George Yu, a pioneer in digital architecture, died in Los Angeles of a type of lung cancer that afflicts nonsmokers. He was 43 years old. As both a designer and teacher, Yu helped shape the way that architects envision and use new technologies such as digital imaging and fabrication. But his work always kept the human user in the foreground, never turning technology into an ideology or fetish. He was able to do this, in part, by developing a keen sense for materials, light, and space.
“George was able to see the parameters of a digital world earlier than almost anyone else,” says Neil Denari, AIA, principal of NMDA, who taught with Yu at SCI-Arc. “When he started his own firm [in 1992] he was shocking in his ability to imagine how these technologies would change architectural practice. He also brought with him a spirit of collaboration and openness, while still being devoted to his own aesthetic.”