For newly minted architects eager to see the world’s great buildings, international travel is a rite of passage. For Koji Tsutsui, it’s a way of life. Born and bred in Japan, educated in England, and having built his defining work to date in Uganda, the 39-year-old architect divides his time between offices in Tokyo and San Francisco. And he has no intention of changing his peripatetic style. Playing in multiple locations is a source of stimulation for him, as well as a strategy for coping with the economic downturn afflicting the United States and Japan.
These days Tsutsui spends just 10 to 14 days a month at home in Tokyo with his wife and young child. Yet 70 percent of his work is in Japan, where he is working on private residences in the Tokyo area and a center for the elderly in Aomori Prefecture. An NGO also hired Tsutsui to develop housing in Hokkaido for a neighborhood of homes devastated by the March 11 earthquake. To foster a sense of community and encourage growth, Tsutsui’s plan consists of fractal clusters of individual homes, which he hopes will be donated by prefab housing manufacturers.