Tokyo Architect Alastair TownsendBorn in the UK and raised in the American Midwest, I left a promising career as a young cellist to study architecture. Upon graduating with my diploma from Architectural Association School of Architecture in London (where I also served on the charity’s board), I cut my teeth working in the practice of the pre-eminent British hi-tech architect, Sir Nicholas Grimshaw. There, I ran a small department that applied 3D digital design tools to some of the practice’s, most exciting and challenging projects. In 2006, I joined Youmeheshe (a Grimshaw spin-off) and built one of the world’s first world’s first parametrically-designed buildings: the Cutty Sark Pavilion. Later, I developed a fascination for building sustainable communities while working on one of the UK’s largest residential regeneration schemes, Barking Riverside, with Sheppard Robson.

In 2009, I moved to Tokyo and established my practice, BAKOKO Design Development, with Kayoko Ohtsuki. Working in Japan has been privilege and a challenge as we work with clients international and Japanese clients to bridge the East-West divide. Various international publications – including the Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Dwell, and Dezeen – have featured BAKOKO’s work.

My writing has appeared in architectural journals, both in-print and online, including A+U, ArchDaily, and Metropolis. My comments, particularly on the relationships between real estate economics and architecture, have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the Guardian, CNN, NHK, and the NPR. I am an enthusiastic public speaker, and have spoken to groups such as the ULI and Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.