Studio 33

Studio Japan

Nancy Ji

Studio Description

Studio Japan continues from previous Studio Japan editions which looks to the countryside as a source of inspiration and potential while responding to pressing contemporary issues. Japan is one of the first countries to enter a post-growth era with an aging and decreasing population that has prompted many revitalization efforts in recent years including those by artists and architects. The effects of social and economic decline are most visible in rural areas including the proposed site which spans several islands in the Seto Inland Sea. As young people move to larger cities these islands have a growing number of vacant houses, abandoned farmland and empty shops. What kind of architecture can happen in such settings? The studio examines the rural landscape between land and sea from a physical and social perspective to interrogate the role of architecture in community revitalization, identity and creative place making.

Studio Outcomes

As the studio is run online and we cannot visit Japan at this time students will conduct virtual fieldwork to understand the site and context through a series of drawing and mapping exercises. Students will they form a return brief based on their own ongoing research and inquiry. Learning outcomes include a deeper understanding of both traditional and contemporary Japanese architecture and the ability to synthesize a complex web of ideas, drawing on site, culture, tradition, function, and climate to create a considered architectural response for the contemporary rural landscape. Another emphasis will be on visual presentation with one of the final deliverables to be an overall detailed drawing that tells the narrative and future vision for the islands. Students are encouraged to work in groups for this studio.

Studio Leader

Nancy Ji obtained a Master of Architecture from the University of Melbourne and TU Delft. She is a registered architect and has worked for Bates Smart Architects in Melbourne and Kengo Kuma and Associates in Tokyo. Nancy is currently based in Japan and is a doctoral candidate at Keio University where she is researching contemporary Japanese architecture and rural revitalisation. Nancy has presented her research at academic conferences including SAHANZ and writes for both academic and popular media platforms including The Architecture Review. Nancy has taught at the Melbourne School of Design since 2015 in Architectural History and Theory, undergraduate and graduate Design Studios, and since 2018 as a teaching assistant at Keio University.

Readings & References

Please refer to previous semester’s students work on MSDx for reference:

Schedule Mondays and Thursdays 15:15-18:15 Online

Contact Handbook

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