We renovated this school building as part of the transformation of Nihon Geijutsu Gakuen’s Koiwa Campus into MIICA (Multiple, Innovative, Initiative, Creative, Attractive) high school for the arts in Tokyo.
The power of the school’s slogan, “Be an instigator,” and the image of students challenging one another inspired our concept for the space as a place where abilities intermingle.
We imagined students aware of each another even when they weren’t in conversation, inspiring each other at every turn, co-creating and innovating. As we let these images guide our planning of the space, we sensed that we needed a design that manipulated not just surface elements but sensations. Focusing primarily on sight, we adjusted elevations and the placement of windows and doors so as to alter perspectives and guide lines of sight into various spaces. This created an environment in which eyes meet, individuals see what others are doing, abilities intermingle, and students inspire one another.
The school curriculum utilizes a unique “plan-do-check-act” cycle. Our design enables them to direct their own actions based on this cycle and choose environments appropriate to each action. Specifically, aside from classrooms for each grade level, all the rooms in the school are multipurpose spaces tailored to specific actions, such as “output rooms,” “input rooms,” and “sharing rooms.” Students choose the appropriate environment for giving a group presentation, concentrating on research, or having a discussion. The desirable distance between individuals and direction of sight lines are related to specific types of action, and we took this into consideration when designing the interiors.
Instead of demolishing the existing building, we made use of its inherent appeal, avoiding unnecessary decoration in favor of simple finishes. Throughout, the spaces put the focus on the real stars: the students.