English 382: Hotel Orient

Professor: Wan-Chuan Kao, Assistant Professor of English

Course offered: Spring 2014

Course website:

Student website: Ryokan Higashiyama | Historic Bed & Breakfast

Course description:

This course focused on the literary, cinematic, and historical representations of the encounters between East and West through the space of the hotel. Student read literature, viewed films, wrote interpretive essays, engaged in discussions, and produced a digital humanities project.

This course asked students, firstly, to create a hotel in the Orient using historical, literary, and cinematic hotels as design muses and guidelines, and secondly, to build the hotel not in the physical world but the virtual realm. By situating Hotel Orient in cyberspace, students bypassed the constraints of physical laws and were free to reshape hotel consciousness and to investigate what precisely constitutes a hotel experience. Moreover, the use of computing tools alleviated the need of prior experience or expertise in architecture, design, and IT on the part of students. The digital Hotel Orient is therefore a fun and fantastical nexus of technology, architecture, text, multimedia, and the human.

Methodology: 3D Modeling and SketchUp