Neri&Hu: Obsessions followed by conversation with Calvin Tsao
Current Work lecture series at The Architectural League of New York
The lecture will be followed by a conversation with Calvin Tsao, founding partner of Tsao & McKown.
November 9, 20187:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
The Great Hall
The Cooper Union
7 East 7th Street
New York, NY
Current Work is a lecture series featuring leading figures in the worlds of architecture, urbanism, design, and art.
Norman Kleeblatt Symposium
Norman Kleeblatt at Work: Conversations on a Curatorial Practice
Calvin Tsao to speak at symposium in honor of Norman Kleeblatt’s career.
Friday, November 2, 2018
1:00 PM – 6:00 PM in the Lecture Hall
The Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
1 East 78th Street
Norman Kleeblatt (MA Art History, Diploma in Conservation, IFA ‘75) is a curator, art historian, and critic, especially renowned for his well-crafted and broad ranging yet highly personal exhibitions. Since the 1980s, his shows have introduced new discursive frames for modern and contemporary art and society in Europe and the United States from the early nineteenth century to the present. He recently stepped down from his position as Chief Curator at the Jewish Museum after a tenure of over forty years at the institution. This symposium will be an opportunity for scholars and artists to reflect on and discuss Kleeblatt’s most influential exhibitions, including The Dreyfus Affair: Art, Truth and Justice (1987), Too Jewish? Challenging Traditional Identities(1996), and Action/Abstraction: Pollock, de Kooning, and American Art, 1940–1976 (2008) among many others, as well as his rethinking of art and cultural history, exhibition and institutional models. The afternoon will consist of two thematic sections, each with papers and panel discussions, followed by a conversation with Kleeblatt.
Calvin Tsao to Jury NYCxDesign Awards
A DESIGN AWARDS PROGRAM
BUILT FOR NEW YORK CITY
The NYCxDESIGN Awards celebrates outstanding achievement across major areas of design—from architecture to interiors, from products to accessories, from craft to technology.
Deadline: April 18, 2018
Interior Design Roundtable Explores the Possibilities of the Health and Wellness Sector
On March 20, Zack McKown participated in Interior Design’s Health and Wellness Roundtable, an industry-focused discussion exploring the ways in which wellness has become an indispensable design paradigm in the contemporary architecture and design scene.
Walking a Tightrope: Planning Livable Communities for the Future, in China and Beyond
Calvin Tsao, Tsao & McKown, FAIA, Paul Whalen, Robert A. M. Stern Architects (RAMSA), FAIA, and Miriam Roure, Program Director at URBAN-X, discuss best practices for planning livable communities with Sarah Williams Goldhagen, critic, consultant, and author of Welcome to Your World (HarperCollins, 2017). The panel discussion takes as its point of departure two recent projects in China: Tsao & McKown’s Sangha, a residential and wellness community outside Suzhou, and RAMSA’s Heart of Lake, a high-rise garden suburb in Xiamen. Finding the balance between learning from the vernacular, embracing technology’s potential to enhance the experience of place, and knowing when to ‘unplan’ as well as to plan are among the topics. `Walking a Tightrope’ assumes an urgent need to establish human-centric urban design models for the future in the wake of the failures of post-war urban planning in the US. and the rapid urbanization in China.
Thu 5 April 2018
6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
29 Norman Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Lecture: Calvin Tsao on Dedication, Determination, and Design at Asia Society Hong Kong
Calvin Tsao lectures at the Asia Society Hong Kong
While the global population continues to increase, so do issues relating to social inequality, heritage preservation and environmental degradation. How could a contemporary architect be of best service to our places for now and beyond? Calvin Tsao examines this pressing question in the presentation, where he shares aspects of his life journey, beginning with his childhood in Hong Kong, then lessons learned from other places around the world that shaped his outlook and formed the basis of his works.
