I’m an architect living in Kunitachi

Michiyo BANDO
President of BAN International Inc., Tokyo

Living in and working at Kunitachi.

Kunitachi is the first place for me to live when I was an art college student in Metropolitan Tokyo. This town is one of the few historical valuable cities, which was born almost 90 years ago to be planned by Yasujiro Tutumi, a prominent business man under the western styled master city-plan.   He has developed Kunitachi city as a leading education district of Tokyo which still restricts any construction of high-rise buildings in the town for now. University St. of the 110m width used to be an airplane runway was placed in the center of the town from the very frontier period, and now, became quite famous for full of Japanese cherry blossom trees in springtime. On the other hand, the area of growing rice and vegitables still remains in south area of the town. I would surely say that you must come and enjoy Kunitachi where I have been inspired by all the time.

Let me tell my few challenges that I've done as an architect.

I was commissioned in a collaborative partnership with city government to redesign several communities suffering from depopulation that is the common issue for all of Japanese society to address as the aged society has grown.   I believe that one of the solutions is an exchange of local food access and urban people. For example, urban people can enjoy local housing in rural area to stay for holidays to see an Art event held by Art colleges. Local people can export the local foods into urban area instead. Actually I have produced some art projects of Iwamuro Event of 2003 and of Ojiya city Event and came to be perfect. What I have valued there is what people in local community want to do for their community and what role I have been expected for it.

Secondly, I would like to introduce one of my artworks. “Wind Valley Kindergarten, 風の谷幼稚園 in Japanese” in Kawasaki city is one of my major works to show my spirit toward my artworks. It was designed of timber structure on the concept of “Winds and the Sun” and completed in 1998. To encourage the breeding of the wind and the light of the sun to feel, I laid out long and multiple used courtyard to pass through and allow both air and light into all the rooms of the kindergarten. The building was built along on the slope which creates a natural theatrical view, so that teachers, children and anyone who come to the kindergarten can enjoy it’s central stage set up in the heart of the kindergarten. Playground adjoined to the stage can be used as audience seating, too. My aim to develop my architectural projects is to fulfill client’s needs with satisfaction and fitness like a T-shirt he/she loves to wear the whole day. I believe this is my responsibility to my artworks.

Lastly, I have managed lots of projects in the northern part of Japan and oversea as well, such as Russia, UAE and Kenya, but recently I became interested in developing Kunitachi, my town. So, I laid out some art objects and interior design for Café Bar in a commercial building of “Sekiya” near JR Kunitachi station. I would make people feel happy and have fresh air in being there. Then, I would be very happy, too.