University of Minnesota and Tokyo University of Science Students. Photo by Laurie McGinley.

Course Objectives
This course will enable students to:

  1. Experience Japan and many of its cutting-edge architectural works and urban settings.
  2. Collaborate with Japanese architecture and urban design students at a Tokyo-based university.
  3. Adopt a broader understanding of design approaches and attitudes.
  4. Recognize non-western forms of innovation in design process and delivery.
  5. Consider non-western sustainable approaches to making architecture and cities.

Course Topics and Structure

Studio laboratory sessions will be held at the Tokyo University of Science, Noda campus. During the first phase of the trip, students will stay in Tokyo and work with Japanese undergraduate and graduate students to develop a collaborative design project for a final, juried review. This project will consist of architectural analysis, critical interpretation, and design propositions for preserving historic neighborhoods. The project will be situated within particular areas of Tokyo currently undergoing rapid transformation, such as the traditional residential neighborhood of Higashiikebukuro or the old waterfront canals at Tsukuda. Design proposals will seek nimble, adaptive reuse solutions to present challenges of overcrowding, transportation, fire and earthquake safety, and neighborhood identity. These proposals are intended to utilize culturally-sensitive sustainable design approaches, new technologies, and innovative materials. Local tours will also occur during this period, in addition to informal excursions.

The final week will be spent touring other locations throughout Japan, such as Kyoto and Hiroshima, as well as other important sites along the Tokaido corridor. During this tour, students will be immersed in the new megalopolitan condition represented by this linear collection of cities and its wide variety of physical manifestations.

Please see the M-Term page for budget and schedule information. Please also review the information about the assignment and general travel advice.


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