Professor Makoto Sei Watanabe held a workshop for the CAAD MAS students at Okayama Prefectural University (OPU) in Japan. Students from both ETH and OPU were divided into two mixed groups. The first group’s task was to design a bridge out of sheets of paper that would be at once structurally stable and beautiful. In commenting on the students models, Professor Watanabe drew parallels with his approach to design, and he explained the vision that underlies many of his projects. The second group, lead by Professor Namba, explored traditional hand-weaving with the aim to produce three-dimensional structures. Here again, the models were used as catalysts for a larger discussion about architectural approaches. A final exercise involved one of Professor Watanabe’s black box programs, in which students seek to iteratively generate a design that is scored highly by the black box, while having to deduce what the evaluation criteria are that their designs are subjected to.
Professor Watanabe held an all-school lecture for the MAS students, and the MAS students briefly presented their recent research. In addition, Professor Watanabe kindly organized a sight-seeing trip of the Okayama region that included visits to the Kibi-shrine, Kurashiki, Ashimori, and the red colored village of Fukiya.
Discussion of students’ first bridge prototypes
Weaving models constructed under Professor Namba’s guidance
Professor Watanabe explains his system
Town of Kurashiki, near Okayama
Village of Fukiya, famous for its red houses