This summer semester, Woodbury School of Architecture offers its popular Fieldwork Japan studio again. Architecture and interior architecture students have the opportunity to travel to Japan from May 11 to July 7 and work on their studio project together with Japanese students from Kyoto Seika University.
Students will then utilize the Digital Fabrication Lab on the Woodbury University Burbank campus upon their return to produce digital work they developed in Kyoto. Under the guidance of Woodbury University assistant professor Matthew Gillis, adjunct faculty member Donatella Cusma, and associate dean Ingalill Wahlroos-Ritter, students will look at global housing challenges such as growing populations, exorbitant costs, and mass displacement due to conflict and environmental crises, all of which are forcing architects to rethink residential typologies.
Los Angeles and Tokyo provide laboratories for investigating extreme housing conditions. Tokyo residential typologies include shared multi-generation housing, small lot homes, micro-unit buildings, and an extremely depreciable housing market. Los Angeles provides examples of innovative and banal detached single-family homes, granny flats, and homelessness.
Each student will select a housing typology that will act as the site for his or her designed object. Together, the student proposals will create an ‘aggregate city’ of residential objects. The studio seeks to interrogate questions of authenticity, translation of vernacular making methods, and interiority, and apply them to contemporary challenges of shelter.
Matthew Gillis defines the studio goals as follows: “We want students to engage in a cross-cultural, cross-disciplinary study abroad and create artifacts to produce innovative housing propositions that address the following criteria: first, how to translate cultural exchange into cultural production; second, how to reconcile analogue and digital impacts on cultural values; and third, how cultural design criteria can cross scales of construction from cup to city.”