I thought it might be worth talking a little more about my tutor. He has been working with us since the beginning and will be through the end masters.

There is not much about Yusuke on the net so I can’t point you to his firm or a profile. But there is a short entry on one of my favorite architecture blogs, Pruned, about his graduate thesis at Princeton, the wave garden, for which he won some awards I believe. He also runs a practice with his wife called Foresites in Berlin, I can’t find any projects, but I know he has shown in exhibits in Europe.

He seems like a closet formalist, in the sense that he tries to hide his love of form under a coat of everything else. But he doesn’t do a good job of hiding it and maybe he does not even try. For him “at the end of the day” (his phrase) it must look good, or be “elegant” or “sensual.” For those of you who know my architectural taste, know that formalism is not my thing. I take it as a challenge to work like this. I know I can do theory, but form and design are things that I am sometimes challenged by so I think this is good spot for me.

Also the formalism here is pretty rigorous, ie it has to be backed up by logic, theory, or at least just be mezmorizingly beautiful for anyone to buy it. Yusuke talks a lot about culture, context, and program in his briefs and in our reviews, so its not just form even for him. He has given us some really good ideas and keeps pushing us to do more, which is good. I think he likes the project.

Yusuke does have some tics. As already mentioned he says “at the end of the day” a lot, usually when he’s about to mention the importance of form. During desk reviews he always goes “huh” when we show him something we’ve done. Initially we thought it meant that he was interested in what we said, but he does it all the time. I thinks its just his way of giving himself the time to think about what he is say. Now we are starting to be able to tell the difference between a good “huh!” and a not so good “huuh.” The other thing he does is be late or not be there at all. Already you have seen the example at the crit, he tends to show up about an hour and a half after he says for desk visits, and he likes to send email messages saying things are delayed or canceled about 5 minutes before they are supposed to happen. As we go we’ll run into many more.

While we were in Paris (more on that later), Tom and Theo told us that while he was at Princeton, Yusuke lived in the back of his truck, which is a long way from the rather clean cut guy who is our professor. I’ll ask him about that one day over a beer and report back as to what was actually going on.


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