The CSD Studio joins the following subjects: Technological and Environmental Design (Luca Maria Francesco Fabris) and Building Physics - Energy Design (Rajendra Singh Adhikari).
CSD Studio, held in English language, is carried out in parallel to a Studio Project course held by prof. Susumu Uno and prof. Nina Funahashi at the Department of Architecture of Daido University (Nagoya, Japan). Since 2007, the two Studio Project classes have been contributing in an Italian-Japanese didactic project titled “C.Scape” (where “C” means Community, Constructions and Communication).
C.SCAPE 19 – A new learning place for Shirakawa-cho, Gifu Prefecture, Japan.
This year the C.Scape studio project faces the topic of architectural and environmental design in the historical, architectural, multi-layered urban fabric of Shirakawa-cho (Gifu Prefecture, Japan – “cho” means “village”), introducing a reflection on value, importance, problems, and challenges in adding new architecture in a very complex and stunning historical landscape, that will be the background for a contemporary architectural project able to merge green utopias with actually green-architecture prototypes, creating a new kind of community based on the learning experience.
Shirakawa-cho is located in the southern part of Gifu Prefecture, about one hour and half from Nagoya by car. There are five rivers in the town, Hidagawa, Samigawa, Shirakawa, Kurokawa and Akagawa, and it’s popular as a village rich of water source, as well for forests and agriculture: well know are the cultivations of "Tohno Hinoki" (a kind of cypress used as construction timber) and of green tea. "Shirakawa Tea" is famous in all Japan.
While aging population combined with the diminishing number of children is proceeding in all Japan, young people in Shirakawa-cho leave their hometown when they enter further education or get works in the suburbs. Chronic outflow of young populations causes lack of human resources in the village and increases the number of vacant houses and unused agricultural lands. Although even if there are a lot of jobs dealing with the rural economy in Shirakawa-cho, these are not so attractive to young people and don't make young generations come back to their hometown.
Nowadays there are five elementary schools and three junior high schools in Shirakawa-cho, but there are no more high schools. Shirakawa senior high school was closed in 2009, so as soon as children graduate from junior high school, they must choose between long distance commutation or rooming in a dormitory. In Sirakawa-cho, the population deceleration is accelerating: The number of deaths exceeds the number of births (natural reductions), and people moving out exceed moving in (population reduction society). Since the number of households decreases with population outflow and aging society, there are a lot of vacant houses and unused agricultural lands. As many as 451 vacant houses are found in a survey research done in 2014, and 23 of them are with collapse walls or roofs risk. The number of unused agricultural lands increases with the increase of vacant houses.
By the way, as it’s happening in Italy now, there are also in Japan some people who wants to migrate to go farming in the mountain villages, Shirakawa-cho is providing a support system for new farmers. New farmers, living in the area and cultivating the unused agricultural lands, may play a role in livening up the village and preserve the historical landscapes. The village thanks to a proper design could become an area to live safely for both migrants and existing residents.
The CSDStudio project site is between Shirakawa River and Shirakawa Road. As about 50% of this site is done by vacant houses, it is a urgent agenda. The village needs a revitalization process to be started.
There is no more a high school in this town. Introduce a better educational environment may stop the outflow of young people and enhance the potential to decrease the number of vacant houses.
Moreover, students can design facilities that can create employment for young generations and promote settlement of young population. Places left by the vacant houses may be though as resources, to create a new area where existing residents and migrants can coexist.
CSD Studio students will realize the new architectures to revitalize the mountain village as wooden structures (in particular using the 'Tohno Hinoki’ cypress timber from Shirakawa-cho), using reinforced‐ concrete and steel frame structures to strengthen the structure.
CSD Studio students are requested, according to the common brief, to study and develop proposals in a way in which environment and sustainable features have to be properly considered.
In the within of Technological and Environmental Designsubject students are called to respond to the relationships between green-built and light-massive as characterizing elements of the technological constructive nodes and their architectonical design, with attention to some sustainable features as solar gain, air circulation, cycle and recycle of the water, climate change, recovery and energetic saving and use of high innovative value building materials. The students will be guided in the planning of built structures, throughout the application of documents and relative drawings from the concept to the preliminary, definitive and executive design.
The activity of the CSD Studio is focusing also on Building Physics - Energy Design subject, with the aim to provide students method and tools able to support the design of low carbon communities in the framework of urban regeneration processes. The concepts and advanced design tools will be introduced for the development of an environmental conscious approach in the building energy design (envelope and technical systems). Special emphasis will be given on the rational use of energy and the use of low energy technologies and renewable energy sources in the design process.
CSD Studio focuses in merging the knowledge of these two subjects in a unique project where the ‘aesthetical and design matters’ are developed together and in relation with the technical, energetic and structural features. In fact, the proposed buildings should properly satisfy the expected requirements and performances. In few words: even if buildings are complex, they are a whole, and we have to obtain the desired and required performances operating through knowledge and design.
Milanese and Japanese students will work on the same topic in a virtual workshop and will have the opportunity to interact on-line between them and with the teaching staff thanks to the BEEP multimedia platform (beep.metid.polimi.it) released by Centro METID of the Politecnico di Milano. Didactic materials will be available via the web and the students will have to publish constantly their work progresses to make them visible to the others (teachers and students).
Students are invited to guarantee the maximum of interaction during all the in-room compulsory activities of the CSD Studio (lectures, discussions and tutored design and research activities).
More literature will be suggested during the lectures