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Circum-ambience & the Art of Traditional Japanese Earthen Walls (Rescheduled due to weather)

Join artist Taiji Miyasaka to explore the site-specific artwork he created at MadArt Studio, followed by a demonstration and hands-on application of traditional Japanese earthen walls.

MadArt Studio presents Circum·ambience by Taiji Miyasaka, a professor in the School of Design and Construction at Washington State University. In this exhibition, Miyasaka responds to the various conditions of MadArt Studio by creating three spherical sculptures that independently investigate the light, scale, and atmosphere of the physical space. Though bound by form, each sphere uniquely relates to the studio’s environment through their distinctive material and method of assembly.

The largest of these sculptures – a thirteen-foot inhabitable clay and wood sphere – is created through a traditional method of Japanese plaster construction. To learn these techniques, Miyasaka is working with a group of master plasterers both in his native Japan and in Seattle.

Hear from Japanese architect Yasuhiro Uchida and master artisan Tetsuya Hagino from Sakujigumi on the brief history of traditional townhouses in Kyoto called Kyo Machiya: the structure and materials of Kyo Machiya; and the different types of earthen and plaster walls. Observe a brief demonstration of creating an earthen wall, and participate in a hands-on application of mixed earth to a wooden framed mock-up to create an earthen wall.

This event has been rescheduled to Wednesday February 13 due to weather cancellation on Monday February 11. AIA Seattle members and Students – Contact Bray Hayden about registration.


4:30pm Arrivals + light refreshments
5:00pm Lecture starts
5:40pm Lecture ends/demonstration starts
6:15pm Demonstration ends
6:30pm Conclusion


Artist / Speaker / Moderator: Taiji Miyasaka
Taiji Miyasaka began teaching at Washington State University in 2002 after ten years of professional experience at architecture firms. Miyasaka’s project “Light Hole Shed,” built using reclaimed timber from grain elevators in eastern Washington, won a Citation Award for Making in the AIA Seattle 2012 Honor Awards. In collaboration with David Drake, “Night Blooming,” a structure that alludes to the qualities of light and darkness in grain elevators, was installed for the BAM Biennial 2014: Knock on Wood at Bellevue Arts Museum. In spring 2018, “Night Blooming” was permanently installed in the Bellevue Botanical Garden. With support from an Artist Trust Fellowship Award, which he received in 2018, Miyasaka will have an exhibition entitled “circum∙ambience” at MadArt Studio in Seattle in January-March 2019. One of the works at the exhibition will be created in collaboration with Sakujigumi, an organization that works on the preservation and renovation of traditional Japanese townhouses in Kyoto.

Speaker / Demonstrator: Yasuhiro Uchida
Yasuhiro Uchida is a first-class licensed architect in Japan and a principal of Yasuhiro Uchida Architecture Research Laboratory in Kyoto. He is a lecturer at Seian University of Art and Design. He is also one of the directors of Sakujigumi, an organization of professionals whose focus is renovating and preserving Kyo Machiya (traditional townhouses in Kyoto). His architecture focuses on designing space and buildings in relation to Kyoto’s long history and culture. He received an Kyoto City Townscape Award honorable mention in 2015.

Demonstrator: Tetsuya Hagino
Tetsuya Hagino is the founder of Sakuan, a company in Kyoto, Japan, that specializes in traditional Japanese earth and plaster work. He has renovated and constructed earth walls and done plaster work on prestigious historical buildings, including Katsura Imperial Villa, Kyoto Imperial Palace, and numerous temples and Kyo Machiya (traditional townhouses in Kyoto). He is one of the directors of the Kyoto Plasterers’ Union and Sakujigumi. He received a Complementary Master Craftsman award from Kyoto Prefecture in 2006.

Demonstrator: Eiko Inohara
After working for Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Eiko Inohara decided to become a Japanese traditional plaster and she has been working for Sakuan since 2013.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn about various types of traditional Japanese earth and plaster walls, and their construction materials and methods.
  • Learn about the applications of different layers of earth walls and plaster with a hands-on experience.
  • Learn about the history of townhouses called Kyo Machiya in Kyoto, and the value and meaning of preserving Kyo Machiya in the 21st century.
  • Learn about the structure, spatial organization, and building materials of Kyo Machiya in relation to the city’s history and culture.

Special thanks to

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February 13, 2019
4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Class Credit


AIA Seattle
(206) 448-4938


MadArt Studio
325 Westlake Ave N #101
Seattle, WA 98109 United States
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