WHY Architecture is a team of interdisciplinary makers and thinkers, committed to creating lasting connections between people, culture, and place. Founded in 2004 by Kulapat Yantrasast, WHY is a multi-disciplinary design practice based in Los Angeles and New York City, and the practice is organized as five interdependent workshops: Buildings, Landscape, Museums, Objects, and Ideas. Shall we have a look at some projects?
Kentucky’s oldest and largest art institution – encompasses a thorough revitalization of the original 1927 neoclassical building, incorporating two new wings and a sculpture park. Located in relation to the University of Louisville’s Belknap campus and integrated within a network of parks and parkways designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the museum is ideally placed to reach out into the surrounding area. Our approach was inspired by this potential for openness and outreach, designing an intelligent and responsive structure that grows from its environment.
The Galleries of the Arts of Africa, Oceania and the Americas at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
WHY has been commissioned to undergo a complete conceptual and physical redesign of the galleries which house the museum’s collection of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and The Americas. The collection has more than doubled in size since the Rockefeller Wing was first inaugurated in the 1980s, and practices of art history and curation have radically changed. The new concept for the spaces reflects the need to convey the autonomy of the hundreds of distinct cultures represented in the galleries, and the design process is guided by close collaboration with curators and stakeholders.
The Tchaikovsky Academic Opera & Ballet Theater
The city of Perm is renowned for its rich cultural heritage, and WHY has been selected to design a new opera and ballet theater as part of a major urban regeneration campaign. Inspired by the region’s dramatic geology, the structure is imagined as a rock that rises from the geological outcrop above the valley. It’s also a highly porous form – instead of an enclosed bastion of high culture, the theater is wrapped in a glass curtain wall for maximum openness and transparency.
Rees Ridge Street Park in Toronto
WHY’s competition-winning design for a new waterfront park in Toronto was inspired by the Scarborough Bluffs – the iconic cliffs which rise above Lake Ontario. The site is currently dominated by the busy Gardner Expressway, and the new park will celebrate the drama and scale of the city’s infrastructure while opening new connections to the waterfront. Rather than resisting the industrial character of the site, the design heals the divide between the natural world and the built environment, creating a hybrid of monumental architectural forms and biodiverse natural planting.
EPACENTER: East Palo Alto Youth Arts & Music Center
EPACENTER Youth Arts & Music Center marks an important turning point for community-led design. The center will offer outstanding services in arts education and personal empowerment for young people in East Palo Alto, fostering the creative energy of a diverse local population which has experienced decades of disenfranchisement. The new building is designed for longevity and resilience, with adaptive spaces that can evolve with the organization and remain responsive to community needs and the changing cultural environment.
The Institute of Contemporary Arts in Los Angeles
As a non-collecting institution uninhibited by art world traditions, the ICA decided to rethink the traditional gallery model when they moved to a new building in the Downtown LA Arts District. Working with the ICA to rethink the relationship between art, visitors, and staff, WHY created a new gallery space that accommodates ambitious exhibitions, new media installations, and community-led social practice art.