Each class on the Media Axis is an editorial meeting of the students, who put their skills into research, fieldwork, writing, editing, layout, and design of S-meme, a journal of cultural criticism from a Sendai perspective. During this semester, we compiled the fifth issue.
This issue explores the theme of “art and tourism in regional cities,” including the role of museums in these cities, and relationships between international art festivals and tourism. Guest lecturers included Kento Shimizu, curator in the Sendai Mediatheque; Fumihiko Sumitomo, a curator active in bringing art to areas outside major cities; and Masahiko Haito, who serves as a liaison between government and the arts for the Aichi Triennale.
PBL Studio 2 : Environmental Axis
“Sendai OASIS / Blue-Green Studio 4”
Based on fieldwork carried out in the past in the core urban area of Sendai, we examined the possibilities of a “green infrastructure urbanism” in areas slated for redevelopment along the Tozai subway line currently under construction, with an eye to the environmental potential contained in geographical features and waterways in these areas.
PBL Studio 3 : Social Axis
“Memorial Landscape 1”
The Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing tsunami rendered the coastal areas of Sendai practically unrecognizable. These areas are now home to numerous remnants that stand as both a testament to the devastation and a poignant reminder of daily life before the catastrophe. Now, we face the challenge of effectively passing on the memory of the disaster and those lost, the unique history of the region, and recognition of the importance of disaster preparedness to future generations. In this process, we must consider how this legacy can be given practical and sustainable applications, rather than merely acting as a trigger for outpourings of sentiment.
This studio combined noble ideals with down-to-earth realism in compiling a comprehensive blueprint for such efforts, including planning, organizing, business considerations, and funding. Through rigorous discussions with architects and businesspeople, we arrived at a new community-based approach to the preservation and application of the tsunami’s legacy.
PBL Studio 4 : Communication Axis
“Chronodiversity in Design”
People are in constant motion. When examining modes of communication rooted in the loci of the people communicating, we find that the context of each place changes drastically depending on the length of time a person spends there. In this class, we gained an understanding of the diversity in lengths of time spent in particular places, and considered the potential for locations and services that further expand this diversity. We produced proposals for multi-scale chrono-design based on the vision of cities as temporal ecosystems, turning our attention to such matters as “rests” and “stays” in Japan’s love hotels, customer turnover rate in restaurants, “touchdown offices” for mobile workers, one-night and extended stays at inns, the lifespan and temporal perceptions of mice and elephants, and regional population mobility.
PBL Studio 5 : Global Axis
“Traveling Workshop: Unveiled Network”
This studio explores local issues from a global perspective, and aims to cultivate human resources capable of carrying out project work on architectural proposals in collaboration with people of different cultures and mindsets.
In a joint effort with architectural universities in Montpelier, France and Melbourne, Australia, the Department of Architecture and Building Science at Tohoku University examines various regions throughout the world and works together with the World Architecture Workshop (WAW), traveling to these locations and engaging with a multinational project team.
In the 2012 academic year, Japan acted as the host country, and our area of focus was the formation of local networks connected by the new Sendai municipal Tozai subway line, setting forth a future vision for the line’s service area that anticipates the effects of shortened travel times and reorganization of urban infrastructure.
Future Lab 4
“Future of Fabrication”
Processes of designing and manufacturing products are evolving, and the time is ripe to examine the future of fabrication.
In the 21st century, the advent of new design and production processes has begun undermining fixed, pre-existing workflows, and new manufacturing paradigms are beginning to take shape.
In this class we deliberated on the future of the manufacturing sector, having hands-on experiences at design and production sites, and obtaining insights from experts and businesspeople who are pursuing innovative approaches.
In a workshop, we built on lectures and fieldwork to prepare a final product.
“Adventures in Graphic Design”
We considered cross-disciplinary endeavors centered on graphic design and involving its close relative, architecture
Agile Research Project 5 (Special Workshop)
“Disaster Datascape 2”
We considered suitable ways of expressing research data on disasters in visual form and presented these ideas in a practical format, with the goal of ensuring lessons learned from the great earthquake are passed on, and that the findings of research institutions reach a wider audience. During the Disaster Datascape 2 project, we conducted interviews with researchers from Tohoku University IRIDeS (International Research Institute for Disaster Science) to obtain data and feedback from them. The graphics we produced as a finished product were presented to the public at the Monster Exhibition 2013 charity exhibition for the Great East Japan Earthquake (planned and organized by Sendai School of Design graduates).
Agile Research Project 6 (Special Workshop)
“Smart Communities in Post-Disaster Restoration Areas”
We participated in the Netherlands & Kamaishi Smart Work Week (SWW) in the city of Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture, which is currently formulating a Basic Smart Community Plan. We attended workshops that provided opportunities for discussions with a wide range of stakeholders, and aimed to learn about smart cities by visiting an actual planned site.