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Architecture Open Day at the campus

Architecture Open Day at the campus
© Keio University

In this Step, we present an architecture tour event on the Mita Campus of Keio University. By lengthening the participation time frame and using innovative handouts, we strive for an architectural tour event different from a typical guided tour. Here we present an overview of this event, which gives a wide range of people from both inside and outside the university a chance to experience the university’s architecture.

At the Keio University Art Center, we regard on-campus buildings as artistic resources, and to promote their use, we conduct building-related research and awareness-raising. As part of our awareness-raising, we have held the ‘Architecture Promenade’ at the Mita Campus of Keio University—Architecture Open Days every year since 2015. At this event, we grant access to architecture on campus which is not normally open to the public. This gives students and faculty a chance to improve their architectural literacy, and helps the local community and ordinary people become more aware of the university’s architecture.

The on-campus buildings opened to the public are: the Enzetsu-kan, Ex-Noguchi Room, Jukukan-kyoku (Keio Corporate Administration), Old Library, First School Building, Keio University Library (New Library), and the Graduate School Building. On the day of the tour, some buildings, such as offices and classrooms, are in use, so people on the tour can only look at the outsides of those buildings.

At the Art Center, we have previously carried out on-campus architecture tours using a guided tour approach. With that format, the number of participants is limited. Therefore, a system where participants apply beforehand is used, and in almost all cases, only people with an interest in architecture apply. If people don’t have an active interest, the application process becomes a hurdle, and they often forgo participation. We wanted people with a casual interest to take the tour, so we developed a program where people can freely tour buildings at their own pace within a fairly wide range of days and times. We prepared sheets with photos and commentary on each building, a Mita Campus Architecture Map showing buildings and works of art on the university grounds, and an app enabling downloading of commentary.

To gauge the reaction of participants more closely, the following two questions were asked in a questionnaire.

・Architecture can be an important memory aid for people who have spent (or are spending) time there. What are your thoughts on that point?
・What are your views on preservation and restoration of architecture that will otherwise be lost?

About 400 people have participated every year since this event was launched. Participants use the map, without being limited by set times, and can be seen responding to the questionnaire. Typical comments include: “By chance, I came to the campus and got caught up in this event,” “I think it’s wonderful to have these architectural spaces at the university,” and “I think architecture is a spatial art that supports people’s spirits.”

This tour is a valuable opportunity to visit on-campus buildings. Free, self-directed participation is encouraged by providing a map with commentary as a guide for participants. Making this a yearly event, and not allowing it to end as a one-off, should be effective for broadening awareness of architectural cultural properties.

Architecture Promenade1 Architecture Promenade2 Architecture Promenade3 Scenes of the Architecture Promenade (Photo: Satoru Inoue) Promenade Map Promenade Map © Keio University Art CenterClick to take a closer look

References

  • Yu Honma, Midori Moriyama, “Architecture Promenade at the Mita Campus of Keio University — Architecture Open Days,” Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A) “General Research on the Use of Art Resources at a University” 2015 Report, University Art Resource Research I, March 2016, pp. 72–80.
  • Yu Honma, Shinsuke Niikura, “Report 1, Opening Up University Architecture: A Moved Room and the Keio Architecture Promenade,” Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A) “General Research on the Use of Art Resources at a University” 2016 Report, University Art Resource Research II, March 2017, pp. 95–98.
  • Yoko Watanabe, Yu Honma, Midori Moriyama, “2017 Activity Report of the Keio University Team,” Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (A) “General Research on the Use of Art Resources at a University” 2017 Report, pp. 46–53.
© Keio University
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Invitation to Ex-Noguchi Room: Preservation and Utilization of Cultural Properties in Universities

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