Shinkiba sits on reclaimed land originally developed to be a major distribution site for lumber—a purpose it served well.
Back when the area was first realized, countless logs were stored here,
floating on nearby bodies of water, and business for both lumber manufacturing and distribution was vibrant.
The sight of this lively lumberyard town was so impressive that the Ministry of Environment
selected it as one of the “100 Most Aromatic Sites of Japan” in 2001.
However, with changes in architectural methods came a decline in the demand for lumber,
and distribution channels have changed from domestic to international ones.
Nowadays, the logs have faded away from their storage places,
and the wholesalers and manufacturers of years past are disappearing from Shinkiba.
In order to ensure that we do not lose Shinkiba’s historical and contextual scenery to the flow to time,
we have established this project to re-establish Shinkiba’s place as a “Town of Lumber” and to bring life back to the area.
The Shinkiba UMIDOKO project was started in order to tell a story.
Based on traditional “on-the-water” lumberyards, it is centered on building a new floating house,
and will examine new styles of “regional development”, “human development” and “craftsmanship”.
We will create new, wooden floating houses in collaboration with various architects,
designers and artists, using domestic timber from various regions,
and bearing careful consideration for the forestry and lifestyle of each locale.
We will also produce wooden products with a novel charm,
such as aromatic wood steamers for people to enjoy the fragrances given off by different types of wood,
as well as musical instruments.
Our other aim is to spread knowledge and awareness about Shinkiba and the benefits of introducing wood
into daily lives through the concept of “wooducation (wood + education)”.
We would like to harbor joy through wooducation not only for the families and residents of all ages in Koto-ku,
but to broadcast these ideas into the world.
We strongly believe that our project will contribute to the creation of Tokyo
as an innovative and international “eco- friendly city”.
Shinkiba’s epithet as a “City of Lumber” is now a thing of the past. As time passed,
it has shed its purpose as a lumberyard for timber from overseas.
As we of the current generation begin to think about the future of Shinkiba,
it becomes necessary to redefine the meaning behind its name.
Although it was originally termed “Shin (new) ki (wood) ba (place)”,
we believe it is not impossible to recreate a scenery where wood lives, but through a different method.
The place where lumber from all over the world used to be collected will be transformed as
a place where people from all over the world will gather, instead.
“Regional development”, “craftsmanship” and “human development”
will meet innovation and charm at a brand-new “City of Wood upon the Water”.
Shinkiba will become a hub for culture and begin afresh.
That is the vision we have for this Shinkiba UMIDOKO Project.