Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) professor Aki Ishida and her students visited Stuyvesant architecture group, StuyArch, on Friday, March 16, in order to assist with and critique the members’ designs for a school in Japan.
StuyArch focuses on creating designs for an annual design project mentored by architects and engineers. For the past two years, the group has focused on the reconstruction of schools in areas around the world devastated by natural disasters. Last year, the architecture group worked on a school design for Haiti. Currently, the group is working to design a school campus for the region around Sendai, Japan.
“Right now each of us is working on our individual building. One person is working on the cafeteria, one person is working on the library and so on. I’m working on an auditorium. Later, we might combine our designs so that they are part of one building, though, we’re still not sure about that now,” junior Jenni Xu said.
According to the StuyResearch Web site, StuyArch is designing the concept of a school campus in cooperation with other engineers and architects and is trying to build in as many creative solutions to the challenges presented by the situation as possible.
In total, 17 Virginia Tech students were present during the visit in which members of StuyArch displayed their building designs.
“[The visit] was interesting. The students told us what they liked about our designs, what they didn’t like and what we could improve on. For example, they told us how it was necessary to incorporate lighting in our buildings,” junior Greeny Wong said.
The new boarding school will serve 5000 students in the Sendai metropolitan area. The school will also incorporate designs that will serve the local community that was affected by the earthquake.
“Critical evaluation of architectural projects is important to architects,” StuyArch advisor and biology teacher Dr. Jonathan Gastel said. Dr. Gastel helped organize the event with Aki Ishida and with the help of the Japan Society. According to its website, the Japan Society “is the leading U.S. organization committed to deepening mutual understanding between the United States and Japan in a global context.”
Ishida also runs an architectural program for high school students during the summer at Columbia University. During that time, she will return to Stuyvesant and provide further critiques for the StuyArch designs.