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The Loop

Hiromasa Komori & Kenji Takeda

1. Introduction

In recent years more than half of the world’s population live in the urban area. The meaning of mental fatigue spreads in wider terms according to the diversity of lifestyles. There are many studies that show experiencing nature leads to many positive outcomes for us. For example, it helps to recover our concentration, reducing stress. (Hazer et al, 2018; Calogiuri et al, 2014.) Moreover, some research indicates that activities in aesthetically pleasing environments could reduce production of the stress hormone (e.g., cortisol) and lead to adaptation of the cardiovascular activities (e.g., increased blood pressure.) (Thompson et al, 2012; Juster RP e al, 2010.)
This architecture challenges to reduce the mental stress by reconnecting the base of the lifecycle “the residence” to nature applying the factors of Biophilia. To picture the urban city, we modeled the architecture to be built in Umeda, Osaka Japan which is the center of the Osaka prefecture. Osaka This place is still under urban development, and more than 13million people use the station near the planned construction site every day. We chose this location as we thought it could depict the image of the megacities symbolically.
2. Why the Green? ”Attention Restoration Theory”

Firstly, many studies show that the existence of green space increases and enhances the rate of positive psychological states. According to Kaplan et al (1995), the mental stress or fatigue is caused by the exhaustion of active directed attention. This exhausted attention could be relieved by experiencing the nature-like situation or visionary to spread the tensed attention. As nature (e.g., green, fresh air, sounds of nature) includes too much information to process in our brain at one time, this information would be processed through the corrective attention. This leads to reducing the stress by relieving the tension of the directed attention. This theory is called the Attention Restoration Theory. We referred to this theory to plan our project and to make the bond between human lives and nature to reduce urban stress.

3. The Green plot planning

 We referred to the attention restoration theory and in addition, we used the green coverage rate (GCR) in determining the green plot planning of our project. The GCR shows the percentage of the green in one picture or a view. According to the ministry of land, infrastructure and transport of Japan(2005), people would feel “being rich in greenery” when the GCR is over 25%. ( We planned the green plotting of the central courtyard to be over 30 percent of the GCR from any angle to offer the residents to experience enough amount of nature within the accommodation’s pathway.

4. The purpose of the two-tiered construction

In our project the overground part represents the Passive nature which is the part where the residents can experience the green, fresh air, the scent of nature by living in the residence. The underground part represents the Active nature, this is the part to enhance the residents to experience human activity without the limitation from the influence of nature. This may sound like a contradiction so putting it more clearly, the roof allows us to act under the rain, the light allows us to walk in the shade of night. We divided the section as the rhythms of the lifestyle varies between individuals especially in the urban area. Some people might work at night, and some the opposite. As this project is aimed to recover the urban stress of the human being, we tried to produce a residence which has the possibility to comprehend more variations of lifestyles.

5. The use of the nature resources

We planned this residence to use as much of the natural resources. The floor level of the circled residence unit is increased by 500mm so that the courtyard and the surrounding area could have the natural ventilation system. In addition to this, the panels on the residence unit can reduce the impacts from the strong wing especially the windshear as this architecture is modeled to be built in the urban city. The roof material of the underground area is the heat reflective glass so it would gain the natural daylight and also absorb the heat. Moreover, the underground area is a double wall structure in which the main part of the underground area is surrounded by the vehicle pathways and the seismic isolated structure. This allows to intake the outdoor air and maintain the temperature by letting the air to flow in the space where it has the influence of the geothermal heat. The geothermal heat in the underground is thermally stable compared to the outdoor, therefore it would help to save the energy of the air conditioning load.

6. Summery

In planning this project, our aim was to reconnect the urban resident’s daily lives to the blessing of nature as much as possible by connecting man-made technology and the resources of nature. The overground part consists of a residential units and the common use units arranged as a huge circle with the central courtyard in the center to enable the residents and also the surrounding environments to experience the positive influence of this architecture (e.g., the natural wind duct, noise control, the aesthetically pleasing design using the green resources.) The underground area allows the residents to experience activities and exercise surrounded by the plants and flowers without the limitation of nature. In addition, the underground unit could be used as an assembly hall as we designed a different gateway to this area. The connection between the surrounding community would lead to different chances of communication and activities to the residents.
At last, we hope this architecture will be one of the solutions that could reconnect nature and human lives by fusion the resources of nature and human technology to reduce the urban stress. Human mental stress would be more complicated and be varied as society keeps evolving in the complex way. We believe the progress of technology could help and produce relief to the human lives by reconnecting the lives to the blessing of nature.


Calogiuri, Giovanna. “Green exercise as a workplace intervention to reduce job stress. Results from a pilot study.” National Library of Medicine, 2015. PubMed PMID: 26684708

Hazer, Meghan. “The relationship between self-reported exposure to greenspace and human stress in Baltimore, MD.” Landscape and Urban Planning, vol. 169, 2018.

Juster, RP. “Allostatic load biomarkers of chronic stress and impact on health and cognition.” Neuro-science and Biobehavioral Reviews, 2010; 35(1):2-16. PubMed PMID: WOS:000282205600002.

Kaplan, S. “The restorative Benefits of Nature – Toward an Integrative Framework.” Journal of Environmental Psychology, 1995. PubMed PMID: WOS*A1995TC98400002

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of Japan “都市の緑量と心理的効果の相関関係の社会実験調査について”

Thompson, W, Catharine. “More green space is linked to less stress in deprived communities: Evidence from salivary cortisol patterns.” Landscape and Urban Planning, vol. 105, 2012.

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