Built Environment: An Alternative Guide to Japan

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Built Environment: An Alternative Guide to Japan
Exhibition on Japanese Architecture
September 1 to November 14, 2020

The Japan Foundation, Manila (JFM) and the Metropolitan Museum of Manila (MET Manila), in cooperation with Embassy of Japan in the Philippines and supported by JT International (Philippines) Inc, present the traveling exhibition Built Environment: An Alternative Guide to Japan, open from September 1 to November 14, 2020 at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila.

The Honshu-Shikoku Bridge Project. Photo by Takuya Omura

Built Environment: An Alternative Guide to Japan presents a rarely considered aspect of Japan, taking the built environment of the various of regions of a country that is geographically diverse and often struck by natural disasters, with the aim of examining how Japanese people have engaged and struggled with the natural environment and how they have carried on and created locality. Featuring photographs, text, and videos designed to mirror the country’s unique archipelagic formation, the exhibition presents a total of 80 buildings, civil-engineering projects, and landscapes from each of Japan’s 47 prefectures, extending from the modern era of the late 19th century to the present.

With this collaboration, both JFM and the MET Manila endeavoured to meet the challenges brought about by  various restrictions due to the pandemic and the government imposed quarantine. Curated by Shunsuke Kurakata (Associate Professor, Osaka City University), Satoshi Hachima (Professor, Chiba Institute of Technology), and Kenjiro Hosaka (Curator, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo), and designed by Hiroshi Kikuchi Architects, the physical exhibition itself was intentionally crafted to fluidly represent the geographical aspect of Japan. However, the museum remains closed to the public until the lifting of quarantine.

Nevertheless, we still wanted to give audiences the unique experience of the Built Environment exhibition, even in an online setting. Aside from the virtual gallery hosted at the MET Manila website, we also shot an Exhibition Tour Video that showcases Built Environment as it is meant to be seen in person.

Together with the exhibition opening, we conducted the webinar Our Built Environments: Withstanding Disaster and Responsive Design on both Zoom and Facebook Live featuring the exhibition curator Prof. Kurakata Shunsuke (Osaka City University) and speakers Arch. Kurokawa Sho (CEO, Sho Kurokawa Architects Co. Ltd.), Arch. Jo Miranda (Chairman, United Architects of the Philippines – Emergency Architects), and Engr. Lorenna Hernandez (Tao-Pilipinas) and moderated by Arch. Emmanuel Minana. With 541 Peak viewers in Facebook and 289 audiences in Zoom from all over the Philippines and abroad,  the webinar showed an invigorating and educational exchange between Japanese and Filipino architects and an engineer as they shared their projects in disaster-response and post-calamity contexts, and the environmental conditions which factor in their practice. 

Together with the curator, they discussed and reflected on the role of architecture and design in the built environments of Japan and the Philippines, and also answered questions from the live online audience, mostly consisting of architecture students and professionals in the country.

For those who missed the live event, the architecture webinar is also available on Youtube below:

The Japan Foundation, Manila

The Japan Foundation, Manila

Suki is a magazine published by the Japan Foundation, Manila featuring articles on arts, culture, and educational exchange between Japan and the Philippines.
The Japan Foundation, Manila

The Japan Foundation, Manila

Suki is a magazine published by the Japan Foundation, Manila featuring articles on arts, culture, and educational exchange between Japan and the Philippines.