I-AUD | International Program in Architecture and Urban Design

ADS-C 2020 Shingo Masuda Studio


The city of Sano is as many smaller cities in Japan suffering from decreasing inhabitant numbers and the demographic change. Today’s city fabric is marked by an increasing amount of ‘akiya’ (=abandoned house) and the lack of public spaces and programs. The challenge is to reanimate and envisioning a future of technological, social, and aesthetic healing.
We will participate one role for this mission and realistically engage with the city and the people. This is a proposal project in Sano city by a company named KANA.


The ‘Date House’ is key and starting point of the Sano project. Date house had been left akiya for many years. Date house, the base for Sano’s urban reanimation use to be a small hospital. By applying the idea of an ‘organic process’ in terms of working methods, we firstly established and inhabited parts of the building to be used as a local workstation and meeting point, both for the team but also for locals. Being primarily based here, KANA develops urban strategies for Sano City while sketching and designing on the transformation of the building itself. There are few akiyas and also few that are still being used but don’t have inheritor to live there longer or to maintain. How can we change the city to better situation? From the challenge through the studio in 2019, we’d like to focus in one site with simple program. But our aim is not just solving those. We want to see this area as a very small urban condition. Site has an alley going through, houses are facing each other with smallest relationship. And also to also create this place as a place, we’d like to add an “if” to completely change the situation of the surrounding area. And that “if” we’re going to add is a natural element which has huge scale image such as mountain, river, valley, lake, etc. How much of the activities and scenery and effect to the surrounding can be changed with this “if”.

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