Tue 12 Dec 2017
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Asia Society Hong Kong Center
9 Justice Drive, Admiralty
Metropolis, ICFF, and NYCxDESIGN discuss the ‘New’ New York
Metropolis Magazine‘s Editor Paul Makovsky invited Calvin Tsao, Layng Pew (Principal, WXY Architecture + Urban Design), and Crystal Ellis (Co-founder, Egg Collective) to speak the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York City (details below).
The panel will explore the best of New York City’s architecture, interiors and public spaces from the past three years.
This event also is part of NYCxDESIGN, for which Calvin Tsao served on the awards jury.
The ‘New’ New York
Monday, May 22, 2PM
ICFF at Jacob J. Javits Convention Center
655 W. 34th Street
New York, NY
More information here.
Happy 100th Birthday, I.M. Pei!
On April 26, I.M. Pei turned 100 years old.
Calvin Tsao worked for Pei on the design and construction of the Fragrant Hotel in Beijing, which opened in 1982. Quoted about his mentor in Archinect during an event at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, Calvin reflected: “[Pei] moved way beyond the edifice [to consider] the entire environment, context, history, both the historical as well as the contemporary, the scholarship as well as the pragmatic and the poetic. He’s always looking at things in between, and that’s why it’s so hard to put him into a category. He’s not an academic or a conceptualist or a pragmatist, because he’s all of that, all at once…it’s his way with people. I can’t say whether he’s my mentor or my boss or whether he’s an inspiration, because he gets inside of you.”
Below is a picture of Pei, Calvin, and members of the project team at the Fragrant Hill Hotel in 1981.
“How Our Lives Evolved in Creative Ways We Never Anticipated”
Zack McKown joined three-time Emmy winning documentary writer and producer Jaime Bernanke to speak as Honors College alumni at the University of South Carolina.
The Integral Conversation Conference discusses the legacy of I.M. Pei in China
The Integral Conversation provides an independent platform for experts from diverse fields to bring together their insights and perspectives on a range of topics related to sustainability.
Calvin Tsao joined Li Chung Pei (Partner at Pei Partnership Architects as well as son of I.M. Pei), Jianfei Zhu (Associate Professor of Architecture, Building, and Planning at the University of Melbourne), and Clifford Pearson (Director of the American Academy of China) to discuss I.M. Pei’s impact on a young generation of Chinese-born architects dedicated to sustainable urban design.
“Renowned architects and urban planners will discuss how architecture, through I.M. Pei’s works, transcends cultural and time boundaries and helps integrate human beings into nature in a harmonious way. We will also explore new concepts of living which emphasize the formation of self-sustaining, culturally-rich and human-centered communities.”
Calvin Tsao speaks at Shanghai’s Salone del Mobile
Responding to the theme “Delightful,” Calvin discussed how design can bring joy to people by creating spaces and products that are functional and meaningful: designers can provide utility while also giving shape to psychologies, behaviors, and values. This approach requires designers to constantly rethink the functions and forms of their work according to the needs, identities, and contexts they serve.
Letter to the Developer: 14+ Foundation
The Storefront for Art and Architecture invited Calvin Tsao and Zack McKown as part of a select group of architects, curators, historians, and critics, to write a letter to a New York City developer of their choice – one who they believe should be recognized for making a positive contribution to public life, and whose work should become part of the norm of how development occurs.
Calvin and Zack wrote a letter to the 14+ Foundation, which has collaborated with New York architects to build the Chipakata Children’s Academy and the Mwabwindo School in rural Zambia, to express admiration of their mission to bring vital communal and educational spaces to people and regions in need.
Read our letter to the 14+ Foundation here.
Calvin Tsao & Zack McKown named Fellows of the Urban Design Forum
The Urban Design Forum announces Calvin Tsao & Zack McKown as part of the 2016 Class of Fellows, a group of civic leaders shaping “dynamic, equitable and resilient cities around the world.”
