Seeking to explore power as crucial factor in the design of the built environment, we will look at energy systems and related objects, from sites of generation to spaces of consumption, from distribution networks to control rooms.

Tutors: Filip Geerts and Sanne van den Breemer
Director of Studies: Salomon Frausto

Contributors: Santiago Ardila, Juan Benavides, Daniella Camarena, Stef Dingen, Marco Fusco, Jack Garay Arauzo, Theodora Gelali, Shaiwanti Gupta, Hao Hsu, Marianthi Papangelopoulou, Felipe Quintero, Gent Shehu, Siyuan Wang


Institution, Food, National, Object, Culture, Economy, Lifestyle, Illustration

Pachinko is an electronic amusement machine. Its name comes from the metal balls inside the machine. It was invented in Nagoya at the beginning of the 20th century, and the initial idea of the game was used for entertaining kids. After a period of development, pachinko became a way of gambling, and it was banned in 1942 and restarted in 1946.1
    Today, pachinko is a legal activity and becomes a part of Japanese culture. The total number of parlors in Japan was 8,680 according to research in 2016. Since it is popular and opens 24/7, its high electricity cost (an average of about 768,060 kilowatts/ year) once caused this industry to be considered as a big energy hog after the nuclear disaster of Fukushima.2
    It brings a lot of profit for the business. The sale and revenue of the industry occupied 5.6 percent GDP in 1999 in Japan, which is close to 280 trillion yen. The total number of employees of parlors is over 330 thousand, which accounts for 0.52 percent of employment in Japan. As of 2015, the gambling revenue of pachinko market in Japan is more than the sum of revenue by casinos in Las Vegas, Macau, and Singapore.
    To play Pachinko, players have to control a bar to adjust the power of launching steel balls. When steel balls are launched, they will pass through a series of blocks which would change steel balls’ direction toward different exits. When steel balls are launched, these balls will pass through a series of blocks which would change steel balls’ direction toward different exits. Only steel balls have passed all blocks and finished the route, players could take back the ball and exchange it for money.

1. Wikipedia. “Pachinko”, last modified Mar 17, 2020,
2. Sora News 24. “Check out the one-month electric bills for Tokyo Tower, Skytree and more” last modified Aug 8, 2016,