norm. or the starving people in North Korea, or the fighting in Somalia, or the Iraq and Afganistan people being bombed by “Allied” forces you are so proud of, that killed well over 200,000 people for revenge of your 3000 that died in twin towers attack. WHERE IS THEIR MONEY PEOPLE???? tragedies are happening all over the world can we feel better that we just helped one country and not the rest?

  3. tmock June 30, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Given our new found knowledge of repeated near-shore earthquake and landslide tsunamis, how should our strategies for building/rebuilding in tsunami zones change?

  4. nyoneda June 29, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    It’s easy to forget, especially after we stop seeing a tragedy on the evening news, as was decisively pointed out in this article. That makes this effort all the more admirable. The past few months have shown an interesting perspective into the Japanese people and their ideals. They have a tendency to suffer quietly, but those survivors deserve more. Thank you Inhabitat and Yahoo. We can learn a lot from your work.

  5. jkgreen June 29, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    what a great program

  6. Jessica Dailey June 29, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    What an amazing story. It’s wonderful to see big companies like Yahoo donating to the cause.

  7. Cliff Champion June 29, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    i think it’s fantastic how the world has come together to help Japan’s recovery. yahoo for yahoo!

  8. Kestrel Jenkins June 29, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Yahoo – this is rad. Thanks!!

  9. Dan Mendes June 29, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Just a couple clicks and you’ve done your part to help Japan! How simple.

  10. Nicole Abene June 29, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    so much destruction .. glad to see people are working to rebuild!

  11. JasminMC June 29, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Thanks Yahoo and Inhabitat! This is amazing!

  12. Rebecca Paul June 29, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Amazing! Architecture for Humanity is such an inspiring organization, and I am happy to make Yahoo my homepage to support the cause!!!

  13. Mike Chino June 29, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    This is an amazing initiative that will provide a much-needed service. Thanks Yahoo!

  14. Diane Pham June 29, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    thanks Yahoo! you rock!

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