As part of CES 2020, Bjarke Ingels Group has unveiled exciting designs for its first project in Japan — the Toyota Woven City, a sustainable “living laboratory” at the foothills of Mt. Fuji. Created in collaboration with Toyota Motor Corporation, the project will be the world’s first urban incubator dedicated to the advancement of all aspects of mobility with a focus on sustainability, from renewable energies to shared mobility. The futuristic prototype town will also be notable for its inclusion of Japanese craftsmanship, which will inform the design of the architecture built with mass timber construction.
Located at a 175-acre former factory site in the city of Susono in Shizuoka, Toyota Woven City will provide a testing grounds for a futuristic smart city powered by Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell technology. “Today the typical is mess — with everything and nothing happening everywhere,” said Bjarke Ingels, founder and creative director of BIG. “With the Woven City, we peel apart and then weave back together the three components of a typical road into a new urban fabric: a street optimized for automated vehicles, a promenade for micro-mobility and a linear park for pedestrians. The resulting pattern of porous 3-by-3 city blocks creates a multitude of different eco-niches for social life, culture and commerce.”
The Woven City’s flexible network of streets will cater to multi-modal transit and emphasize pedestrian-friendly connections. Roads will fall into three categories. The first is the primary street for fast-moving, autonomous vehicles, such as the self-driving Toyota e-Palette, with logistical traffic underneath. Then, there will be a recreational promenade open to pedestrians and low-speed, micro-mobility types such as bicycles, scooters and Toyota’s i-Walk. Finally, the project includes linear parks, or pedestrian-only pathways that serve as ecological corridors. The three street types will be woven into 3-by-3 city blocks, each framing a courtyard connected to a promenade or linear park.
Mass timber construction built with robotic fabrication technology will be used for all of Woven City’s architecture, which will comprise a mix of housing, retail and business. The timber buildings will be topped with photovoltaic panels and punctuated with large windows to let in natural light and frame views of Mt. Fuji. Robotics and new innovative technology will also be woven into all parts of daily life, from sensor-based AI technology that helps with automatic grocery deliveries and trash disposal to robotic construction facilities housed in Toyota’s R&D spaces. The Toyota Woven City is expected to break ground in phases beginning in 2021.
Images by Squint Opera and BIG