Video featuring our students working alongside world famous architect Kazuyo Sejima, Pritzker Laurette:
Remote Aging Communities: How to age / live gracefully, and sustainably focused on the inhabitants and visitors to Inujima and how to integrate these aspects together. The trip was closely linked to a 14-week design studio centered on asking about how architecture can support community and engagement specifically on the island of Inujima. This project was used as a contained place to think about ageing hopefully shedding light on the topic which would be relevant more globally including in Singapore which has similar demographic issues as Japan.
Inujima island represents an acute case of ageing in-place with all of the permanent residents being elderly, with the workers for the art installations coming from the mainland every day. Inujima originally housing one thousand five hundred inhabitants at its peak as a quarry and copper refinery has now less than 50 so there are questions not only about what to do with the buildings and community as it contracts, but also how to revive it.
The trip as well as visiting the island undertook more community work with students helping restore and renovate existing buildings. They also undertook detailed study into the building fabric of the island marking out old and abandoned buildings, holding interviews with residents to understand their personal and communal needs and desires, as well as living in and experiencing the island for a short while. This included eating locally made Oden dinners and bento.
With this intensive study of the islands they then retuned back to Singapore and undertook their design projects. These involved developing proposals aimed at renewing interest in the islands whilst critically engaging and supporting the local population. The 14 students in the studio explored separately different potential interventions, such as basing recuperative care homes for locals and visiting patients to promote recovery through making use of the calming nature of the site. In another instance, students explored using the isolation and abundance of buildings as commodities for art schools and residencies which would be able to not only enliven local communities but also provide demand for their services. More focused projects investigated the elderly exercise supporting activity of gardening, developing sophisticated ‘pods’ as an architectural intervention to promote healthy lifestyles and sustainable farming.