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Students working together in the studio
Students working together in the studio
Photo: Sebastian Aedo

From the 12th to 22nd of October 2016, twenty ESALA (Edinburgh School of Architecture & Landscape Architecture) students and two staff members undertook a 10-day teaching and research exchange to Japan.

The students, from the Master of Architecture programme, began their trip visiting Kindai University, in Hiroshima.  ESALA has an exchange agreement with Kindai University, in which both schools agree to offer the other a short reciprocal educational programme, toward the ends of cultural exchange, and educational and research development.

From the 13th-16th October, under the guidance of Professor Katsuhida Doi, and Professor Shinichi Ogawa, the students visited the city of Hiroshima and the Island of Miyajima, joined by a hundred local undergraduate students. The students then collaborated in conducting a mapping of the city, developing a series of design propositions, and presenting them (in dual language) to a panel of critics.

While in Hiroshima the group - who are currently following a design-studio exploring the architectures of disaster resistance in Japan - received a lecture from Professor Yoshiro Namba, an expert in urban disaster prevention, planning, and fire-science.

After the Hiroshima workshop, the Edinburgh students and staff travelled to Tokyo to conduct fieldwork concerning urban and architectural strategies for disaster prevention in Japan’s capital.

While in Tokyo, M.Arch Programme Director Liam Ross - who leads the exchange and associated studio - met with Professor’s Ai Sekizawa and Yukio Nishida of Tokyo Universities Graduate School of Global Fire Science & Technology, to share material on the history of Tokyo’s urban fire-safety regime. With Ironic providence, the group experienced power-cuts (caused by urban fire), earthquakes, and typhoons, but returned unscathed.