SHIBAURA HOUSE operates as an open space where local children, office workers working in the area, and overseas visitors can all gather in one place. From cooking and English conversation classes to lectures with guests from both Japan and abroad, we have been organizing over 100 cultural programs every year. What’s more, the ground floor is open for anyone to come in, just like a public park. At lunchtime, you can come in and watch the neighbors go about their business.
SHIBAURA HOUSE is a company headquarters combined with a community space in Shibaura, Minato-ku, Tokyo. The company was founded in 1952 (and was formerly called Kohkoku Seihan Inc.), but in 2011, it was turned into SHIBAURA HOUSE when the headquarters were rebuilt. As the name suggests, the idea was to build a ‘house’ that is open for people.
Learn more about us here.
Shibaura House functions as socio-ecological lab, bringing together community activists, academics, artists and anybody interested in prototyping change. In cooperation with Prof. Christian Dimmer from Waseda University, we began to assemble a donut coalition in Minato-ku, one of central Tokyo’s 23 wards. A milestone was the interactive exhibition ‘City Portrait - 16 Questions to sensitize the Community’, held between September 26, through October 8 2022. Another important step was seeking contact to sister donut coalitions in Amsterdam, Melbourne and Leeds in order to tap into their rich experience with the donut process. Throughout the preparation of the exhibition, close cooperation with members of the local community was key in order learn about socio-environmental awareness and to concrete ideas.
*If you would like to know more about nl/minato project, please check this link .
A variety of people, including those who are interested in, designers and artists, participated. We got the impression that more people took a closer look at the exhibition than we had originally expected: neighbors, people from the ward office, a research team for a new cultural arts hall, people working on city planning and urban development at companies, students studying environmental issues and economics, people interested in Dutch ideas, designers, and artists.
During the exhibition period, SHIBAURA HOUSE provided a so called “Friendship Program”, a program to enable local activities that fit the theme of the 16 questions to use SHIBAURA HOUSE’s rental space for free. This program supported to create opportunities of new connections and knowledge.
Although we have visualized local issues, this is just the first step. Our next step is, while continuing to connect people in the community, start practical activities to address issues and design an action plan.
Following the exhibition, we organized a workshop with What Design Can Do, a Dutch design organization, in order to explore ways to improve the current situation of the city for the better. The next step for us is to collaborate with an artist who will use our research as a starting point for their new work.
If you would like to read the whole city portrait of the exhibition, please check this link.
Petra Baiba Olehno
Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
Project Manager | Thriving Cities Portrait for Glasgow 2022
Cartagena, Bolívar, Colombia
This lab seems as a very good model to work for for optimal happiness and optimal ecological footprint.
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