The Misato LaLaport Project is located in the city of Misato, in Saitama Prefecture, about 30 kilometers northeast of Tokyo. The project, owned by the Mitsui Fudosan, is part of a master-plan to develop a former rolling stock yard used by JR, the Japan National Railway Company. The master-plan outlines a wide range of uses that emphasizes an integrated approach towards community planning that brings together high-tech distribution centers, big-box retailers, a shopping center, entertainment venues, cultural facilities, as well as multi-family and single family residential units. Overall, the surrounding area functions as a bedroom community to the more urban areas of central Tokyo.
The Misato LaLaport is the retail portion of the master-plan that is composed of fashion boutiques, restaurants, cafes, a dining court, cinema, health club and wellness center, large books/music/video stores, and convenience shops, all totaling 96,500 square meters. Complementing the retail component is a multi-use events space for cultural, promotional functions and community related activities. The project is located directly across from the Shin Misato station and serves as the gateway to the development and to the surrounding neighborhood.
The fundamental planning concept addresses the large size of the building in relation to how it is approached and used by the visitor. For such a large building to have a coherent and assertive presence at the urban scale, but at the same time have a clear organizational diagram at the human scale, required us to investigate models and typologies beyond those of the typical shopping mall.