Okayama University


Symposium Commemorates the Formation of the Forestry, Timber, and Wooden Architecture Education and Research Committee

November 05, 2020

In order to capitalize on Maniwa’s timber- and forest-related industries, Okayama University and Maniwa City, in collaboration with related institutions, established a research committee on July 2 to direct the development of an integrated cooperation zone that will serve as a base for education and research related to forestry, timber, and wooden architecture. The committee aims to revitalize and add value to the region, while also facilitating skill development. A symposium was held on November 4 at the 50th Anniversary Hall to commemorate the formation of the committee, as well as the launch of Okayama University’s new Faculty of Engineering in April 2021.

At the symposium, Okayama University Vice President in charge of Science and Engineering Reforms SUGA Seiji made the opening remarks, after which Special Invited Professor KUMA Kengo gave a special lecture on “The Many Possibilities of Wooden Architecture in Our Local Region.” In his lecture, Professor Kuma declared, “Wooden architecture has the potential to facilitate a new lifestyle in the corona era, and I hope that Okayama University can pave the way for others to appreciate this potential.”

After the lecture, President MAKINO Hirofumi moderated a panel that discussed the concept of a ‘cooperation zone’ from multiple angles. For example, Representative Director and President of Meiken Lamwood Corporation NAKASHIMA Koichiro introduced projects that are being conducted in cooperation with local communities, such as the generation of biomass power and Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), while Forestry Agency Forest Disaster Prevention and Restoration Office Director NAGANO Asako explained the efforts of various sectors, including business and government, to promote the use of wood throughout Japan’s prefectures. Finally, Shimizu Corporation consultant KAWATA Takashi advocated the importance of ‘public asset management’, emphasizing the need for local universities to become pillars of support in regions interested in promoting sustainable development by facilitating the coordination between administration, companies, and the public.

Afterwards, Professor of Graduate School of Environmental and Life Science AYANO Toshiki introduced ‘Urban Environment Development Track’ that will be offered by the new Faculty of Engineering, and the winners for an internal photo/illustration contest were announced. Due to the COVID-19, entry into the hall was restricted; however, the symposium was also broadcast online, allowing a total of 400 people to participate.