• Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Japanese(JP)English (United Kingdom)

"World Students Rethink Nihonbashi" AIAC International Architecture Design Studio 2013 Exhibition

Last year, Keio University joined the AIAC group and also hosted the event. Some 120 architecture students and professors took up the task of envisioning an alternative future for Nihonbashi, an area with one of the most important urban histories in Japan. Stationed in Nihonbashi for nearly a week the group took in lectures and visited the area around the site as they developed their first impressions of the project. After a final gathering to share their ideas as a single group, the students and the professors returned to their home countries to develop their ideas further, and finally presented their work in a competition held in Paris, in September of 2013.

This exhibition will display all 37 works presented at the Paris competition. We will also hold a talk event on 29th March, where Keio faculty involved in the AIAC discussing the contents of this years AIAC.

Date: 29th-30th March, 2014 (10:00-18:30)
Venue: Nihonbashi Mitsui Tower, 11F Harappa Nihonbashi. Nihonbashi Muromachi 2-1-1, Chuo-ku, Tokyo

Talk event
Date: 29th March, 2014 (13:30-14:30)
Content: Faculties from Keio University will discuss how did the architecture school students from Universities outside of Japan thought about the future for Nihonbashi.

website top image01



This year the AIAC (L'Atelier International de L'Architecture Construite) is focusing on a site in Nihonbashi, Tokyo, bringing together close to a hundred students from 8 universities around the world, to take on a challenging architectural problem unique to the city.  An award will be given to the best project at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris in September, and an exhibition will be made in Tokyo at the end of the year to showcase the work.



In 19th century Tokyo (when it was still called Edo) the community of Nihonbashi was the financial center of a growing megalopolis. Literally translated as “Japan Bridge”, the famous crossing that gave the area its name was also the starting point for measuring all of the roads in japan, making it not only the business center of the country but a serious symbol for an expanding capital city.  Ironically the bridge itself was covered by an elevated superhighway in 1964 to modernize the city and to service the Olympic Games, creating the modern vision of Japan where non sequiturs are standard fair and where history is less important than the present.  That approach to urbanity notwithstanding, the area has managed to keep some of its original character.  Sitting within walking distance of the Imperial Palace and Tokyo Station it contains a mix of homes business and commerce and remains a center especially for economic trade, as the home to Tokyo Stock Exchange. Many of the shops and stores in the area have a particularly long history and represent an important cultural lineage for the city. The area is being redeveloped substantially and there is a recognized need to rethink the shape the city should take into the future, including the by now standard recognition of sustainability, but also a very real concern that this low-lying coastal city be resilient in the face of disaster. The redevelopment is aimed explicitly at attracting a global populace and is part of a bid to host the 2020 Olympics. With this background there is an implicit opportunity to adopt ambitious environmental and social goals that move well past improved energy and resource use and include a response to potential earthquakes and other challenges.  The area is ripe for sophisticated architecture that challenges the status quo for the sake of more sustainable and resilient future.


Studio Schedule

  March 5, 2013            Preliminary studio guidelines available

  April 11-15, 2013        Field survey and workshop in Tokyo, Japan

  September, 2013       Work shop in Paris, France

                                     Final studio critic and award ceremony at UNESCO Headquarters

  December, 2013        Exhibition of studio works at Tokyo JAPAN (to be confirmed)


Design Area 

The area for this years studio is in the Nihonbashi Muromachi 1-chome Area (the clear area in the image below). Participants are invited to propose an urban transformation such as the creation of an open space or relocation of a street in order to create a specific site for the architectural project, especially with regards to the proposed dismantling of the metropolitan expressway above Nihonbashi River.

nihonbashi street03 From Nihonbashi bridge

nihonbashi street02 Nihonbashi


Participating Universities 

Ecole Nationale Superieure D'Architecture DE PARIS La Vilette (France)

Hanyang University (Korea),

Harbin Institute of technology (China)

Gyeonssang National University (Korea)

Università IUAV di Venezia. (Italy)

Keio University (Japan)

TsingHua University (China)

Syenyang University (China)

 Local organizers @ Keio university

Yasushi Ikeda, Professor Keio University

Hiroto Kobayashi, Professor Keio University

William Galloway, Project Assistant Professor Keio University


With support from


FORUM8 co. ltd.