Academics & Faculty

UCLA makes big splash at Little Tokyo Design Week in L.A.

The work and expertise of faculty and students from UCLA Architecture and Urban Design will be on prominent display at Los Angeles' first-ever Little Tokyo Design Week, a four-day celebration of leading-edge design and technology trends emerging from Japan and Los Angeles. The event runs from July 14 to 17 in L.A.'s Little Tokyo neighborhood.
The festival, chaired by Hitoshi Abe, chair of UCLA Architecture and Urban Design and director of UCLA's Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies, focuses on the theme of the "future city" and features the work of local and international designers, architects, artists, filmmakers and students exploring the ways in which design can move us toward more sustainable and creative urban environments and lifestyles, both in Los Angeles and beyond.
The festival's numerous exhibits, symposia and live events represent a giant collaboration among the top design and architecture schools — UCLA Architecture and Urban Design, the Southern California Institute of Architecture, the Art Center College of Design's Media Design Program and the USC School of Architecture — as well as the local Little Tokyo community, including the Japanese American National Museum, the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, and the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
"As new mass transit infrastructure comes online and residential development welcomes a younger, more diverse demographic, Little Tokyo has become an ideal site through which to explore progressive ideas, technology and design," said UCLA's Abe, who is also principal of Atelier Hitoshi Abe. "LTDW will be in a unique position to capitalize on this momentum and become a staple in the New Little Tokyo, sharing cutting-edge design and technology with the residents and visitors of the second largest city in the United States."
July 14–17
Exhibition: 'Ultra Expo'
Japanese American National Museum, George and Sakaye Aratani Central Hall
"Ultra Expo," which explores aspects of the Osaka Exposition of 1970, the first world exposition to be held in Japan, seeks to go beyond conventional exhibition formats, creating an unorthodox way of displaying historic material that emphasizes its contemporary currency rather than its nostalgiac exactitude.
The exhibition is curated by Sylvia Lavin, UCLA professor of architecture and urban design, and Hi-C, a program in which UCLA doctoral and design students collaborate on exhibitions, symposia and publications that establish a forum for the wide discussion of experimental work in architecture.
July 14–17
Container Galleries
Sixteen PODS will be placed throughout the public plazas of Little Tokyo. These containers (measuring 8' x 8' x 16') will be transformed into small galleries for the duration of LTDW and will house installations curated by two teams of designers, educators, architects and artists based in Tokyo and Los Angeles. UCLA's galleries include:
'The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: A Photojournalistic Exhibition of the Disaster'
Japanese American Cultural and Community Center Plaza
UCLA's Paul I. and Hisako Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies and the Sendai-based newspaper Kahoku Shimpo will present a traveling exhibition focused on the stories of the people recovering from the recent earthquake and tsunami disaster in the Tohoku area. The exhibition explores how the people of Japan are dealing with this difficult situation in their day-to-day lives and how they are helping one another. Previewing at LTDW, the exhibition will include a series of large-scale photographic essays, interviews in text and audio form, and possible video footage. The exhibition will then travel to cities throughout the U.S., returning to the Fowler Museum at UCLA in the spring of 2012.
The exhibition is curated by UCLA's Hitoshi Abe, a Sendai-native, and Kahoku Shimpo. The container and traveling exhibition are sponsored in part by the Japan Business Association, and the traveling exhibition is also sponsored in part by the Japan Foundation.
'Culture Now: The Contemporary American Condition'
Plaza adjacent to MOCA Geffen
"Culture Now" investigates the contemporary American condition to initiate a shift in perspective in struggling U.S. cities. By integrating public policy, urban studies, contemporary culture and their spatial manifestations, the exhibition reframes the current conversation. The use of demographic, infrastructural and cultural evidence extends the discussion across disciplines and encompasses institutional and political models of the public.
The exhibition is curated by 14 UCLA Architecture and Urban Design graduate students under the direction of UCLA distinguished professor Thom Mayne and UCLA lecturer Karen Lohrmann.
July 14–17
Student Exhibits
Local shops throughout Little Tokyo
Seven select UCLA Architecture and Urban Design students — along with students from the Southern California Institute of Architecture, the Art Center College of Design's Media Design Program and the USC School of Architecture — will exhibit their work in spaces of local stores throughout Little Tokyo.
Thursday, July 14
5–6 p.m.
Director's Symposium
Japanese American National Museum — Tateuchi Democracy Forum
The directors of leading, globally renowned Los Angeles architecture programs engage in a dialogue addressing new interrelationships and future trajectories of architectural education, practice and global metropolitan life.
The symposium is presented by UCLA's Hitoshi Abe, Qingyun Ma (USC School of Architecture), Ming Fung (Southern California Institute of Architecture and UCLA alumna, M. Arch. I '80) and Andrew Zago (Southern California Institute of Architecture).
Saturday, July 16
5–6:30 p.m.
Symposium: 'Ultra Exposure'
Reception: 3:305 p.m.
Japanese American National Museum — Tateuchi Democracy Forum
The "Ultra Exposure" symposium will explore the continued relevance of the 1970 Osaka Expo for thinking about the future city and the potential for design and technology to instigate positive change. The symposium will feature architects, artists, historians and theorists concerned with our understanding of how seemingly fleeting spectacles, like the fantastical architecture of world's fairs, the seductions of new gadgets and the euphoria of imagining future utopias determine the expectations we make of the present in significant and enduring ways.
The symposium is moderated by Sylvia Lavin, UCLA professor of architecture and urban design, and will feature guest speakers Elizabeth Diller, Rene Daalder, Nicholas de Monchaux, Machiko Kusahara and Hiroki Azuma.
Saturday, July 16
8–10 p.m.
PechaKucha Night
Japanese American Cultural and Community Center Plaza
Drawing its name from the Japanese term for the sound of conversation ("chit chat"), PechaKucha's presentation format is based on a simple idea: 20 images in 20 seconds. PechaKucha Night will be a dynamic, multifaceted presentation of visionary cities and city life. The event is sponsored in part by TOTO.
PechaKucha Night features 48 leading contemporary voices, including UCLA Architecture and Urban Design faculty members Greg Lynn, Dana Cuff, Mark Mack and Mohamed Sharif.
Sunday, July 17
3–5 p.m.
Symposium: Environment in the Future City
East West Players, 120 Judge John Aiso Street 
The symposium explores the culmination of "Tokyo/L.A. Houses" container exhibition, speculating beyond the "future city" with several prominent guest architects and critics, including UCLA faculty members Neil Denari and Akihisa Hirata, along with Joe Day, Christopher Hawthorne, Sou Fujimoto, Masataka Baba, and Lisa Iwamoto.
Little Tokyo Design Week: Future City celebrates the power and energy of cutting-edge design and technology emerging from Japan and its intersection with current trends materializing in Los Angeles. LTDW will present a series of programs that integrate Little Tokyo's big three cultural institutions (the Japanese American National Museum, the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, and the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA), community partners, retailers and restaurants. Local and international designers, artists, architects, filmmakers, corporations and students from the Southern California region will explore possible scenarios for a "new urban lifestyle" during the festival.
UCLA is California's largest university, with an enrollment of more than 38,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The UCLA College of Letters and Science and the university's 11 professional schools feature renowned faculty and offer 328 degree programs and majors. UCLA is a national and international leader in the breadth and quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs. Six alumni and five faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize.
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