From Eliminating to Elevating: Tokyo Loneliness Tree Hole Plan

Gandong Cai, Mingjie Cai, May 2019

Bubble Competition First Prize



蔡淦东 蔡明洁,2019年5月

Bubble Competition竞赛 一等奖



Tokyo: the City of Loneliness


Loneliness is not Tokyo’s illness; it’s the status quo of the city. Given that loneliness is a comprehensive urban structural issue, the operative action should be in the scale of the whole city by applying a systematic approach -- a new layer of spiritual infrastructure in the city that serves to everyone.


Urban Tree Hole

People who feel lonely may not necessarily reach out to a friend for help. They might prefer a “tree hole”: a target that can be easily found around you, will not response or react to what you say, only provides a hollow space/enclosed shelter for anyone who want to spend a couple minutes with themselves.

We propose a plan of constructing Urban Tree Hole around Tokyo that provide small spaces in the city that those lonely individuals can enjoy being with themselves, with the space, and with loneliness.


Celebrate Loneliness with Tree, Sky, and Water

In our proposal there are three typologies of Urban Tree Hole being inserted into Shibuya, the downtown of Tokyo, by either reinvigorating redundant store on the street side, creating corridor between buildings, or excavating underground space.

In the space of Urban Tree Hole_01 visitor can enter a pop-up store where he can sit down and look at a street tree through the store window, and start a silent conversation with it. In Urban Tree Hole_02, visitor will walk through the corridor between two skyscrapers in which the city view is blocked, but the sky is reflected by tilted mirrors on both sides of the corridor. Urban Tree Hole_03 is an underground space beneath the Shibuya Crossing which collects “invisible” Tokyo water through run-off, and utilize the water to form a water feature for visitor to immerse.