The OCU Urban Research Plaza (Toyosaki Plaza) received the 2011 Good Design Sustainable Design Award for their preservation and renovation of a group of traditional wooden rental row houses in Osaka, the 'Toyosaki Nagaya'. The project was carried out by the Urban Research Plaza with students of the Graduate School of Human Life Science.
The Good Design award is a prestigious award established in 1957 by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and now organized by the Japan Institute of Design Promotion. Each year approximately 3000 projects are submitted from both Japan and abroad.
The 90-year old Toyosaki Nagaya houses are located in the Umeda district, only 15 minutes on foot from Osaka Station and surrounded by high-rise buildings. The houses had become very old and many of them were left unoccupied. Through the renovation, they regained their charm and historical value, serve as quality housing again and at the same time have helped to preserve and revive the neighborhood community.
The project was carried out in close cooperation between the university, students, owners and local residents. The students also participated in the construction work, giving them valuable experience and know-how. Hopefully the project will serve as an example case for future renovation projects.