What does it mean to have an integrated east-west approach to architecture?

For me, it means having a foundational understanding of both eastern and western design philosophies and responding to design challenges in a way that is true to both perspectives. Finding this balance isn’t always easy, but it is possible. It took me over 10 years to develop an integrated east-west approach to architectural design. The beauty of this approach is that you don’t have to chose one way of thinking over another, the integrated design provides universal harmony and balance.

My journey began with my formal studies of western architecture in 1992 at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California. The philosophy of the school was “learn by doing” so the curriculum cultivated an interactive and hands-on approach to architectural design and practice. Upon receiving my degree, I felt excited and ready to began practicing architecture.

Initially, I found myself leading design efforts for urban development and mixed-use projects, with a strong focus on the beautification of outdoor space. After a few years, my focus shifted to whole building design with an emphasis on community based buildings. This work allowed me to deepen the purpose of my work by giving back to the community and connecting with the building occupants who would experience my architecture on a regular basis. I enjoyed working on community centers and libraries because the work was dynamic, interactive, and full of functional and sustainable challenges.

After working on community oriented projects for about 8 years, I decided to deepen the sustainable focus and spirit of my work with explorations into eastern perspectives on design aesthetics and building traditions. In 2010 I began my formal studies of classical feng shui to broaden my design sensibilities and re-inspire my creativity in preparation for working with residential clients.

As I deepened my studies of classical feng shui, I started to see a multitude of connections and crossover between western design ideals and eastern methods of designing for balance and harmony. These connections lead me to develop an integrated approach to design that takes into account both the eastern and western perspectives.