Last year, the City Planning Institute of Japan presented its Urban Design Award to Kyushu University‘s Ito Campus, a 272 ha site stretching from Motooka in Fukuoka City’s Nishi Ward into Itoshima City. The merger and relocation of facilities from the university’s Hakozaki and Ropponmatsu campuses to the Ito Campus has resulted in the creation of a new hub for academic research in the city. The relocation was finally completed in 2018, 17 years after the formulation of a campus master plan in 2001.
Where Ito Campus sits used to be rolling green hills, and the name “Ito” comes from the ancient Kingdom of Ito which used to be located here. Keeping in mind the natural surroundings and historical context, the university’s plan aimed to realize a campus that would seamlessly coexist with the local community and environment.
The buildings were built to follow the contour of the land to avoid ruining the existing landscape as much as possible. Efforts were made to protect the local ecosystem, including the groundwater that feeds local homes and farms, and the university continues to survey and monitor its impact on the environment. A group of students, faculty and staff have undertaken a project to rejuvenate the local satoyama (areas where human habitations coexist with nature), as part of the university’s research activities.
What’s more, there are many ruins and buried cultural properties on the campus. Although the original structures have disappeared long ago, the university has made every effort to preserve and restore these sites, which are open to the public. Several excavated artifacts are on display at the Ishigahara Tumulus Exhibition and Observation Room, which affords a panoramic view of the entire campus. Come experience the intersection of ancient history and state-of-the-art research facilities on this modern tree-filled campus.