Text by Rachel Carvosso; images courtesy of Yusuke Yamamoto
Tucked away in the Architecture section, I discovered Yusuke Yamamoto and his "Moveable Movie Theater" project. Yamamoto, an architect, started this independent project after volunteering in the area ravaged by the earthquake and tsunami last year. Yamamoto told me many survivors he came across would express the simple desire to go see a movie—impossible to do when all the movie theaters in the region have been destroyed. While discussing the revitalization of the region's film industry with a professor of film at Tohoku University, Yamamoto came up with the design for his theater.
Current laws prohibit the building of certain permanent structures in the earthquake and tsunami ravaged region, but Yamamoto's moveable movie theater turns the problem into a design feature. The theater's rectangular structure is designed to allow easy transportation on one truck, with each level sitting within each other, like a Russian doll. Stretching out like an accordion when in use, the design (currently in a prototype production phase) will feature wood sourced from the local region. The current design fits about 30 people inside, and also features bookshelves along the sides, to double as a movable library.
While much of the world's media has turned it's attention away from the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami, it's heartwarming to see designers and creators quietly lending a hand with the skills they have available. Architecture and design provide great ways to respond concretely to the needs of the survivors, and Yamamoto said hopes to bring "smiles to the faces" of those currently living in the Tohoku region.