Japanese universities aren’t typically in the housing business. Students at most schools live at home or rent private apartments nearby—dormitories are all but nonexistent. So there was room to experiment when New York–based Studio SUMO was commissioned by its longtime client, Josai University Educational Corp., to build a dorm for international students at its Josai International University campus in Togane, Japan, outside of Tokyo.
The International Center is comprised of a gallery, archive room, and event space in memory of the late Prince Takamado who helped broker the Japan/Korea partnership that hosted the 2002 World Cup. JIU maintains a close relationship with the Takamado family. One enters the building off the campus road through a void in the bar that separates the two programs on the ground level. A louvered surface interspersed with projecting balconies masks exterior walkways that serve the dormitory rooms facing out over the rice fields beyond. Multiple sliding glass doors open onto the walkways, recalling the ‘engawa’ space of traditional Japanese houses. The provision of shared spaces, the walkway, and balcony system expand the compressed living space into the outdoors.
LocationTogane, Chiba Prefecture, Japan