Nascar Hall Fame
Safety Experience
Shangri-La Casino
Otaru By-The-Sea
Village Francais
Adventure Island
Funtastic Island
Portfolio  •  Concept  

Five adventure experiences in the naturalist setting of a controlled "Biosphere" environment


About an hour’s drive from Sapporo on Japan’s northern island of Hokaido, there is a small fishing village called Otaru. This quaint seaside village still maintains much of its small town character, a rather unusual circumstance for many of today’s communities within Japan. The town is known for its artistic hand–blown glass, recreational fishing, and snow skiing in several mountain resorts that are but a short drive away. Exline Design was charged with concepting a contextual mixed–use plan that would exponentially expand the community’s budding tourism industry, and help to establish it as a major Japanese destination resort.

Working closely with INTERNATIONAL LEISURE CONSULTANTS (ILC) of Tokyo, Exline Design was invited to participate in a ten–day concepting charette for ILC’s large corporate client TAISEI CORPORATION. Exline organized a small group of California–based designers to travel to Japan and generate the concept from a Tokyo hotel conference room. After meeting with the client, and then traveling to Otaru for a three–day site visit, the small team generated this mixed–use concept in a matter of several days.

The design challenge for the effort centered on achieving the requested developmental density for the project without compromising the intimate scale and charming village ambiance of the existing town. No easy task! Exline’s solution suggested a rather extensive recreational pier that extended beyond the waterfront, providing more “real estate”, helping to control the vertical scale, and symbolically gesturing toward the sea.



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