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Kyushu Sangyo University Landscape Design

This month’s Building Review takes a closer look at Kyushu Sangyo University’s campus landscaping, by Fukuoka-based landscaping company Design Network.

The park-like campus is designed to provide a diversity of relaxed spaces that students move through and spend time in. Freely drawn curved, straight, and irregular lines compose a topography rich in atmospheric variations, such as a plaza that recalls the terraced rice fields of traditional Japan. Each space has its own rhythm, function, and freedom that both responds to and influences the pace and movements of the people who occupy it.

We talked about the project with Design Network’s Shunsuke Furuie.
Central plaza with stream and outdoor furniture
Please give us an overview of the project.

As part of the activities to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Kyushu Sango University, the school renovated its campus. The school came to us with a request that we create an integrated environment that took advantage of the elevation changes within the site and other existing environmental features such as waterways. The concept we developed in response was a park-like campus landscape. We wanted to design a landscape that encouraged both the flow of people and their “stagnation” in certain places - as well as the interaction of those two patterns - and by doing so revitalize the entire campus.
Oval pergola in the central plaza
The central plaza has no clear axis or circulation routes.
The cloud-shaped benches can be used in a variety of ways, not just for sitting
What points were important to you during the design process?

We wanted students to be able to move through the campus with as little stress as possible, so we conducted  surveys about the routes they used and the volume of traffic. We also tried to achieve a landscape design that encouraged people to both move through it and gather at certain spots by seamlessly connecting many different places on campus. 
Students relax in the park-like atmosphere
What did you learn from this project? What will you take from it to future work?

Working on this project, I sensed the possibilities presented by landscape-like environments that entrust their success to big spaces and nature, as opposed to architectural environments created by precise construction. I also realized once again that the spaces born from landscape design have an appeal that changes in response to shifts in the environment and the passage of time. 
Wide view of the terraced plaza
Bent lines create a diversity of spaces
The terraced plaza is a place for both transition and relaxation.
What is the role of landscape architects in society?

The work of the landscape architect is to create environments, but I think of these not so much as natural environments as landscapes. The word “landscape” suggests the presence or activities of human beings. In other words, I believe that landscape architects should create environments that affirm the presence of people. That is the essence of the landscape architect’s role in society. 
Existing camphor trees were worked into the approach plaza at the north gate. 
Subtle gradations give this pathway an appearance similar to interior flooring
Site plan  Drawing © : DESIGN NETWORK +ASSOCIATES )


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