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A Historic Preservation & Cultural Education Initiative -  Nanto City, Japan
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Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is a world-renowned art and design academy in the United States.  
It has extensive experience in leading international cultural exchange programs in Greater Europe, Seoul, Tokyo, Morocco... and many more locations.  The institution equips its students with global viewpoints and pushes the boundary of design to address global, social and cultural challenges.

A design study group from Department of Interior Architecture specializing in Architecture Adaptive Reuse (Master of Design) is invited as the partner in the Inami design-study initiative.  Visiting group will conduct qualitative to quantitative research, deep dive into unique cultural and social aspect of Inami, and propose design interventions to built environment as part of the due diligence;  and to promote good design practice through adaptive reuse.

impact covid19

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic

We are charging ahead (minus the international travel)

RISD and TKTB has been in close communication since the beginning of the year in planning travel budget and itinerary.  When the outbreak was first announced in China, no one predicted the speed of the spread will impact global travel, but we watched the situation closely.   By the end of February, Professor Rudorf and I was still discussing the possibility to make the US-Japan travel happen in May and have the designers present their final work in Japan. A week later, global travel should no longer be recommended any more.  Not only would this put travelers' health at risk, we should also take responsibility in minimizing any chance of cross-country spread. 

Nonetheless, RISD's Design Studio started.  9 young talents kicked-off design research on the very little-known rural town, as well as Japan history and culture.  

On March 15, along with many other universities in the States, RISD announced its closure of campus and transitioning to remote learning.   Some students are currently dealing with financial and relocation challenges, while faculties are resetting coursework, schedules and transitioning to digital meeting platform.  

Teaching will resume on March 30.  

One thing for sure, artists and designers take pride in being a breed of agility and perseverance.   It may be unfortunate that physical cultural immersion is at a halt, but the dedication and creativity shall prevail.  This will be new learnings for us to explore future cultural exchange programs on different platform as well.   Looking forward to share new insights and creative outcome from RISD in the coming weeks.   Please stay with us for updates.  

Finally, a special note of thanks to our Project Advisor Mr. Katsuhiko Nakajima for his relentless support in Inami during my absence in Japan.  

- Mikki Tam . Taketombo . Japan.  3/22/2020

On March 11. 2020

I visited RISD and met with the 9 students for the first time, hearing their presentation on research topic of interests.

Glad to have just made it right before most universities on the East coast announced closure of campus due to Covid-19.

Studio  Information

WINTER 2020 (Canceled)

Feasibility & Cultural Research


SPRING 2020 (transitioned to online studio in March, completed in June)

Dept. of Interior Architecture - Advanced Adaptive-Reuse Design Studio


REVISED SCHEDULE (due to the COVID-19 pandemic)

  • February 13, 2020 Start of RISD-based Design Studio (resume class on 3/30)

  • Spring travel (canceled)

  • May 21, 2020 Final Review at RISD with guests and critics. (online review session completed)

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