To Preserve an Invaluable Local Legacy
Our aim is to halt a plan for clearing this site,
preserve this unique venue and landscape together,
and make a convivial place for embracing people from diverse backgrounds.
Uwajima is located in Ehime prefecture, in Shikoku region Japan. It is a castle town about an hour by train from Matsuyama city.
Landscape and History
As you get close to the Uwajima station, you’ll find a landscape in harmony with deep green of the Maruyama mountain.
The Uwajima Railway Office Fan-shaped Garage stands in this harmonious landscape. It is one of the only eleven fan-shaped train garages left in Japan, and the only one in Shikoku region. Surrounded by rich nature, the interior space is punctuated with a beautiful contrast of alternating light and shadow. However, unused and made inaccessible for a long time, the garage and open space became subject to a demolition plan to clear the site to an empty lot.
To preserve this landscape in rich nature as a communal legacy, we started communicating with local people and learning local histories from their memories in order to revitalize this valuable place by making its attractive architectural space accessible again, introducing art and cultural programs and inviting locals and visitors from various backgrounds to enjoy it together.
Our initiative aims at halting the demolition plan, recollecting local histories as social memory for facilitating inter-generational communication, offering a place for relaxation and recreation, and maintaining a convivial place that embraces people from diverse backgrounds and their unique talents.
Buildings to be Preserved
Fan-shaped Garage & Railway Turntable
Office & Storage
Uwajima city is located remote from other urbanized areas, and the shortage of information has often prevented tourists from visiting the city. On the other hand, the city has a long history and rich communities, with unique geographical features and cultural heritages like local festivals. As an attempt to promote those rich localities and invite more visitors, we organized site-specific art exhibitions series “The Visible and The Invisible” in the unique venue for two years since 2020 to offer opportunities for people to openly communicate each other. Held for 10 days each time, the exhibition series attracted 900 visitors in average, nor only from Ehime prefecture but also from wider areas including the Kansai, Kanto and Kyushu regions.
Our Goals We commit ourselves to preserve the unique venue and landscape holistically for promoting creative communication among locals and visitors together, whereby we will continue and enrich exhibition programs and re-connect local crafts and traditional skills to contemporary art and culture. In addition, our initiative will enhance managemental aspects to promote Uwajima city’s rich localities and facilitate sustainable communication between local and visitors.
Our Plans The site is owned by JR Shikoku Railway Company, but it has been designated as an unnecessary asset to be sold off. We are planning to rent a part of the site and preserve the entire landscape that the buildings and open space have maintained together. We will revitalize the place that has long functioned as the gate to the city, so that both locals and visitors can meet each other more actively. In addition to this “face” of the city, we will renovate other unused empty buildings in the city to offer places for facilitating local economy and reinforce local communities.
How We Preserve and Use the Site and Buildings
With a new approach along an allotment garden, the fan-shaped garage will become a large gate to the open field beyond it. The open space in front of the gate will offer an easily accessible place for people’s daily communication, while the extraordinary scale of the gate will have an effect to liberate them from ordinary life so that one can feel relaxed and recover.
Our team with experts in architecture will reinforce and repair the buildings to ensure safety for local and visiting users.
The view of the open field after passing through the fan-shaped garage:
We believe that the preservation of this local legacy will be an important step to cultivate a sensitivity to “old things” and insights to revitalize them without discarding their irreplaceable unique histories altogether. If we can make a case for living convivially with old things and inheriting such invaluable legacies to future generations, it will contribute to solving similar issues that would be happening across the country and in other counties.
Please join us to bring this project to success. We hope we can keep this place to welcome you one day in the future and share this beautiful landscape surrounded by rich nature, culture, and communities.
Please join us by donating to the project or sharing this post with your friends via SNS. We greatly appreciate your kind support.
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