Japan: Contemporary Works and Their Execution
6 credits (ARCH-1505/CER-1505-01)
Jan 2.-Feb. 6: Kyoto and Naoshima
Temples and shrines, tranquil gardens, traditional crafts, and music—these are all things that should not be missed when visiting the city of Kyoto and the island of Naoshima in Japan. Yet, both locations are also places of new things and ideas giving rise to laboratories of innovation in both architecture and the arts. In recent years, there has been a movement to renovate and preserve the historical "machiya" houses, a traditional typology in the city of Kyoto that has a shop space opening onto the street at the front and living spaces behind and on the floors above. The machiya were erected by skilled carpenters using traditional building techniques but now are under threat from modern building growth. These houses, filled with objects, are now considered economically unsustainable by developers and are regularly removed and replaced by parking structures or apartment blocks. In an effort to preserve these buildings and ways of living, organizations and private entities have been converting them to other uses and programs. These transformations have added a new face to the city landscape. Conversely, the island of Naoshima has promoted in recent years the work of emerging architects and artists as a way to enliven the economy of the Seto Inland Sea islands without losing sight of the strong connection with the traditional structures, objects, and events that constitute Japanese culture. Observations made in the city of Kyoto and on the island of Naoshima become research catalysts towards the formation of a possible future proposal for the Setouchi Triennale, one of Japan's largest international art festivals where selected projects are constructed for the duration of at least three years. This course is a joint exploration between the Departments of Architecture and Ceramics devoted to the examination of spatial relationships and how the role of ceramic objects activate spaces in the machiya house typology, tea houses, and temples. Japanese ceramic utilitarian objects can be used for mediation and dialogue, as activators of human interaction, and as carriers of history, heritage, and political power. This "biography" of objects intertwines values and aesthetics. The course would take place in Japan during the five weeks of wintersession; four weeks would in Kyoto and the last week of the term on the island of Naoshima.
Permission of Instructor required. Open to sophomore and above; Course is not open to first year students.
Estimated Travel Cost: $3,500.00 – airfare not included (cost includes: accommodation, field trips, local transportation, group dinners + some meals, museum entrances, health and travel insurance).