The population of this city is fundamentally nomadic, commuting in from ‘bedroom’ suburbs to either work or play. The urban landscape is structured around the constant flow of human traffic. In this context, public space and architectural organisation are figured as an economic infrastructure facilitating continuous commercial exchange. The Japanese term Ukiyo or ‘Floating World’ refers the urban lifestyle, especially the pleasure seeking aspects of the country’s Edo era. It was a particularly fruitful period from which emerged now famous art-forms such as sumo, kabuki and geisha culture, all of which were depicted through ukiyo-e woodblock prints.
The studio examined Japan’s contemporary ‘floating world’ of Otaku electronic culture and its urban manifestation in Akihabara, and begin to speculate on design approaches that draw on the underlying urban, economic, infrastructural and cultural systems that organise the city as generative design sources. Accordingly, students will be will be expected to design responses that embrace the fundamental complexity of an environment such as Tokyo.
More broadly, the studio examined emergent design technique, both digital and analogue as a means of operating transient or fluid site conditions. It will introduce students to nomadic or international practice and remote site analysis, with a particular focus on inexplicit and systems based readings of the city. The final project will be for a media ‘replay’ centre and karaoke complex of approximately 4000sqm on a site adjacent to the station in Akihabara.