Past Program

Japan: Contemporary Works and Their Execution

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.

At-A-Glance

What
Wintersession Travel Course
Where
  • Kyoto, Japan
  • Naoshima, Japan
When
Winter 2018

Course Dates: Jan 2, 2018 — Feb 6, 2018

Who
Open to RISD students, Brown University students
Faculty
Academic Credits
6
Department
  • Architecture
  • Ceramics
Course Numbers
  • ARCH-1505
  • CER-1505-01
Cost
$3500

Includes accommodation, field trips, local transportation, group dinners + some meals, museum entrances, health and travel insurance.

Full Course Description

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.

Program Details

Wintersession Travel Courses are open to all RISD + Brown University students. To apply for a Wintersession Travel Course, you must:

  • attend an infosession with faculty (general or course-specific)
  • have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 at the time of application (Note: Students seeking exception to this academic policy should contact the Registrar at registrar@risd.edu with any questions.)
  • be in good standing in terms of conduct and finances
  • Open to sophomore and above; Course is not open to first year students.
  • Brown University students are eligible to apply, but priority will be given to RISD students.
Per Student Financial Service requirements, students who plan to travel on school-sponsored trips must first pay their student account in full. Students with an account balance are ineligible for travel and may forfeit any funds already used to book travel arrangements. Contact Student Financial Services at sfs@risd.edu with any questions.

Co-Requisite Courses

This is a co-requisite course. Students must plan and register for ARCH-1505 and CER-1505. Students will receive 6 studio credits.

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