Aspiring architects learn art of ikebana, will incorporate into designs

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Michelle Cabalse, (808) 956-3469
Communications Specialist, Architecture
Posted: Oct 24, 2012

Hongtao Zhou.  Photo courtesy of School of Architecture.
Hongtao Zhou. Photo courtesy of School of Architecture.
An example of Sogetsu Ikebana.  Photo courtesy of Earl M. Shimabukuro.
An example of Sogetsu Ikebana. Photo courtesy of Earl M. Shimabukuro.
To help first-year students at the UH Manoa School of Architecture develop essential design/build skills, faculty members have come up with a creative way to teach some basics through the ancient art of Sogetsu Ikebana.
This week, the students are getting a crash course in Sogetsu Ikebana from local notable practitioner Earl M. Shimabukuro, along with his sensei, Bertha Tottori, and the president of Ikebana International, Karen Kirk.
Pairing Sogetsu Ikebana with architecture is providing students with a unique opportunity to investigate design through a traditional art form not commonly associated with architecture. During a two-day intensive workshop this week, the students are addressing elements common to both architecture and Sogetsu Ikebana, including lines, angles and organic asymmetry.
“The design language and practices learned in architecture transcend many different design mediums,” says Graham Hart, UH Manoa teaching assistant and the architecture graduate student handling architectural elements of the class. “The workshop demonstrates how design terms like 3D form, space, dynamic, balance and fluidity apply to both architecture and ikebana.”
Assistant Professor Hongtao Zhou invited Shimabukuro to participate and inspire students to break the boundaries in their design studio work. "When I looked at Shimabukuro’s ikebana work, I was completely impressed,” says Zhou. “His work goes way beyond the traditional ikebana images that I had in my mind. It is so open and flexible for artistic expression. I believe the students can learn so much from him."
On Friday, October 26, the students will present their pieces at a free and open-to-the-public exhibit in the Haigo and Irene Shen Architecture Gallery. Forty-seven pieces, the best works produced during the workshops, will be on display for the public to enjoy. For details, please contact the School of Architecture at (808) 956-3469.
Gallery Opening
Friday, October 26 (5:30-7:30 pm)
UH Manoa School of Architecture
Haigo and Irene Shen Architecture Gallery
2410 Campus Road (Room 204)
Gallery Hours
Saturday, October 27 (Noon to 5pm)
Sunday, October 28 (Noon to 5pm)
Monday, October 29 (9am-5pm)

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