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Oct 31, 2023
In October 2023, APU's academic building "Green Commons" and an international dormitory “AP House 5” were awarded the Good Design Award 2023. The Good Design Award is an initiative by the Japan Institute of Design Promotion, a public interest foundation, aimed at improving people's lives and society through design. Since its inception in 1957, the award has been presented to a wide range of objects, including products, architecture, software, systems, and services that surround people.
Green Commons is an educational building that was completed in March 2023. The large centralized space that symbolizes the building was constructed with approximately 450 cubic meters of wooden materials. As the largest domestically built wooden structure among educational facilities, over 95% of its wooden materials are sourced from timber in Oita Prefecture, promoting the use of locally-produced materials. The use of wood in construction promotes the environmental cycle of cutting down, planting, and growing, leading to the realization of a carbon-neutral society. By adopting a progressive and sustainable architectural design that makes use of natural energy and various other environmental technologies, the Green Commons serves as both a center for learning and a living resource for environmental education.
AP House 5, also completed in March 2023, was designed to serve as a new hub for international students, acting as a focal point for both academic and extracurricular activities. The inclusion of atrium spaces facilitates interaction among students across different residential floors, while the thoughtful placement of various shared spaces such as well-being rooms and AV rooms aims to enhance students' quality of life. Additionally, a community lounge accessible to guests has been set up on the entrance floor, creating an environment that fosters even easier interaction with the local community than before.
For this award, the judging committee provided the following evaluation.
"This project is an effort to create a learning commons where students from both Japan and abroad can engage in dialogue while sharing international values at an international university in a regional city. While respecting the history and culture of the local community with a focus on achieving the goals of the SDGs, it brilliantly showcases sustainability, a shared global objective, in the architectural design. Here, students have the privilege to freely and openly discuss the future of the planet beyond the framework of nations. This commons has been created to contemplate how to live as global citizens in the local community, and it is the birth of a fantastic commons that will lead the international community."
AP House 5
“The design features a clear zoning, with residential blocks extending in a windmill-like pattern from the central common area. The common area includes not only the kitchen and living space but also versatile areas for activities like movie watching and yoga, encouraging communication in everyday life. This setup promotes daily interactions and serves as a kind of crossroads in the dormitory. At the same time, off-campus students and guests are expected to use only the central building, making it easier to establish security boundaries. The earthquake-resistant walls on the outer perimeter are designed with varying angles and densities to suppress sunlight and control sightlines while giving the exterior a distinctive appearance. This well-thought-out floor plan successfully balances activity and privacy, making it an architectural model for large-scale international dormitories.”
We hope that by learning together in these facilities, APU's diverse student body will deepen their understanding of diversity, inclusion and sustainability, and eventually grow into people who can "change the world.”