Keikan Sekkei Tokyo Co. completes Reitaku University landscape design based on Japanese principles of Jinsouboku ni Oyobu
Completed in December 2011 by Keikan Sekkei Toyko Co. Ltd, the newest building at the Reitaku University takes into account all elements of landscape as the ‘interface of man and nature’. The architects took inspiration from the University’s philosophy of ‘Jinsouboku ni Oyobu’, which translates as ‘Affection reaches beyond humans extending even into plants and trees’.
Taking the philosophy into careful consideration Keikan Sekkei’s vision was the creation of an environment that improved both the quality and quantity of campus green space. One which would encourage students to interact daily with the landscape surrounding them, resulting in an understanding and appreciation of nature that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
Established 75 years ago, Reitaku University and its urban forest have evolved together, resulting in a well defined campus set in a mature landscape. Informed by analysis of campus wide open space, a Green Space Zoning Plan was developed based on the concept of ‘Satoyama’, or undeveloped rural nature areas which encourage villagers to maintain contact with the natural environment.
This proposal established a framework, or ‘Skeleton Green’, which organised the various sub-component landscape spaces, termed ‘Infill Greens’. The existing university forest and proposed connecting ecological corridors formed the ‘Skeleton Green’ while flexible spaces such as playgrounds and a golf course, which are capable of changing to accommodate future development, form the ‘Infill Greens’.
The design concept for this project was to create an educational facility that literally shared a single breath with the surrounding forest; architecture and landscape integrated into a single learning environment promoting coexistence through: the preservation of the woods; the creation of the woods; and the protection of the woods.
This project demonstrates a strategy for harmonising new construction in the context of the larger campus plan, maintaining the integrity of the urban forest and ecological corridors while providing opportunities for ‘Infill Greens’ capable of adapting with the changing needs of the students and university.