Keio University Art Center (KUAC) Exhibition: Art Archive XXIII "Fumihiko Maki and Keio University II Designing the Between: SFC as Group Form"
December 5, 2022
The Keio University Art Center (KUAC), located on the Mita Campus, oversees several archives, including those of Tatsumi Hijikata and Shuzo Takiguchi, while holding regular exhibitions to present research outcomes using the archival materials, as well as exhibitions of contemporary art, three to four times annually.
KUAC is currently hosting the exhibition Fumihiko Maki and Keio University Ⅱ Designing the Between: SFC as Group Form, which will run through Friday, December 16. The exhibition focuses on the group of buildings on Shonan Fujisawa Campus (SFC) designed by world-renowned architect Fumihiko Maki. After studying at Keio University and the University of Tokyo, Maki moved to the United States, where he reflected extensively on how to design groups of buildings. Maki refers to the whole which is composed of multiple related structures, as a "Collective Form," a stance resonating with the theories of urbanism, and one which is preoccupied with the entire environment in which human beings live.
The systematic arrangement of the group of buildings which make up SFC emerged on a hilltop based on the compositional principle of "Group Form," whereby buildings with similar characteristics are loosely connected to create an organic whole. Here, the buildings are imbued with their collective character while taking into account the pragmatic needs of Keio University, which had sought to create a campus where cutting-edge education in the information sciences would be carried out.
The exhibition establishes four key phrases to help to unlock the precepts of Maki’s conceptions, as embedded in his design of the SFC Campus, namely: "Group Form," "Vista and Landscape," "Open Space," and "City and Pastoral Landscape." As the title suggests, this exhibition will introduce how it is the spaces created by the interrelationships between the buildings, rather than the individual buildings themselves, which were in fact determined by Maki at the outset. In other words, Maki's primary consideration was the kinds of spaces he wished to create "between" the buildings, and he would then arrange the structures methodically to ensure they would be appropriate to those spaces. These spaces, both large and small, are scattered throughout the SFC campus to provide the foundation for an adaptable campus that allows for a diverse range of student activities and functions.
Like Mita and Hiyoshi, SFC is a "hilltop" campus, with Fumihiko Maki in this sense seeing it as congruent with the "identity" of Keio University’s campuses. In fact, the scale of the buildings and the open spaces within SFC’s characteristic loop road were aligned to those of Mita Campus. It is fascinating to note that Maki kept Mita Campus in mind, not only in terms of aesthetic concerns, in carrying on the lineage of Keio campuses, but also in terms of pragmatic considerations, in creating a campus where students could spend their time in comfort while concentrating on their studies.
At the exhibition, visitors can view displays exploring the key words, photographs of the countless architectural "between" spaces at SFC, alongside blueprints of the buildings, site, and greening plans for places adjacent to these spaces. A video walkthrough of the campus can also be viewed, which will allow visitors to get a feel for the actual spaces. We encourage anyone interested to come along and experience the spaces of SFC at this exhibition.