JINS PARK Maebashi: A fresh vision for suburban retail

Commercial, Online Exclusive Feature / 2022

JINS PARK Maebashi: A fresh vision for suburban retail

July 12, 2022

In an era when online shopping is increasingly common, this eyewear store in Maebashi City, Gunma Prefecture rethinks the retail experience to offer something more than a usual commercial space.

The nature of suburban shops is to be visited via car by customers with a particular goal in mind, as opposed to downtown retail where pedestrians could stop by on their way to another destination. In contrast to a typical suburban store that stocks and displays a high volume of merchandise to attract visitors, JINS PARK Maebashi was designed with a park-like space that is open to all—inviting casual, frequent visits.

Site context

The site is located on a major suburban thoroughfare about 15 minutes away from the central city. It has views of Mount Akagi in the distance, and is less than a mile away from Japan’s widest river—the Tone River—with green belts, rose gardens and many other ecosystems along its banks.

To become a part of this ecosystem, the store’s sizeable landscape is placed up front and linked to the tree-lined sidewalk, differing from typical shops that are situated behind parking lots. The entire building is designed to function like a park with three-dimensional connectivity and panoramic views, where visitors can freely find a spot they like and relax as if being on a picnic.

Design and materiality

The building appears to float like a trapezoidal box with a copper façade that echoes the reddish-brown colour of Mount Akagi. The colour of this cladding appears to change with the position of the sun. At night, the edges are illuminated so that the of the diagonally-laid strips evoke a meteor rain.

Copper is a traditional roof material in Japan, and the sheets have been sulfurized by artisans before installation to result in a protective oxide film. This helps prevent corrosion and produce a light brown patina, softening the building’s appearance. As the landscape matures with time, the sheets will also take on a deeper hue.

Spatial programme

The ground level welcomes visitors through a corner entrance with floor-to-ceiling glass doors. The eyewear shop is located on the right, with the bakery and café on the left.

As visitors enter, they are greeted with a large, fan-shaped staircase that doubles as seating area. On these stairs, graphics that depict dappled sunlight and shadows serve to gently separate seating spaces from foot traffic. The simple white ceiling draws people’s gazes diagonally upward to an expanse of sky, creating the desired park-like atmosphere.

Climbing the staircase brings visitors to the upper floor terrace, where they can sit or lie on benches around the periphery. In mild weather, the doors can be slid all the way open to integrate the indoors and outdoors.

At a glance, the spacious interior and non-sales spaces may appear unnecessary for a retail store. However, they allow the store to function as a recreational space in the neighbourhood and provide a venue for community markets and events. More than just a place to buy things, it becomes a place where community relationships are built.


Project Name   
JINS PARK Maebashi

Kawaharamachi 1-21-9, Maebashi Gunma Prefecture, Japan


Completion Date           
April 2021

Site Area           
1,720.64 square metres

Gross Floor Area            
499.33 square metres

Building Height
9.45 metres


Architecture Firm          
Yuko Nagayama and Associates

Principal Architects       
Yuko Nagayama; Yoko Komori

Landscape Designer      

Mechanical and Electrical Engineer        

Civil and Structural Engineer     
Kanebako Structural Engineers

Lighting Designer           
Izumi Okayasu Lighting Design Office

Lighting Planner             
Daiko Electric Co., Ltd.

Graphic/Sign Designer  

Art Direction (Bakery and Café)
Astushi Kikuchi

Yuko Nagayama and Associates

Main Contractor            
Fuyuki Kogyo Corp.

Planting Works
Maebashi Engei

Sign and Furniture Contractor  
Space Co., Ltd.

Sign-board Builder        

Daici Ano; Tomoyuki Kusunose

Read more stories from FuturArc 2Q 2022: New & Re-Emerging Architecture!

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