Architect Kim Yao speaks to students

October 29, 2015


School of Design architecture students look at slides during an artist lecture given by architect Kim Yao’s in the  F. Jay Taylor Visual Arts Center–Photo by Jonathan Shaul

School of Design architecture students look at slides during an artist lecture given by architect Kim Yao’s in the F. Jay Taylor Visual Arts Center–Photo by Jonathan Shaul


Staff Reporter | fpn001@latech.edu


Louisiana Tech students gathered in the F. Jay Taylor Visual Art Center to hear architect Kim Yao discuss her work and future plans for upcoming buildings Monday, Oct. 19.


Tech’s architecture program is a five year program, including a  year as a grad student.


The faculty and staff  of the department said they believe hearing from a professional architecture could open eyes to young architect students.


“Today we’re gathered for guest speaker Kim Yao and she’s discussing the projects her firm is working on,” said sophomore architect major Iana Dingle.


Yao presented 30 slides that displayed works (such as chicken pens) from her very first year having a firm in 2004, to now bigger projects in 2015.


“One of the things in her presentation that caught my attention the most would be her working for a large company with only two partners,” Dingle said.


Yao holds a bachelors and masters degree in architecture from Columbia University and Princeton University and owns her own firm called Architecture Research Office along with two other partners.


“We are basically 25 percent based in New York and two partners and I do different work across the world,” said Yao. “We can purposely say we each embrace our diversity in the works of residential projects, malls, fast food restaurants, governmental etc.,” Yao said.


Yao’s company was established from collaborating with an American furniture company called Knoll. One of Yao’s recent projects took place a year ago at Tulane.


The firm built a 256-bed resident dorm due to an increase in freshman enrollment.


The dorm is an apartment for residents, faculty and also holds classrooms and individual study rooms.


“The Barbara Greenbaum House, located on the uptown campus of Tulane University, is an approximately 80,000 square foot residential hall, with a four-story wing stepping back to a six-story wing,” Yao said.“It houses 256 students in 144 rooms organized on the upper floors in clusters of single and double occupancy suites.”


The dorm also contains a living room and commons, demonstration kitchen, a 35-seat classroom, social and study lounges and an entry lobby off.


“Well, I was impressed with the body of work she did with the projects such as University of Cincinnati’s stadium, Tulane’s new dorm, to a better McDonald’s,” said Monroe resident Rod Werner.


He said he has been on campus a few times and was  interested in Yao’s work for the big things she does with a small office.


The Architecture Research Office built a press box on the University of Cincinnati’s campus that holds space for private suites, indoor club seating, as well as loge boxes.


“We did a stadium on campus called Nippert and we also did the West Pavillion,” Yao said. “We added a press box and concessions and were able to add from 35,000 to 40,000, but it can fit 1,200 guests in the club and suite.”


Yao’s firm has a total of 25 licensed architects who perform different works across the country from things such as pigeon coops to large CEO companies.


“Her work is very inspiring for young aspiring architects,” said junior architect major Lane Walters. “Her company is so diverse and her designs are specialized on schools to playhouses and then to football stadiums.”


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