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A Historic Preservation & Cultural Education Initiative -  Nanto City, Japan
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The RISD Team
Professor Wolfgang Rudorf and 9 young design talents.

Antoine Matta

(3rd year) - Exchange Student from Switzerland


Hello, I’m Antoine Matta, I am 20 years old and I am currently on an exchange at RISD. I come from Geneva in Switzerland and I am studying Interior Architecture at the HEAD (Haute École d'Art et Design de Genève).

I was lucky enough to be able to create an exhibition (NUIT Suisse) which is currently travelling around Europe, and I currently have an adaptive reuse project in Athens, Greece coordinated by Line Fontana from Post Office Architect. I also had the opportunity to collaborate with Roberto Zancan from DOMUS magazine.

Concept in research:  A reinvention of the dojo or tea ceremony

Reinvesting light into space

Danning Niu

5th Year Undergraduate


Hello, my name is Danning Niu. I am a fifth-year student in the Brown|RISD Dual Degree Program, pursuing studies in Interior Architecture and East Asian Studies. I was born in Kyoto, Japan and grew up in Shanghai, China.

 I am extremely passionate about adaptive-reuse and storytelling. Throughout my designs, I seek to bridge historical understanding and modern sensibility to address issues of existing structures and shifting contexts. I hope to create spaces that balance performance and beauty, support the people, and bring communities together.

Concept in research:  I’m interested in the symbolic meaning of the building’s neoclassical shell and its adjacencies with its supposedly later alterations/additions. I hope to explore operations that showcase the facades of the building as an image by either exposing its connection to the later structures, removing parts of the later structures or inserting interventions that engage with the facade minimally.

To help sustain the maintenance of the landmark, the project introduces new revenue-generating programs, such as bed & craft, a research center for traditional crafts, tea shop, etc.. The goal is to create a mix-use space that attracts visitors and allows local community members to gather. Besides, the project also considers the implications for the structure to be permanently demolished and asks how we could possibly bid farewell to this embodiment of history. The void left behind by the bank in the Photoshop visualization on Taketombo presents such a poignant image of loss. Perhaps in imagining its absence and commemoration that we find more compelling reasons to hold on to its presence.

Eve Kim

2nd Year MDes Graduate


My name is Eve Kim and I am a 2nd year graduate student in Adaptive Reuse major in Interior Architecture Department in Risd. I have studied industrial design and spatial design in Undergraduate and Graduate School of Hongik University 2010 till 2017. I designed various kinds of spaces such as stage, exhibition, commercial space and public space. I think that design is essentially the zeitgeist and humanism, so that designers should be existential artists who are responsible for society and history. This is why I feel a strong sense of pride as a designer and constantly make efforts to be a designer satisfying these requirements, and I’m very excited to work on Hokuriku Bank building in Inami with my own philosophy and ideas.

Concept in research:  My concept and goal are to make a self-reflecting meditation space. I think wood carving craftsmen in Inami can feel self-reflection when they are deeply concentrating on their works and it gives them a feeling of peace and freedom. Not only people in Inami, many artists and masters describe their experiences of losing themselves in works and achieving mind peace. I want to make a space to provide such mental conditions by making visitors meditate and contemplate in it.

Mallika Kanodia

3rd Year Undergraduate


Hello! My name is Mallika. I am an undergraduate student at RISD in the interior architecture department. I am originally from India but have lived in the United States for 3 years while still going back to my home country every now and then. While at RISD, I worked for two architecture firms and really enjoyed it. I believe design has the capacity to solve many of the world's major problems and I try to inculcate that thought in all my projects.

Concept in research:  For my concept, I am researching Japanese zen gardens and the psychology within that space. The vast increase in the cancer affected patients in the Nanto region has led me to wanting to design a healing sanctuary for   these patients. The program would include the basic elements of japanese gardens such as water bodies, secluded spaces and nature surrounding all of it. A portion of the program would also include a cancer research lab. The program would also be accessible to other people who would want a healing experience or a getaway in the beautiful city of Inami ( these people would be required to pay and this could help with the revenue increase) I am currently researching case studies of Japanese gardens as well as traditional japanese healing methods.

Nico Chen

1st Year Undergraduate


Hello! My name is Nico. I am a graduate student at RISD in the interior architecture department. I finished my undergraduate degree in exhibition design in Donghua University(Shanghai, China) in 2016. Before I came to RISD, I worked for two years as an interior designer in Shanghai. I noticed that there are a lot of exciting adaptive reuse projects in Shanghai which drew my interest in exploring more in this field. To me, interior architecture is architecture based on human factors and local context.

Concept in research:  The restfulness and zen in rural life was the first impression for me when I was doing research about Inami. I also believe that it could become the local context  for future tourists. Furthermore, Zuisenji Temple, standing not far away, is still an active site for worship. The context made me think about building a guest house for people who come here for a spiritual/ mental trip to Zuisenji Temple.

The dialogue between Zuisenji Temple and the western-style envelope of the Inami art museum is my design focus. My intervention and zoning would be generated from Japanese monks’ daily lifestyle. The original building to me has a continuity by the trace of memory. Otherwise, the relationship I want to build between our building and the temple has to follow the spatial sequence of people’s path. I’m currently doing research about how western and Japanese people do light control in religious architectures. This would be a design approach in my intervention as well.

