Moomin Museum’s architect to transform Japanese train station

N.e.o Ark is to fill the interior of Hannō Station with a Finnish forest landscape, after winning a design competition for the station’s renovation.

The competition was arranged solely for Finnish studios, in conjunction with Seibu Railway and Finpro. The goal was to transform the train station into a portal to a new Nordic forest centre, which is slated to commence operations in January, as well as a Moomin theme park opening in 2019.

“When looking into why Hannō was chosen for the second Moomin theme park in the world we discovered many similar features between Finland and Japan,” stated Fumio Taguchi, the manager of the public relations department at Seibu Railway, when visiting Finland in October for the announcement of the finalists.

“We were curious and excited to find out how Finnish design would showcase in the live setting of people living in Hannō,” adds Junichi Kyouo, from Seibu Railway.

All three finalists incorporated different forest-related elements to their designs. In the end, it was N.e.o Ark’s complete concept and distinctive way of working that swayed the judges.

“We strived to create a dialogue between the station and nature as well as make it recognisable as the port to the forest center and the Moomin theme park,” N.e.o Ark CEO Taina Väisänen says in a press release. “One important aspect has also been making it a smooth passage for both locals and those accessing the park.” Taina Väisänen has also designed the world’s only Moomin Museum, in Tampere, Finland.

The other finalists in the competition were Kuudes Helsinki and Lindroos Architects & Futudesign.