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Circum‑ambience featured at Seattle’s MadArt Studio

Members of the WSU Circum-ambience project team in front of a globe-shaped, wood-frame structure.
WSU Circum‑ambience project team includes, l‑r, Akkarawin Valinluck, Ping Fai Sze, Eric Barrow, Taylor Chudwick, Sam Geibel, Miles Pepper, Taiji Miyasaka, and Zaky Ramadhan.

An exhibition by Taiji Miyasaka, professor in the WSU School of Design and Construction, will investigate traditional methods of construction in a contemporary art context at Seattle’s MadArt Studio.

As part of the project, called Circum‑ambience, Miyasaka is creating three spherical sculptures, including a 13‑foot inhabitable structure made of clay and wood. Miyasaka is creating one of the sculptures through a traditional Japanese plaster construction method.

An opening reception for the exhibition is set for 1–3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 24, and the exhibition will run from Feb. 26–March 23.

MadArt is also holding an open studio until the exhibition opening, which allows the public to view the installation as it’s being built. A group of master Japanese plasterers will be demonstrating their traditional methods on Feb. 7–8 as part of the open studio installation period. Miyasaka also will lecture on the project at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6, at the University of Washington’s Architecture Hall, as part of the Architecture Lecture Series.

Originally from Kyoto, Japan, and a professor at WSU since 2002, Miyasaka has conducted research in the areas of materiality, design process and communication, and design pedagogy. In his creative work, Miyasaka has often explored the interplay between light and darkness. His project entitled “Light Hole Shed,” which won a design award in the AIA Seattle 2012 Honor Awards, was built using reclaimed timber from grain elevators in eastern Washington. “Night Blooming,” done in collaboration with David Drake, adjunct professor in the School of Design and Construction, is a structure that alludes to the qualities of light and darkness in grain elevators. It was installed for the BAM Biennial 2014: Knock on Wood at Bellevue Arts Museum and is permanently on display at the Bellevue Botanical Garden.

Miyasaka working on a giant sphere.
Creating the Circum‑ambience spherical sculpture.

The project at MadArt Studio was built with support from the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture Engineering Shops, including Miles Pepper and Eric Barrow. Five architecture graduate students also helped to install the sphere. The Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, the School of Design and Construction, WSU’s Puyallup Research and Extension Center, ACKS Demo and Construction Service, and Murai‑Wolf Farms also supported the effort.

The exhibition is supported by the MadArt, Artist Trust, and the Japan Foundation. For more information, visit the MadArt Studio website.

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