Marcela Lino: a day in Kyoto
International Relations and Study abroad Service
8 April 2019
Kyoto Institute of Technology (KIT) welcomes large numbers of international students every year from its more-than-60 partner universities in a variety of countries. The institute has international exchange partnership agreements with more than 60 universities around the world, primarily in Asia and Europe, and welcomes more than 330 international students every year. KIT also hosts a range of programmes, such as workshops and summer schools, for students from these partner institutions.
The careful and considerate support provided by supervising instructors, student volunteers, and highly experienced administrative staff will surely make the life of the exchange students in Kyoto a highly rewarding one.
The partnership between KIT and USI revolves around the atelier of prof. Quintus Miller. 12 students of the Accademia di Architettura and 12 students of the Kyoto Institute of Technology started in Kyoto during the second week of September 2018, where the atelier continued for 4 weeks. On mid October the group transferred to Mendrisio, where the studio continued in a designated space. The studio finished with a final review during the last week of the courses before Christmas.
Marcela Lino is a master student at the Academy of Architecture. She was part of the group that had the opportunity to spend 4 weeks in Kyoto. We thank her warmly for sharing her experience with our readers.
“My name is Marcela Lino, 26, I am Brazilian and Master student at the Academy of Architecture in Mendrisio. I was one of the 24 students that took part of the design studio directed by Professor Q. Miller during the autumn semester of 2018. An exchange between the Accademia di Architettura Mendrisio and the Kyoto Institute of Technology brought together twelve students from each school to work in pairs on housing projects in Kyoto. The students from Mendrisio lived and worked in Kyoto for the first four weeks of the semester and the collaborative work continued on in Mendrisio for the remaining time.”
A day in Kyoto
“Today is the 5th October, 7:00 in the morning, Kyoto, Japan. My roommates and me leave the student residence with our bicycles and start riding up along the Kamo River, heading north of the city. On our way, we stop at a convenience store and grab a bottle of warm tea from the heated shelves. Making sure we ride on the left side of the road, we follow our route to Entsū-ji Temple. Everywhere is quiet. Almost no one on the streets. Maybe still too early to find some other tourists as well.
We leave our bikes and start walking on the gravel that cover the floor until the entrance gate. Stepping up, we take our shoes off. There, someone welcomes our arrival with a big smile. We follow the signs of the visit, the noise of our steps on the wooden floor resonates around us. The smell of tatami floor, the wood, the moss, the beautiful colors of the garden and the precise scale of that building hosts us in this morning visit.
After some time in silence admiring the garden in front of us, we take some pictures and sketch in our notebooks. This place is so peaceful and beautiful. A place to be remembered. Another great reference for our Housing project in Japan.
Back to our bikes, we ride a few minutes until we arrive at KIT (Kyoto Institute of Technology). In our atelier, the books, models, sketches, pictures fill the tables and walls. For us, everything is so new, so many new experiences, references, architects. The other students are arriving and we start our day at school. 12 Japanese students working in pairs with the other 12 students from Mendrisio.
Our goal of the day is to come up with an idea for our project of this semester; a housing complex, here in Kyoto. What is the desired atmosphere? In a few days, we need to present 2 model pictures that translate this wishes. I tell my partner about what I liked about the Temple this morning and he show me other great buildings we should visit within the next days together.
He tells me about his childhood and the greatest memories he has about living architecture. His grandmother house, built in a traditional Japanese style is his source of inspiration. He explains me his way of living and his wish for a contemporary housing project. I discover a new world, try to embrace its culture and traditions and together we try to find a proposal that would combine our ideas. Throughout models, sketches, references we communicate and share our experiences, finding common ideas.
It is now lunchtime and the whole group goes together to the school cafeteria. It is a big space and students from all other courses are there. The choices are amazing. Miso soup, rice bowl with tuna tartare, diverse noodles are some of the options available. Everything is so organised. The noise of the crowded space amazes me. The use of chopsticks and wooden bowls changes completely the atmosphere compared to a western university refectory.
Back to work, the afternoon goes fast and in the evening, we all leave together with our bicycles to have dinner together. It is a beautiful summer night and we decide to go to a ramen shop. A queue of young people is outside of the door. We wait all together. Some of our local friends say that this one is the best one in town, worth to wait. When comes our turn, a machine outside the shop give us the different options. All written in Japanese, we go for the classic option with the help of our friends. The dinner is accompanied by some laughs about our way of eating ramen. Trying to imitate the noisy and incredible way of eating of our local friends, most of us, Westerns, finally end up needing the help of a spoon. After this long day, we pass by the convenience shop to grab some drinks and under the moon light we all gather along the Kamo River bank.”
Kyoto Institute of Technology website: https://www.kit.ac.jp/en/