Reimagining Inujima 

Instructor/ Kazuyo Sejima (SANAA)  
Study Abroad/ Universität für angewandte Kunst , Wien

Partners: Niklas Knap and Nicolas Gold

This project was shown in the 2016 Venice Biennale

Vernacular Synergies  attempts to address the rapid depopulation of rural  Japan looking at the specfic conditions on the Island of Inujima.  

The Island of Inujima was an industrial center in the early 1900s, and as the economy shifted, younger generations moved to the cities. Characteristic of Japan's consolidation from rural to urban the parents and grandparents remain. Consequentially becoming under-serviced—making access to health care and dignified end-of-life care facilities challenging to find.

The proposed scheme introduces a hospice and care facility that adapts the vernacular conditions on the island; its identity transforms into a diverse community that reinvents the hospice typology through extroverting the program. It thereby answers to the lack of individuality and diversity found in the Japanese care system of today.

The urban strategy comprises of three steps: the function distribution that spreads the program across the entire island. This network adaptation adapts the hospice to the island's vernacular order and clusters the existing buildings according to proximity and size. The patterns of inhabitation found on the island help logically locate the program; the public functions are located at the end of roads as a destination, while the living units adapt the existing domestic architecture of the island to the needs of the patients. Each cluster was evaluated and programmed with a series of 'in-between spaces' according to their unique spatial relationships to define a central gathering space. A ground condition to meet the physical disabilities of the residents' frames each cluster. A roof condition to protect the residents from the weather also serves to unite the spaces.