Our Honmoku Campus: Shaped by Our Yamate Home

Our Honmoku Campus: Shaped by Our Yamate Home

by Craig Coutts, Head of School

It is hard to believe that the time is almost here. After literally years of dreaming, talking and planning we are about to leave our home of 97 years and begin a new chapter at our new campus in Honmoku. The past few weeks have held mixed emotions for all of us. There have been some great memories shared by students, teachers, parents and alumni talking about the Yamate campus and the experiences they have shared here. We have celebrated through online postings, open days and formal events and we have tried as much as possible to capture some photos of the final weeks which we hope to share in the new year. But the time has come and as we say goodbye, we are ready to turn the page and look forward to our new chapter.

The “new campus” will very soon be called simply YIS. However, I want to remind everyone that although it looks very different physically, the design of our new home is actually very much guided by what the Yamate campus gives us and how it shaped us as a school and as a community. The reason we have such open shared spaces throughout the new buildings is that the halls, stairwells and common areas that we have here in Yamate have become symbols of collaboration, sharing and making every space a learning space. This was a significant influence in the way the new spaces are designed the way they are. We realize the importance of the gym, the turf and the dance studio, and so the sports facilities reflect the ever-growing importance of our sports and activities programs. The Cafeteria and Dragon Dining are part of our culture, and so this is one of the first spaces you will see coming onto the new campus, along with enhancements such as the new Dragon Cafe accompanied by outdoor seating. There has always been a strong tradition of music and drama and having opportunities to perform; now students cannot only perform in a purpose-built auditorium which comfortably seats over 400 people, they can also collaborate and practice in spaces designed and grouped together to encourage creativity. Likewise the Visual Arts and Design team have a space that is open and replicates an art and design studio, where students of all ages can create and share.

black and white picture of a wooden school building with children playing outside, circa 1924

YIS school house, circa 1925.

black and white picture of a 1-storey wooden school building with a dirt playing field.

 YIS school building, 1955.

Then there are the classrooms. They are open, grouped for collaboration and furnished to allow students to learn in spaces they feel most comfortable in. The large glass doors will allow learning to be seen by simply walking through the shared areas; teachers and students alike will be able to collaborate and learn from each other. The Library has always been at the center of what we do in the school. Now it is literally in the center of the building, and students, teachers and families will be in the middle of everything that is happening in the school, just by being in the library space. 

white 3-storey school building with the sign Yokohama International School on top

YIS Main Building, 1999. 

YIS Honmoku Campus, North Building. 

Our new campus is designed to be our space, it is designed to enhance our learning. It is YIS and it is our new home. So I hope soon that sadness and nostalgia, remnants of which will always linger, can be put down for a while, and we can allow ourselves to be excited about what lies ahead of us and the joy and opportunities our new home will bring. I can’t wait until I see you there.

I hope you all have a safe and relaxing winter break.

Take care,