Faculty Interview: Yasushi Ikeda
Field of Study: Architecture, Urban Design
Creating a Richer Lifestyle through Environmental Design
Within the field of environmental design my focus is particularly on architectural and urban design. If we start to think about design, I think it comes down to the ways we express the values we hold in our lives, which makes innovation a function of daily living. That is, a particular design can lead to the creation of a new lifestyle, and innovation is found in that action. At the same time if we think about “environmental” design it should not become a conversation about what we must endure or reduce in our expectations of daily life, but rather look to how we might improve our standard of living while reducing such things as energy use and resource consumption.
My research now focuses on traditional Japanese wooden architecture, and looks to recovering old techniques for use with new, more environmentally conscious materials. This work is called the “Digital Wood Construction Project,” and is defined by the use of computation design to develop precise and intricate structural details that offer non-conventional uses for wood as a material. With this work we have come to understand the while it is important to use wood as a renewable resource, the material in itself is not sufficient to be sustainable. In my research group we aim to use computers to breathe breath new life into wood-based construction techniques.
We are also looking at “Building Information” models to model and simulate entire buildings and to test factors and variables that we previously would have needed to judge by “intuition” and “experience”. Simulating the properties of a building cannot help but provide us with better information and aid in realizing a built environment that differs from what we currently understand and expect an innovative environment to be.
Achieving Environmental Innovation & International Leadership
Students from different fields study in my research group. Our work is entirely open to those with an interest in our efforts as long as there is a commitment to create good and beautiful results.
In discussions about the environment, humanity is often portrayed as the negative part of the equation, but I feel that it is important to also recognize that creating a good and happy life is an essential goal as well, and to do that we may need to think past the surface. While 90% of our students are Japanese, I offer my classes in English to encourage them to be aware of, and to understand the global standard we are held to. I prefer to have classes arranged so that international students can easily join in, and at the same time encourage my students to step outside the campus to seek opportunities to work and study overseas. I expect my students to be innovative and to become leaders at the international level.