Through a mutual contact, Dr. Anne Taylor, of the University of New Mexico the Buffalo Architecture + Education committee was connected with the “Architecture and Children’s Network of Sendai,” a group that educates children about architecture and design concepts at an early age.
In 2011, Sendai, Japan was devastated by a Tsunami. On behalf of the Architecture + Education (A+E) Program, the Buffalo/WNY American Institute of Architects (AIA) Chapter contributed funds to support the group’s rebuilding effort within their community. As an expression of gratitude, the group of 10 architects from Sendai, Japan visited Buffalo to share their experiences of the Tsunami, and their continuing rebuilding effort.
The Buffalo Architecture Foundation hosted a “Design Share Workshop” for the two groups to discuss ideas, interesting projects, and how local children are being involved with the rebuilding efforts in Sendai. Indicative of unique language that architecture can be, the workshop bridged all language and communication barriers without aid of the group’s interpreter.
The workshop activity focused on repurposing Buffalo’s Grain Elevators and mirrored one of lessons plans used by BAF’s A+E program. Each team of participants was given the challenge of designing a portion of a grain elevator into their own personal condominium. The models were then joined together to create a mega-structure of cylindrical condominiums.
The day ended with the Whirlwind Tour of Buffalo, on the Open-Air Autobus.
During their time in Buffalo, the Japanese Group also enjoyed chicken wings and other local fare from Gabriel’s Gate, a visit to Niagara Falls, and a wonderful tour of the Martin House Complex.