The candidacy for Liberec2028 is an inspiration for the future
In the third of the series of interviews with ambassadors of the European Capital of Culture Liberec2028 project, we bring the views of Osama Okamura, who was born in Tokyo but currently leads the Faculty of Arts and Architecture at Technical University as Dean. He is an architect focused on creating a more livable city, influenced by his previous experience of living in several modernist settlements in Asia and Europe. Since the autumn of 2020, he has been one of the ambassadors of the Liberec2028 project - the European Capital of Culture. Ivan Langr, Deputy Mayor for Culture, Education, Social Affairs and Tourism, asked.
You have experience from all over the Europe, but now you live in Liberec and you are the Dean of Faculty of Art and Architecture. And at the same time you are the ambassador of Liberec 2028 project - European Capital of Culture. Why?
The school of Architecture in Liberec is already a legible cultural concept in our profession. It is not only the faculty itself, but also the "school" in the broadest sense of the word, ie the work of architects, both teachers and graduates, working in the Liberec region, who live and work in mutual communication and give rise to top works in a national context. Similarly, the scene in the field of contemporary art will gradually develop and is slowly establishing itself, especially in the public sphere. Therefore when I was invited to apply for Dean in Liberec in 2019, it was short consideration. The same was with the acceptance of the offer to become a cultural ambassador in Liberec.
What are the chances of Liberec to succeed in the candidacy?
I am looking forward to the results of the analysis of the cultural environment of the city of Liberec, which should be completed these days (the interview was conducted before the holidays, the strategy and candidacy were already approved by the council in June 2021 - author's note). It will help me to be more familiar with the Liberec cultural environment in all its diversity. For architecture, I can say that Liberec has a lot to offer to Europe. It will also be important to find a strong shared story for the Liberec candidacy, with which we will be able to identify and which will also be able to reach visitors.
How can Liberec and its surrounding region change thanks to winning the ECOC 2028, what can it bring to our citizens?
I already see in the candidacy itself a source of great inspiration for the future of the city and life in. Regardless the candidacy is successful or not. And if so, of course the better!
Dream from the future - Liberec won the title and we are in 2028. What should be definitely not missing in the city that particular year (programme, construction, etc.)?
Liberec Architecture Center, promoting carbon-neutral approaches in architecture and urban planning, representing model affordable housing for all, successful revitalization and recycling of older buildings, prefabricated houses or shopping centers, modern use of wood in construction, rainwater management and its projection into landscaping cities, connecting the city with the cultural landscape, top architectural, transport and urban infrastructure for active movement and sports or digitally enriched reality with works of art. Simply everything that belongs to a healthy, accommodating and habitable city of the 21st century, a city where it is a pleasure to live. We are already working on it with our students.