Kyoto Studio II: Seasons and Architecture

This studio will explore architecture as a responsive entity to seasons in climate, economy, politics and socio-cultural landscape. Through the analysis of building paradigms and urbanism developed in Kyoto for more than one thousand years, the studio will look at the wisdom of survival in traditions, and look at future applications for those techniques. The studio will visit traditional craft studios such as textile, ceramics, bamboo, wood and paper-making to understand the particular symbiosis of its culture and materials.

We will be collaborating with Kyoto Institute of Technology’s Laboratory for the Future of Traditions to see examples of their research in scientific proof of sophisticated solutions in ancient techniques and materials. Kyoto is hot during the summer, cold in the winter and located in a mountainous region where material and resource limitations generated efficient and artistic techniques to solve multiple issues. These include disasters such as fire, flood, earthquake and war. The artistic resolution for challenging the relationship with climate and nature is observed in architecture and gardens as well as in everyday objects and food.

The studio will look at the Machiya, a narrow multiple family dwelling paradigm that was developed in Kyoto over the centuries. It creates a low rise, dense and consistent fabric in Kyoto’s historic centers. It is used as a spring board to propose a potential prototype to envision a dense yet harmonious and resilient typology for rapidly growing urban centers. In the studio, we will study global issues surrounding rapid urbanization. These include energy consumption, resource use such as water and food, mobility and community cohesion, stability and resilience. This studio will especially look at this prototype from the various narratives we envision in relation to seasonality and duration, phasing and longevity.