Oussouby Sacko (Kyoto): The Role of Architecture Conservation for Communities‘ Continuity – Example of Historical Towns Djenne and Kyoto

Bauhaus-Universität Weimar
Marienstr. 13 C, Hörsaal A

In this presentation a common question will be asked, namely how to ensure continuity of communities, and what role can architecture restoration or renovation play in that process? These questions will be explored through two completely different communities and situations, historical towns of Djenne and Kyoto. Djenne has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988 and Kyoto alone has 17 historical monuments listed as UNESCO Heritage Sites.

In Malian historical towns, such as Djenne and Tombouctou, the construction process itself is a kind of family and community practice shaped by special ties that bind the traditional builders (masons) and the families that own the houses. A family has ‘their mason’, as much as the mason has‘ his family’. The relationship goes from father to son on both sides and lasts for the whole of their life. Traditional technics and intangible practices plays an important role both as a means of protection against professional risks and as part of communication codes between all participants in the house creation. Djenne, despite having this old tradition, is nowadays confronted with old houses’ restoration, building techniques conservation and therefore community continuity problems.

On the other hand, with a growing aging rate and a very low birth rate, Japan is facing a great transformation of its communities. This scourge of depopulation has affected almost the entire country. The city of Kyoto, with a 14.1% of uninhabited houses, suffers from decreasing demographics, and as result many elementary schools closed. Facing this crucial problem, Kyoto municipality has implemented renovation and revitalization projects, notably by supporting projects, such as artists’ integration, creators and modern artisans’ implementation into these empty houses. The „Escola“ project, which I will introduce in this presentation, is an example of Kyoto community renovation.

In this presentation, I would like at first to understand how the conservation of local construction practices can have impact on community’s continuity. Secondly, the introduction of „Escola“ project, its characteristics and the complex and varied problems it faces, will enable us to understand the renovation process and problems of a city in community transition like Kyoto.

Oussouby Sacko is Professor at the Department of Liberal Arts, Faculty of Humanities at Kyoto Seika University, Japan, and was Dean of Faculty from April 2013 until March 2017. Since April 2018 he is President of Kyoto Seika University. He is also affiliate to the Graduate School of Humanities and to the Graduate School of Design (Architecture).
Born in Mali (Bamako), he went to China (Beijing and Nanjing) after graduating high school to pursue his education in the field of Architecture. He got a Bachelor Degree from SouthEast University (Dongnan Daxue), Nanjing China. He moved to Japan afterward and got a Master Degree and a Doctor Degree of Engineering in the field of Architecture and Architecture Planning from the Graduate School of Engineering at Kyoto University, Japan. He has been conducted field researches and worked on housing planning, policy and design in Mali and Japan. Recently, his main interest is on community architecture, community re-design and architecture conservation, restoration in historical cities. He has recently conducted field researches in Japan, China, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Burkina Faso and Niger.
He is member of Ordre des Architectes du Mali (OAM) and member of many scientific associations such as, The Architectural Institute of Japan (AIJ), Architectural Design Association of Nippon (ADAN), The City Planning Institute of Japan (CPIJ), Japan Association For African Studies (JAAS), Society for the Study of Early Modern Kyoto, International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES), ICOMOS-MALI, ICOMOS-ISCARSAH, ICOMOS-ISCEAH and others.