A view into a typical residential unit in the proposed building

BACKGROUND: The Genkai Shuraku Problem

Genkai Shuraku is any village in Japan that has experienced depopulation and is in danger of disappearing altogether, largely because more than half of the people living in the village are elders. Genkai shuraku are generally found in mountain villages and outlying islands. Villages facing this sort of situation have seen rapid decline in the functions of a community, such as the maintenance of roads, governmental advantages, and people.

From the late Showa to Heisei period, the declining birth rates and population concentration in urban areas in Japan became very apparent, increasing the problems in these villages. According to the government survey, as of 2015, there are 15,568 villages with more than half of the population over the age of 65. 147 more villages disappeared in comparison with 2014. In villages where elderly people are at the center, if there are no younger residents and middle- or lower-level migration, the maintenance of the village becomes difficult due to the death or migration of the residents to urban areas.




The core idea of this project is to rebuild villages in the countryside of Japan. Genkai Shuraku (literally “limited village”) are intended to create a more safe and sustainable life for the elders and younger residents.

The design of the site should be welcoming, making every resident be able to have activities where residents can interact and pour life back into these areas. By adding a hotel and permanent resident area in the same complex, the elders will have younger people who can support their lives. Each room will be very simple, with built-in pieces of furniture.



Those currently living in a Genkai Shuraku, who needs access to simple needs such as food. Genkai Shuraku is where more than 50% of the population is over 65 years old. Other users will be younger residents who can use this facility to stay at a hotel or temporary/permanent housing.


As the average age of these residents in these villages is above 65 years old, they are incapable of going to far places. We will need a common area which includes all the necessities such as a market, clinic, cafe, resting area, etc. We will need a large circular area to have the common area located in the center and have the resident’s homes surrounding it.




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FINAL DESIGN: Digital Model (SketchUp)

Interior View of Hotel / Resident Room
Aerial View of Entire Building
View of Room from Exterior





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  1. April 28, 2019 by Jenny.Zhao

    Hello! This project sounds really interesting and you did a great job on informing us on the situation in Genkai Shuraku. I have some thoughts that might also be helpful too think about. In your design you had stairs present, but remembering that the population is about half elderly, it might be nice to have elevators for easier mobility. Another thing, all the rooms seem to have the same size and same layout. I would think that in a rural area, it would be nicer to have larger and more spacious rooms rather than these smaller same size rooms. Overall, really thorough and really interesting!

  2. May 02, 2019 by Mai

    I know near nothing regarding this topic, but your project is really interesting nonetheless. The development and growth of rural villages all around the world is an issue that often gets overlooked and it’s so cool how you managed to tie that into addressing it through architecture! The central designated area idea was very intuitive and clever.

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