SCI-Arc Stages Symposiums in Tokyo and Shanghai

On August 5th, SCI-Arc staged “KINDLING: Tending to an avant-garde in architecture from Tokyo, Los Angeles, and beyond” at Kisho Kurokawa-designed National Art Center in Tokyo, Japan. 

To organize the symposium, SCI-Arc faculty organizers Todd Gannon and John Bohn took as inspiration a famous parable by Reyner Banham. When faced with a pile of sticks, Banham surmised, ancient peoples had two choices: build a shelter or build a fire. The first choice led to traditional architectural construction, the second to the use of energy to actively manipulate environmental conditions. Banham’s two choices provided the impetus for two panels, on “Building,” moderated by SCI-Arc alumnus Yusuke Obuchi (B.Arch ’97), Associate Professor and Founder & Director of T_ADS at the University of Tokyo, , and “Burning,” moderated by Todd Gannon. In addition, Gannon and Bohn imagined a third option when presented a pile of sticks—use them to communicate—which inspired the final panel, titled “Broadcasting,” moderated by Thomas Daniell, Coordinator for the department of Architecture and Design at the University of Saint Joseph in Macau.

The three lively discussions were preceded by opening remarks by SCI-Arc Director Hernan Diaz Alonso and Makoto Shin Watanabe, professor at Hosei University in Tokyo, and were concluded with an illuminating synopsis by the architectural historian Souhei Imamura. Additional participants included SCI-Arc faculty members Liam Young and Joe Day (M.Arch ’9-), SCI-Arc alumni Hitoshi Abe (M.Arch ’89) and Steven Ma (M.Arch ’08), as well as Sota Ichikawa, Norihisa Kawashima, Tom Kovac, Jun Sato, and Keisuke Toyoda. The event was followed by an alumni reception at Coruculum in Roppongi, Tokyo.

The following week, on August 9th, SCI-Arc staged another symposium at its new SCI-Arc Shanghai facility at the XUBERANCE Design Center. The event was convened in the main hall at the Institute of Architecture China (Shanghai, Johnson Architects), just across campus from the SCI-Arc Shanghai space, and introduced by the firm’s director, Mr. Fan. Two topics, “Pedagogy” and “Contemporary Design,” were discussed in two panels which were moderated by SCI-Arc faculty Todd Gannon and Cole Roskam, Assistant Professor at Hong Kong University, respectively. Additional participants included SCI-Arc Director Hernan Diaz Alonso, SCI-Arc Graduate Programs Chair Elena Manferdini, SCI-Arc Shanghai Program Coordinator Steven Ma, and others including Yongqi Lou (Dean College D&I, Tonghji University), Philip P. Yuan (Professor at CAUP, Tongji University), Anderson Lee (Director of HKU Shanghai Center), and David Erdman (Associate Professor/HKU Thesis Chairman). The event was preceded by a review of student work from the SCI-Arc Japan/China Studio and followed by an alumni reception in the SCI-Arc Shanghai facility.