Studio Japan: Yumeshima
This studio is available to students enrolled in ABPL90142 Studio C, ABPL90143 Studio D, and ABPL90115 Studio E.
Studio Japan: Yumeshima continues the Studio Japan series that has been running since 2020 at the University of Melbourne. Japan is one of the first countries to enter a post-growth era with an aging and decreasing population that has contributed to social and economic decline. The effects are most visible outside the large cities including the proposed site located in Kamijima Town, a collection of small islands in the Seto Inland Sea. Kamijima is actively attracting new migrants and tourists to maintain the vitality of the town. In March 2022 a scenic cycling route, known as the Yumeshima Kaido, was completed after years in the making spanning several islands connected by bridges. Now the town is planning to build a ‘Michi-no-Eki’ along the Yumeshima Kaido, a multi-functional building consisting of amenities such as an information centre, souvenir shop and a place to rest and refresh. This is a real project Kamijima Town is looking to realise in the future. The studio invites students to explore the potentials of this typology to offer creative and diverse ideas for the town and community to aid them in the planning of this exciting new project.
The studio aims to address current challenges faced by the Japanese countryside through interrogation of key themes such as identity, place making and the role of architecture in community sustainability. As the studio is run online and we cannot visit Japan at this time students will learn to conduct virtual fieldwork to understand the environmental, social, and cultural context of their chosen site through a series of drawing, research, and mapping exercises. Additional 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 and engaging architectural response for the contemporary rural landscape. A key emphasis will be on visual representation 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.
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. Since 2019 Nancy has been based in Tokyo as a doctoral candidate at Keio University. Her thesis examines similar themes to this studio which studies the role of architecture in revitalizing regional communities in Japan. Nancy has presented her research at academic conferences including SAHANZ and has published in both academic and popular media platforms including Asian Studies and The Architecture Review. Nancy has taught at the Melbourne School of Design since 2015 in Architectural History and Theory, and as a studio leader for undergraduate and graduate Design Studios. She is also currently a Professional Teaching Fellow at the University of Auckland.
Readings & References
- Fuji, Mihoyo. 2018. “Rural is the new black: Toyo Ito and his Omishima project.” Interaction Green. September 24, 2018. https://www.interactiongreen.com/toyo-ito-museum-architecture/
- Ji, Yao (Nancy). 2021. “Remaking the rural: Alternative forms of revitalization in post-growth Japan.” Proceedings of the 2020 APRU Sustainable Cities and Landscapes Conference at the University of Auckland. https://doi.org/10.17608/k6.auckland.13578257.v2 https://auckland.figshare.com/articles/conference_contribution/Remaking_the_rural_Alternative_forms_of_revitalization_in_post-growth_Japan/13578257
- Koolhaas, Rem. 2020. Countryside: A Report. Cologne: Taschen.
- Ota, Kayoko. 2018. “Island and Villages: A documentary series on the posturban phenomenon in rural Japan.” Canadian Centre for Architecture. https://www.cca.qc.ca/en/articles/issues/26/what-about-the-provinces/56455/islands-and-villages
- Müller, Lars, Akiko Miki, Hiroshi Kagayama, and Iwan Baan. 2011. Insular insight: where art and architecture conspire with nature: Naoshima, Teshima, Inujima. Baden: Lars Müller Publishers.
- Yoshimoto, Mitsuhiro. 2011. “Kamiyama's success in creative depopulation”, Field. A Journal of Socially-Engaged Art Criticism, 8, Fall 2017. http://field-journal.com/issue-8/kamiyamas-success-in-creative-depopulation
- Taishan Project https://taishancommons.com/FUTURES-1
- Inujima: Architecture Becomes Environment, Politecnico de Milano https://re.public.polimi.it/retrieve/handle/11311/1147143/541978/Inujima%20Architecture%20Becomes%20Enviroment.pdf
- Transforming Omishima, Harvard Graduate School of Design https://issuu.com/gsdharvard/docs/transformingomishima
Schedule Mondays and Thursdays 12:00-15:00