Architecture and Environmental Design

This department encompasses everything from individual buildings and spaces to the streetscapes, cities and the landscapes that surround them. In any consideration of 21st century lifestyle, there must be a consideration of how people live in and co-exist with the environment. The city of Yamagata, with its natural environment and rich cultural history along with its urban scale, provides a perfect locale for the study of these subjects. From projects to renovate old storehouses to planning local ecological events, this department will foster hands-on projects that link students with the local region. Through various joint activities with the residents of the area, students will practically become involved in architecture, city planning and landscape formation. Coursework focuses on practical training, ranging from fundamental knowledge and techniques such as planning and design, to a stepped approach that ends with the presentation of finished architecture. Also, a range of specialized study possibilities exist in this department, including an exchange student program with Denmark’s Royal Academy of Art.

Architectural Design

Architectural design refers to the fundamental design that is closest to our lives, in the creation of the places in which we live and work. From planning and design to final provision of completed work, the entire architectural design process will be studied in a staged approach. First projects include basic interior settings and general residential structures. As students progress, they will develop designs for a variety of architectural scales and purposes, from primary schools to museums and communal housing projects. Some students have planned galleries in their seminars and actually constructed them. In addition, students will study such contemporary issues as environmental concerns and priorities.

Landscape Design

Landscape design, as its name implies, involves designing the landscape around us. Resolving the issues related to the environment, society, and people’s lives, the landscape designer’s job is to create a beautiful space and an environment best suited to its location and surroundings. From parks to tree-lined pedestrian paths along rivers, all are landscapes that must be designed. The basis for such design lies in a comprehensive understanding of the nature, history, culture, society and physical nature of a place, and an appropriate arrangement of the living relationship between nature and people. This filed will focus on this type of landscape design as it teaches students in practical terms how best to utilize and evoke the natural forms of gardens, parks, farms, villages, rivers and man-made mounds.

Renovation

This refers to the renovation of existing structures, revitalizing them as contemporary, newly fascinating spaces. In Japan, the trend has been to demolish an older structure and replace it with a new one. But today, focus has turned to renovation as a means of creating new townscapes and living spaces. The challenge of such work is how to create a space suitable for human life. Students will work together to renovate a historic storehouse in Yamagata City; this Storehouse “Kura” Project will create new spaces such as fashionable cafes and galleries.

Sustainable Design

Sustainable design entails protecting the global environment, living in harmony with nature, and creating a sustainable future for human habitation. Today we live in an age in which we all must bear these concepts in mind. Indeed, we must not only consider these issues, but also prepare for issues that will emerge in the future. Students will learn new ways of sustainable living that employ natural cycles and natural energy.
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