Here, we ask designers to take a selfie and give us an inside look at their life.
Occupation: Architect and professor.
Hometown: Taipei, Chicago, Beijing, and Dallas.
Studio location: Boston.
Describe what you make: We make objects that we sometimes call essays in assembly, spaces, and buildings. We work fairly fluidly between these categories, often seeing the objects as concept models, prototypes, or maquettes for larger-scale work.
The most important thing you’ve designed to date: A shortlisted proposal for the Memorial to the Los Angeles Chinese Massacre of 1871.
Describe the problem your work solves: We’re interested in cultures of form and how buildings assemble, inflect, and reflect their various contexts, histories, and values. We see culture not just as identitarian or geographic in origin. We expand the term to include material cultures, building cultures, and architectural cultures as well. This formulation of our project really was spurred on by our shortlisted design of the Memorial to the Los Angeles Chinese Massacre of 1871, which sought to find shared diasporic cultural geometries and spatial typologies without relying on overt symbolism or imagery, both to unite diverse diasporic identities, and to provide an alternate framework in opposition to past uses of design in Chinatowns, which utilized self-caricature as self-defense.
Describe the project you are working on now: Forty units of “missing middle” housing in Vermont, which looks to produce cost-effective, dense models of development in a rural setting that is sensitive to wildlife corridors and Vermont patterns of outdoor life. Also, a research project in Iceland looking to develop a new mono-material construction system in basalt that is ethically situated within the Anthropocene in terms of thermal performance, carbon intensity, and sustainability, as well as learning from Icelandic vernacular turf house and basalt block construction.
A new or forthcoming project we should know about: An amphitheater and community hall in Southeast Asia designed to reorient surrounding residential towers towards a shared community space, ameliorating isolation through the generation of transparent gathering spaces, recreation, and visual connectivity.
What you absolutely must have in your studio: A chaotic number of large plants, cookies, and an espresso machine.
What you do when you’re not working: Cooking with loved ones, hiking, and reading—though the shelf of books to read seems to only grow.
Sources of creative envy: Robert Irwin, John Hejduk, Olafur Eliasson.
The distraction you want to eliminate: Emails and accounting.
Concrete or marble? Concrete.
High-rise or townhouse? Townhouse.
Remember or forget? Remember.
Aliens or ghosts? Aliens.
Dark or light? Light.