Shuttling through time zones is second nature for Yichen Lu, the 39-year-old founder and principal of Studio Link-Arc. Lu—a Shanghai native who doubles as an associate professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing—spent this year bouncing between New York and China, with frequent stops in Italy to supervise the construction of the Milan Expo’s China Pavilion
Kindred spirits” is how the four partners at Studio Ma describe themselves, and their affinities can be broadly divided into two camps: their respect for and love of the American Southwest, where they are based, and the drive to produce good design on tight budgets.
In much of their work, Unchung Na, 36, and Sorae Yoo, 32, the husband and wife who founded NAMELESS Architecture in 2010, challenge themselves to express contradictions in architecture: take heavy stones and stack them so they appear almost weightless; design a building that seems both closed and open, at once strong and weak.
Tokyo may be among the world’s largest cities, but it has some of the smallest buildings. At critical nodes such as Roppongi and Shinjuku, the city has plenty of skyscrapers and hulking commercial complexes, yet its character is mostly defined by dense, low-scale neighborhoods where the majority of buildings are no more than five stories high.