FROM THE RUBBLE RISES HIKADO MARKETPLACE
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.”