Robert Yang

1st Year MDes Graduate


こんにちは! My name is Robert Yang and I am a first year graduate student at the INTAR Program. I am originally from Nashville, Tennessee USA. For my Bachelor’s degree, I studied Art History/Studio and Environmental Science at Williams College. After that, I worked in New York City for four years working for different architecture and design firms in marketing and business development. I am also a classically trained cellist and come from a musical family (mother is a pianist, father is a violist). Because of that, many of my ideas gravitate towards musical concepts and programs! I look forward to collaborating with you all on this project!

Concept in research:  My programming concept is a performing arts venue for the town of Inami, with a focus on the ancient Japanese drama, Noh. From a design standpoint, I am interested in the notion of a structure within another, which is how most modern Noh theaters are designed. I see Noh as a way to entertain the existing community in Inami, a way to collaborate with the many woodworkers on Inami, while also stimulating the local economy with an additional tourist attraction. The space would also be able to host other types of performance, from dance to classical music. I would like to check with the stakeholders and see if there is interest in Noh from the Inami community.

Stefan Korfmacher

3rd Year at Brown University 


I study architecture and environmental science at Brown University and am fascinated by the ways environmental research and community insights interface with design practice! In the past, I have worked on adaptive reuse studies for converting Hamburg’s UNESCO world heritage listed Speicherstadt district into affordable housing. I have also been a collaborator on a study of how residents respond to sea level rise visualization in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, using insights from community surveying and GIS mapping. I am excited to explore new ways the Hokuriku bank building can be regenerated with respect to Yokamachi street and the interests of the community.

Concept in research:  Inami is fortunate to possess an Ikigai center, but it is located a significant walk from the central streetscape of Inami and appears less accessible at night and during winter. Comfortably within walking distance of the entire town, the Hokuriku bank offers a possibility for a second center tailored to different uses. I plan to make small adjustments to the original bank mass to give it passive heating and cooling, driving down costs of sustaining the building and addressing some of the issues of thermal comfort in the building during colder months. Towards the back, I plan to carve more transparent walls out of the existing extension to invite more into the space. I intend to repurpose the bank as an outreach center for nearby universities, creating new opportunities for citizen science and healthcare outreach.

Yara Hadi

1st Year Graduate


Hello! My name is Yara. I am a graduate student at RISD in the interior architecture department. I am originally from Kuwait but have lived in the United States for 7 years while still going back to my home country every now and then. I studied architecture for my bachelors degree at the University of Arizona. Before I went to RISD, I worked for two years and really enjoyed working in an architecture firm and seeing designs come to life. I believe that spatial quality in architecture can be an experience that a person would never forget.

Concept in research:  For my concept, I am researching elements of a chashitsu and what it means to be a part of a tea ceremony. The vast increase on the rising age population in inami had me wanting to create a program where one forgets about their worries and problems and be in a place and state of harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility. The program would include varying sizes of tea rooms as well as a tea garden where man can unite with nature. I am currently researching case studies of traditional tea houses as well as modern ones. Since the size of the tea house is determined by the size of a tatami mat and not the other way around, the next step is to do a proportional study of the existing structure in plan and elevation in regards to the tatami mat.

Yerim Lee

1st Year MDes Graduate


My name is Yerim Lee and I am a first year graduate student in Exhibition and Narrative Environments major at RISD. In Korea, for my undergraduate studies, I majored in Interior Architecture at Hongik University. I think designer must base his/her work on the profound intuition regarding the relationship between people and space and its culture, and create the optimal space that is multi-dimensional and accessible. My goal is to make the space not only invites the visitors to stay longer but more importantly allows them to foster the love and joy of life.

Concept in research:  My idea for this project is to create a space related to Oriental flower tea. The exact origin is unknown, but in the East, people have enjoyed the aroma of edible flowers through alcohol and tea since ancient times. In particular, traditional flower tea has beneficial effects on various parts of the body depending on the type of plant. Also, the aesthetic effect of dried flower buds rising in the water and their fragrance have the effect of healing. In a small, quiet, beautiful Inami building, I would like to design a healing space where you can introduce the different kinds and effects of flower tea, stay still at the same time, savor the tea and meditate on yourself.

Wolfgang Rudorf Interior Architecture Professor, RISD

ウォルフガング・マックス・ルドルフ インテリア建築学教授, RISD

Wolfgang Max Rudorf received his engineering diploma in Architecture and Urban Planning from the Technical University in Berlin. As a recipient of a German Academic Exchange scholarship, he attended the History Theory and Criticism Program at MIT, receiving a Master of Science in Architectural Studies with a research focus on the Public Works Administration’s public housing initiative during the New Deal era.

Mr. Rudorf is a licensed Architect in Massachusetts and a LEED accredited professional, concentrating in his practice on the interface between the architectural and engineering disciplines. Responsible for the design and construction of large adaptive re-use projects, affordable housing projects, and the preservation of historic landmarks in the United States and Germany, he is an adamant supporter of an integrated project delivery method.

He has taught as an adjunct faculty member for many years in the RISD INTAR Department and coauthored "Libraries – A Design Manual" published by Birkhäuser Verlag in 2011.

RISD Professor Wolfgang Rudorf will be leading the Spring 2020 studios from feasibility study, building survey to design of the project. 





​長年RISDインテリア建築学部で非常勤講師として教鞭をとり、2011年BirkhäuserVerlagから出版された「Libraries - A Design Manual」の共著者でもあります。



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