By Asia Education Review Team , Friday, 28 June 2024

University of East London Hosts Inspiring Four-Day Architecture Workshop in Japan

  • The Department of Architecture and Physical Design at the University of East London (UEL) recently organized a four-day workshop in Osaka, Japan. Titled 'Architectural Intuition', the event aimed to foster creativity among students and facilitate meaningful connections between academics, alumni, and prospective students.

    Hosted by UEL Senior Lecturers Michele Roelofsma and Toshiya Kogawa, it saw 42 architectural models and hand-drawn observation studies produced. Mr. Roelofsma was impressed by the quality of the models, with one in particular gaining his attention. He said, “The group selected a spatially interesting 1-tatami-size curved plywood model to be enlarged to a 9-tatami-mat size, so everyone could enter the world of the smaller piece and feel the space from the inside. It was certainly a spatial experience not to be forgotten”.

    The workshop was attended by 21 students from diverse disciplines, including architecture, urbanism, landscape, and product design. These students hailed from institutions such as the University of Fukuoka, Osaka Designer’s College, Kobe Design University, and Tohoku Institute of Technology. Additionally, five alumni from UEL provided support to the participants throughout the workshop.

    Haruna Mabuchi, a student from Osaka Designer’s College, highlighted the valuable support she received from UEL academics and alumni and the key connections she made. She said, “I learned a lot from Michelle Roelofsma and Toshiya Kogawa, of course, but also from the alumni who assisted me and the students who participated. Afterwards, we created a LINE group and shared photos and impressions among the participants. I feel that these relationships will become important in my life”.

    The workshop encouraged creativity and practical learning through a range of challenging activities. These included architectural exercises using cardboard boxes, 1:1 body mapping, shaping forms with bent ply sheets, crafting landscapes through plaster casting, and building a small room.

    Reflecting on the workshop, Mr. Kogawa emphasized the future opportunities it will bring for both the Japanese students and UEL. He said, "UEL architecture has established a strong relationship with Japan since the mid-90s, and many UEL alumni have developed successful careers in Japan. This workshop could not have been organized without their support. Re-establishing corroborative relationships with the alumni will enhance UEL’s presence in Japan and provide many exciting opportunities for UEL students”. Apart from the workshop itself, the academics also visited Tama Art University and Meiji University to explore potential collaboration opportunities for students studying architecture and physical design.