Jean Beaudoin Design Talk “Evolving Landscapes – Time and the Design of Space” Report

September 9, 2013

Independent Enterprise

Jean Beaudoin Design Talk “Evolving Landscapes – Time and the Design of Space” Report

Architect Jean Beaudoin from Montreal, which like Nagoya is also a UNESCO Creative City of Design, spoke on “Evolving Landscapes – Time and the Design of Space”. After participating in PechaKuchaNight 2012 | Creative Design City NAGOYA, he became interested in the Nakagawa Canal and Choja-machi art projects, an interest that eventually led to this event. Beaudoin’s talk focused on the introduction of a number of successful citizen-assisted projects in which he had been involved in Montreal including a low budget project promoting revitalization of the downtown area. He also alluded to the future possibilities of Creative Design City Nagoya, which inspired many questions from the floor.

Design Talk Summary Jean Beaudoin

Like Montreal, Nagoya is a city of both underground and above-ground streets. In this respect, Nagoya gives me special inspiration. For instance, in Nagoya’s Oasis 21, the open area and the underground streets are connected through a public space, which is a really interesting design. Also, I sense the possibility for urban development utilizing art, as in the revitalization projects making use of public space in Choja-machi and the Nakagawa Canal, initiated by citizens and community collectives.
My architectural focus has been on expressing the identities of individual projects by injecting activity into the architecture, thereby giving it vitality, and sublimating lessons from ancient cultures into something new within the design. These were short-term, big-budget projects, while transforming the Montreal downtown area was a long-term, low budget project, initially just 5,000 Canadian dollars, with a team about the same size as that for Nagoya’s Nakagawa Canal art project. The tool we found effective for this kind of project was inexpensive lighting, which we used to illuminate theaters holding performances. There are 40 theaters in Montreal. We established a lighting guideline with three options (closed, in session, and clock), thereby highlighting the individual situation of each theater while allowing the entire community to share in the project. Eventually, the government of Montreal recognized the significance of our activity increased funding to 500,000 Canadian dollars, which encouraged facilities like cinemas, libraries and churches to participate as well.

In general, cities evolve slowly, and Montreal is the same. We needn’t just build grand structures; There are plenty of possibilities to utilize existing assets through creativity, with cooperative labor from citizens. This kind of evolution will give birth to the possibility of new types of tourism and employment attracting the attention of local and national government, which will allow for budgets that will lead to the next step in changing the landscape and building new structures.

On this visit, I toured community-building initiatives in Nagoya, and felt that both the Nakagawa Canal art project and the Choja-machi project displayed both cultured citizens and high-quality content. What’s more, these attempts to refigure the streets were initiated not by the municipal government, but by the citizens. And so they were able to freely transform interesting private property like shipping warehouses, rather than public property, which I felt led to the possibility of the City becoming interested in the project. It’s important to dream big and plan projects accordingly, but we can make big changes happen through small actions that we can do right now, like small art, making the information landscape, helping people do things, and holding events. At this very moment, the city is in motion.

Date:Tuesday, 4 June, 2013

Seminar room 3, 6F Design Center Bldg.

Organizer:International Design Center NAGOYA Inc., Creative Design City Nagoya Organizing Committee