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Invitation to Ex-Noguchi Room: Preservation and Utilization of Cultural Properties in Universities

Learn how to preserve, restore and utilize cultural properties in universities—a case study from Keio University, Tokyo.

Invitation to Ex-Noguchi Room: Preservation and Utilization of Cultural Properties in Universities

Cultural properties and art resources can be found in a variety of places, not just museums and galleries. Universities are one of these places. Many universities have their own art resources, but they are often not recognized as valuable and left under-utilized or not utilized at all. What is the situation regarding cultural properties in your university or school?

In this course, we will examine how to bring attention to cultural properties in a university, preserve and utilize them. The course focuses on the ‘Ex-Noguchi Room’ as a case study, which is a cultural property of Keio University in Tokyo. The space and what its contents are no longer in thier original state due to the partial reconstruction.

This course is made possible and supported by the lsamu Noguchi Foundation and Garden Museum and The lsamu Noguchi Foundation of Japan, Inc.

※このコースは日本語版もございます。
The Japanese version of this course is available.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 5 seconds We live surrounded not only by works of art, but also by monuments, architecture, and other cultural properties. These should have cultural and historical value, but, for a variety of reasons, it’s not unusual for them to be destroyed. I’m Yohko Watanabe from Keio University Art Center (KUAC). In this course, we discuss the preservation and inheritance of cultural properties by examining a concrete example. At the Art Center, we preserve and restore Keio University’s cultural properties. These activities are essential for the inheritance and continuation of cultural properties. In addition, there is also a need to promote and share the value contained within cultural properties. No matter how a cultural property is valuable, it is difficult for it to be preserved without these activities.

Skip to 1 minute and 4 seconds We will use this space where I am standing, formerly known as the “Noguchi Room”, as an example, Mr. Niikura and Ms. Kirishima will introduce you to its history and activities involved with it. The Noguchi Room was a common room in a professor’s office building on the Mita Campus of Keio University in the heart of Tokyo. This room was a collaboration between the sculptor Isamu Noguchi and the architect Yoshiro Taniguchi. It was spatial art achieved close interrelationships between architecture, sculpture, and a garden. However, this space with high artistic value was dismantled. The original concept was a beautiful unity, but we were forced to, reluctantly, dismantle it and reconstruct the room in a different state from the viewpoint of Noguchi’s concept.

Skip to 2 minutes and 6 seconds The space formerly known as the Noguchi Room is no longer in its original state, but furniture and interior design by Isamu Noguchi still exist in their original form, and their artistic value has not been lost. So, what is the best use of this current architectural space, now known as the “Ex-“Noguchi Room? Can we actively use it, and contribute to education? The example you will see in this course should be good intellectual stimulation for those considering how to increase the visibility of cultural properties in the context of a university, while preserving and utilizing architectural cultural properties. Let’s trace the history of the Noguchi Room, to find university role in cultural property preservation and use.

What topics will you cover?

This course will introduce the cultural properties at Keio University’s Mita Campus in Tokyo and trace the background of the creation of ‘Noguchi Room,’ which was a common room designed through a collaboration between the sculptor lsamu Noguchi (1904-88) and the architect Yoshiro Taniguchi (1904-79).

This course will draw attention to the particularities of cultural properties in universities through the example of the partial relocation of Noguchi Room (now we call it ‘Ex-Noguchi Room’ after the relocation), an incident that resulted from a lack of concern of cultural properties on campus.

This course will provide an opportunity to reflect on how to preserve the cultural properties in a university, showing the actual example of Ex-Noguchi Room, such as the conservation efforts being by university staff and conservators.

This course will serve as a practical guideline for using cultural properties. It would be useful for those who hope to utilize the resources in universities and strike a balance between utilization and preservation.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explore the cultural properties in Keio University Mita campus in Tokyo.
  • Discuss how to preserve the cultural properties in universities
  • Reflect on how to make good use of the cultural properties in universities and around us.
  • Reference a practical guideline for using cultural properties.
  • Explain the background and history of the Ex- Noguchi Room.
  • Summarise and demonstrate the regulations for using the Ex-Noguchi Room.
  • Develop the skill and knowledge to deal with cultural properties, especially those relating to architecture.

Who is the course for?

This course is for those who are interested in the cultural properties, historical architecture in universities and the presentation therewith to the public. It will be of particular interest to curators, administrators of old architecture, or those who hope to utilize the resources in universities and create a balance of preservation and utilization. This course is especially recommended for those who hope to utilize Keio University’s Ex-Noguchi Room.

Who will you learn with?

Formerly a curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, I’m a professor and curator at the Keio University Art Center. I head the “Exploring Japanese Avant-garde Art Through Butoh Dance” course.

I’m a curator of Keio University Art Center and one of the educators of the “Invitation to Ex-Noguchi Room”. My speciality is art history, especially about modern architecture and Italian Renaissance.

Formerly an assistant curator at the University Art Museum, Tokyo University of the Art, I’m a curator at the Keio University Art Center and an educator of the “Invitation to Ex-Noguchi Room “ course.

Who developed the course?

Keio University

Keio University is Japan’s first modern institution of higher learning, and since 1858 has established itself as a leader in Japan through its continued commitment to education, research and medicine.

  • Established1858
  • LocationTokyo, Japan
  • World rankingTop 200Source: QS World University Rankings 2021

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