2017 Awards

Design: General

Honor Award

Walking the Talk–Ichigaya Forest
Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, Japan
SWA Group
Principal Landscape Architect: John S. Loomis,
Client: Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd.

PRECEDENT: With Ichigaya Forest, seeing the forest for the trees is significant. A single exemplary project can perhaps be a catalyst for other redevelopment projects to consider emulating in order to make our urban areas more livable and resilient.
VISION: Ichigaya Forest will be a link in a larger ecological network enhancing biodiversity in the region and bolstering Tokyo’s “Wind Path Project”, initiated to return favorable wind patterns into the city and mitigate measurable heat-island effect.
EDGE: The paving edge detail of the tower approach and plaza is delicately cantilevered, floating the pavement at the forest edge.
DETAIL: 5 million pedestrian trips per year warranted the use of a durable paving material. Granite pavers in a subtle mix of color and finish were used to mimic the shadow patterns overlapping the paving throughout the day.
IMPLEMENTATION: Wattles are a traditional method of controlling soil erosion on exposed slopes. At Ichigaya Forest wattles act as intercept drains to introduce and maintain moisture levels in the lower levels of the manmade soil profile.
MOCKUP: A 200-square-meter (2150 square-foot) field mockup that included the soil amendment protocols, trees, understory and groundcover plantings, plus the leaf litter mulching was constructed two years before actual implementation at the project site for client review and approval.
LOW IMPACT LIGHTING: Site lighting is restrained with illumination mainly focused on pedestrian pathways and wayfinding. Forest habitat is purposefully kept dark respecting the forest residents’ that have made Ichigaya Forest their “home.”
SEASONALITY: Diversity offers the broadest spectrum of seasonal interest, and the predominantly deciduous plant palette of the native forest provides a vivid tableau in autumn.
DIVERSITY: Six different forest types totaling 297 plant species populate the forest. Post-installation monitoring reports understory species increased from 51 to 134 species in the first year after installation.
CREATION: Ichigaya Forest is designed as a “growing forest,” envisioning another 100 years to achieve maximum biodiversity through the
succession processes. Intentional micro-topographic changes were created to develop micro-habitats to promote even greater biodiversity.
TRANSFORMATION: The ultimate planning decision to redevelop the 5.4 hectare site both vertically and below-grade yielded nearly 3.2 hectares
(7.9 acres) of at-grade, privately owned, privately fostered, and publicly accessible green space, christened “Ichigaya Forest.”
INDUSTRIAL PAST: Towards an ultimate goal of improving the quality of life for 10,000 employees, and the Ichigaya neighborhood of Shinjuku, 60% of the 5.4 hectare (13.3 acre) factory site was set aside for at-grade, privately fostered, publically accessible open space.
URBAN FOREST: The master plan for DNP Ichigaya Forest returns a native forest to the dense urban fabric of central Tokyo, setting an exemplary
precedent for maximizing open space to make our cities more livable and resilient.

Dai Nippon Printing Company’s “Ichigaya Forest” sets a stunning precedent of urban planning and landscape design towards making our urban environments more livable and resilient in the face of climate change. DNP’s branding statement, “today’s innovation is tomorrow’s basic,” was forefront when redeveloping their 5.4-hectare (13.3 acres), factory site in the Ichigaya neighborhood of Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo. The 141-year-old company certainly understands the relevancy of sustainability and resilience. Climate change is metrically identifiable in the megalopolis of Tokyo with a 3 degree Centigrade (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) increase in temperature over the last century. DNP and their design team understood that responsible urban redevelopment, locally and globally, must respond to—and combat—that change. To that end, DNP’s vertical and subterranean development coupled with printing modernization contributes to what will ultimately provide nearly 3.2 hectares (7.9 acres) of at-grade, privately owned and fostered public open space, coined “Ichigaya Forest.” With two of three phases completed, and performance being closely monitored, Ichigaya Forest is already worthy of notice, and the best is yet to come.