Excavating Space and Nature in Tokyo

This studio encourages students to reflect on the qualities of hidden nature and culture underlying the metropolis program, and how these factors influence physical space. Students will visit and survey Tokyo, one of most complex metropolises in Asia. They will work on and from large-scale surveys to small-scale landscape and architectural detail design as they pursue the possibilities of open space designs that excavate the history and nature lying behind the chaotic urban fabric.

Toru Mitani, as a landscape architect, will serve as the primary organizer for the studio and Manabu Chiba will participate as a critic and encourage students to consider architectural design.

The final requirement is the site design of a three-quarter mile linear space along the Kanda River, which was built in the 1600s as a man-made waterway. It is located in the central Tokyo area, a hub of urban infrastructure and urban life, which has resulted in the natural environment of the river being almost entirely hidden and forgotten. Through considering a morphological possibility of the linear form, students will excavate the historical and spatial quality of the site and create a new linear open space as a landscape infrastructure, thereby designing the future’s cultural heritage.

The studio is composed of three simultaneous exercises: landscape area planning, landscape site design, and morphological case studies. The semester is composed of five phases:
Phase one: Research and the conceptual design prior to the site trip.
Phase two: Site trip to Tokyo and an excursion to Kyoto gardens.
Phase three: Physical design development details and consideration of open space management.
Phase four: Design development, particularly on the dialogue between architectural space and landscape.
Phase five: Reconsideration of the meaning of designing the landscape in preparation for the final presentation.
Large and small scale 3D physical models will be required in addition to visual presentation (drawing and modeling software).