In recent years, in various areas, an increasing amount of effort is being made at revitalization, such as attracting people through events and art exhibitions that display the particular characteristics of each region. In Shodoshima Island on Setouchi Inner Sea, the cultivation of olives and oranges is thriving, and drying houses remain from the times when leaf tobacco was once grown everywhere on the island.
In 2013 the Setouchi Art Festival was begun for this reason. The works of many artists are displayed in places all over the island, and many tourists visit the island to enjoy them.
This plan began with a request from the wives of farmers growing olives and oranges. The site is on a slope at the foot of a mountain in Ikeda, Shodoshima town, where there is a row of buildings depending from a main house. These buildings have been constructed over various generations. The building at the highest point is the main building, then there is a store house, a fruit sorting center, a stable, and a garage, each building below the previous one. At the very bottom is a steep three-meter slope and facing a pathway, an olive orchard and next to that, an old, two-floor tobacco drying hut.
By refurbishing the row of buildings to create a bakery, cafe, fruit sorting area and gallery, the owner, now finished with child rearing, hopes to find enjoyment in a second stage of life, meeting not only people from the island, but also from more distant places. To that end, I felt that the design of the building, while harmonizing with the environment, needed a certain impact when viewed from the roadway.
The structural characteristic of this plan to reform the buildings is that the original stable and the garage were connected by a long beam exceeding 9 m and had a single roof over a large space. Because of this, there is plenty of room for fruit sorting and loading.
In the off-season, when the fruit sorting space is not used at all, large-scale works can be exhibited in the gallery and there is plenty of time to plan various art events. As visitors climb the lane up the slope, they can see the bakery shop through the olive grove, and from the top, the line of buildings is visible down the slope.
We look forward to seeing how the community will come together at this site, with travelers taking a rest under the olive trees, a lot of young people gathering in the gallery and interaction with the local people taking place.