Students at the KSA are putting the final touches on the guidebook before sending the files to print. Compiled over the past three months by our team of ~30 students, this could well be the most comprehensive book of its kind ever prepared for a study-abroad tour at the Knowlton School. The book will be 300 pages when printed, with the 180 individual building pages (each student researched at least five buildings) complemented by the full itinerary, 50 pages of maps, and 30+ pages of history, theory, cultural information, and a glossary and index.
While this might seem like overkill for a two week trip, we will in fact be visiting most of the buildings we've included, where having access to the drawings and relevant project information will not only heighten our appreciation of the space, but will be essential as we discuss the buildings later: we can refer directly to the plans and sections. Having a record of sites visited will be essential when sorting and tagging the thousands of photos this trip will inevitably generate.
The building pages are arranged geographically and chronologically, following our itinerary. While this might not be ideal for future reference, it works well on the tour, as we step page-by-page through the book and check off sights seen. The itinerary-based ordering system has at least one other, unexpected advantage: juxtaposition. One of the pedagogical goals of the course is to illuminate the development of modern and contemporary architectural practice in Japan, to trace the development of style over time, and conceptually tie today's trends to historical and cultural traditions. Luckily, Japan's historical architecture is well-documented, and we can present temple complexes and imperial villas in the same manner as the latest work from SANAA or Kengo Kuma. Through juxtaposition we can begin to tease out the characteristics of contemporary Japanese architecture that speak to issues of identity, nationality, and modernity. I'm looking forward to the discussion.
Thoughts on the M.Arch I program at the Ohio State University, 2005-2009, plus additional work with OSU as a critic and lecturer.