Bryan Ortega-Welch

MArch I

Sagishima 2072 

Advised by Andrew Witt

2072 marks our 50th anniversary, and we’re thrilled to celebrate all that we’ve accomplished in partnership with Sagishima island families, local and international students, and friends. In 2022 construction began on the first structure of what would become the Sagishima campus, an ever-mutating educational facility for design, construction, and research into “cold processes”: systems of making that do not involve combustion. Our school is home to a one-year A.Arch. (Associate of Architecture) program, receives studio visits from partner architecture schools, and hosts numerous courses, lectures, and events throughout the year for adults and children. Projects are supported by a diverse team of expert practitioners including craftspeople, architects, engineers, robots, and foresters in an environment that combines forest, ocean, studio, workshop, and building site. 

Our campus was built at a snail’s pace over the last 50 years because of our adherence to a single maxim that continues to drive architectural production on the island: design for maximum meaningful labor. This principle — along with our love for closed-loop systems — drove us to build the campus out of salvage from vacant island houses, honoring the original joinery logic while refracting it into something new. (At that time, Sagishima’s population had declined to 776 people, and nearly 30 percent of the houses sat empty.) Since then, we’ve found architectural uses for all sorts of ocean flotsam and island jetsam. We are proud to have played a part in making Sagishima a zero-waste island and a global hub for circular design pedagogy and practice. 

Text: Once upon a time