New Old Japan | Contemporary "Giwafu" Design Guidebook

This travel course will visit various Japanese traditional design centers, including architecture, landscape, ceramics, woodworks, textiles, papers, and other products, while exploring the modern and contemporary appropriation of the traditional language. During the explorations, students will make observations and produce drawings depicting their perceived "Japanese form." The drawings will be compiled into a "Giwafu Design Guidebook,” which will inform students’ Giwafu design as a resulting outcome of this course.

At-A-Glance

What
Wintersession Travel Course
Where
  • Kyoto, Japan
  • Uno, Japan
  • Kanazawa, Japan
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Gunma, Japan
When
Winter 2025

Estimated dates—final dates to be announced.

Course Dates: Jan 4, 2025 — Jan 22, 2025

Who
Open to RISD students, Brown University students

Minimum 2.5 GPA required. First year students are not eligible for this course.

Topics
  • Art
  • Design
Faculty
Academic Credits
6
Department
  • Architecture
Cost
$5545

Estimated cost—final cost to be announced.

Includes accommodation, some group meals, field trips, local transportation, museum entrances, health and travel insurance. Airfare is not included.

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About this course

Course Description

What is the appropriate appropriation of cultures?

Pseudo-Western-style architecture, called "Giyofu architecture," superficially resembled Western-style architecture while relying on traditional Japanese techniques in the mid-19th century and disappeared only after a few decades. The reason for this disappearance is that the Japanese started learning Western construction methods and incorporating them into their buildings, which created a hybrid blurring the line between Japanese and Western-style architecture referred to as "Wayo Secchu" architecture.

Cross-cultural hybridization occurs in various design fields, with or without acknowledging the referenced cultures.

This travel course will visit various Japanese traditional design, including architecture, landscape, ceramics, woodworks, textiles, papers, and other products, while exploring the modern and contemporary appropriation of the traditional language. During the explorations, students will make observations and produce drawings depicting their perceived "Japanese form." The drawings will be compiled into a "Giwafu Design Guidebook,” which will inform students’ Giwafu design as a resulting outcome of this course.

"Giwafu" means "pseudo-Japanese-style." -- As long as you use the forms in the Guidebook, it will be somewhat Japanese. Referencing cultures other than your own involves interpretation through the eyes of your own culture, diverging from authenticity; therefore, the guidebook is for "Giwafu" design.

Just as the Japanese carpenters tried to incorporate Western architectural language as they saw it in Giyofu architecture, the students will produce one design incorporating the Japanese formal language as they see it, which would become their "Giwafu" design. Globalization has caused the loss of cultural identities in many parts of the world. This travel course will question a positive reappropriation of cultural
references that can result in exciting and surprising design outcomes.

Apply to a Wintersession Travel Course

The application for Wintersession Travel Courses 2024 is now closed.

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Apply to a Wintersession Travel Course

The application for Wintersession Travel Courses 2024 is now closed.

View details

More Info

Application + Registration

The entire application process will be completed using an online application portal. You will be able to upload, request and submit all required documents there. Apply to a Wintersession Travel Course

RISD Students

Unless otherwise noted on the course page, all Wintersession Travel Courses are open to students in any year of study. Please check the course pages on this website carefully to learn about any restrictions specific to your chosen travel course.

GPA Requirement: Exception to Academic Policy

If your current cumulative GPA is 2.5 or above, you are eligible for registration. RISD students seeking an exception to the GPA requirement academic policy should follow the instructions set by the Registrars’ Office.

Brown University Students

If you are a Brown University student with a GPA of 2.5 and up, you are eligible to apply. Admission for Wintersession Travel Courses is highly selective and preference will be given to RISD students. Please read carefully through the application materials and steps above to make sure you are preparing your application to the best of your ability.

As such, all students are advised not to purchase flights for participation in Wintersession Travel Courses until the travel is confirmed, which happens no later than one week after the final Wintersession Travel Course payment period.

In cases where Wintersession Travel Courses do not reach minimum capacity, the course may be cancelled after the last day of Wintersession Travel Course registration period. In case of cancellation, all payments will be refunded in full. Any cost incurred for travel reservations in such situations is the participant’s sole responsibility.

It is not possible for a student to drop a Wintersession Travel Course via the standard Add/Drop process after it has commenced. In the case of unforeseen and extenuating circumstances (and only after students have spoken with the faculty lead and RISD Global for approval to withdraw from the program), students should be aware that no refund will be issued.

RISD Wintersession Travel Courses follow the RISD withdrawal policy for off-campus global learning programs

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1:1 Advising Session

Have questions? The RISD Global team is available to meet for a 1:1 advising session. We can give you more information about your study options, help you figure out which program makes sense for you, and assist you with the application process.

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