Calvin Tsao speaks about ‘Balance’ at TEDxShanghai
On May 7, 2016, Calvin Tsao spoke on the theme of ‘balance’ in his life and work at TEDxShanghai. He discussed what he believes to be a central purpose of architecture: to create physical spaces that provide utility and shape psychologies, behaviors, and values.
He says: “Is our craft enough? Is our technique enough? Is our love for making beautiful things enough? We realized that we gotta do something more, we can’t just be stuck in our own vocation or our own profession. We have to look at how these things impact our society.”
“Beauty—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial” opens February 12
We completed the exhibition design for Beauty, the fifth installment of the Cooper Hewitt, The Smithsonian National Design Museum’s contemporary design exhibition series. The exhibition runs February 12 through August 21, 2016.
“Featuring recent work from the most outstanding voices in the global design scene, ‘Beauty’ will expand the discourse around the transformative power of aesthetic innovation,” said Caroline Baumann, director of the museum. “The exhibition will celebrate design as a creative endeavor that engages the mind, body and senses with works of astonishing form and surprising function.”
Project: Beauty – Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial
“Favorite Hotels in the World”
Condé Nast Traveler names the Wheatleigh Hotel one of its “Favorite Hotels in the World.”
In our renovation of this historic family estate, we created a broad set of visual cues, imagining that the house had remained in the continuous ownership of one family with each succeeding generation contributing to its décor. Interiors are at once diverse and luxurious, historically evocative and comfortably familial. The result is a thoroughly modern and luxurious interpretation of Gilded Age grandeur in the Berkshires.
New York Spaces names Tsao & McKown a Top 50 NYC Designer
From the article: “The two have a distinctive way of thinking that attracts a remarkable array of clients with an astonishing range of projects: from private residential spaces stateside to countries like China, for which the architects have planned eco-friendly communities.”
Architectural Digest selects Tsao & McKown for the 2016 AD100
Architectural Digest’s AD100 is a list of “the world’s best architects and designers who are shaping the way we live.”
From our profile in this year’s issue: “Partners Calvin Tsao and Zack McKown have adapted their sensuous vision of modernism to projects of vastly different types and scales, always with an emphasis on materials’ emotional as well as aesthetic qualities.”
Calvin Tsao at the New Museum
On November 20, Calvin Tsao will moderate a panel at the New Museum as part of the Open City Symposium, which celebrates an anthology of architecture created by the students of The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at The Cooper Union in studios conducted by the architect Diane Lewis with a team of colleagues from 2001-2014. Calvin Tsao taught a studio with Diane Lewis on the principles derived from the work of artist Lucio Fontana.
In addition to his former students, Calvin will be joined on the panel by guest speakers Wendy Evans Joseph, Alex Kwartler, and Gaetano Pesce.
Preservation in Global Cities at The Museum of the City of New York
On September 10, Calvin Tsao will join Lisa Ackerman (Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, World Monuments Fund) and Jorge Otero-Pailos (Architect, Founder and Editor of “Future Anterior,” and Associate Professor of Historic Preservation, Columbia University) as panelist in a public program at the Museum of the City of New York titled Preservation in Global Cities. Budd Mishkin, NY1 News Correspondent, will moderate.
A reception to follow.
More information, including how to RSVP, here.
Every global city today faces the challenge of protecting their unique urban architectural heritage (often a core component of their tourist brand) while encouraging continuing economic development and growth. But the theory and practice of preservation can differ greatly on different continents and according to different cultures…This program delves into the themes of the Museum’s current exhibition Saving Place: 50 Years of New York City Landmarks, on view until January 3, 2016.
Here, we show an image from Xiqu Urban Development, a new model for urban development in the rapidly emerging Chinese market completed in partnership with Octave.
Calvin Tsao in Open City: Existential Urbanity
Open City: Existential Urbanity is an anthology of architecture created by the students of The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at The Cooper Union in studios conducted by the architect Diane Lewis with a team of colleagues from 2001-2014. Calvin Tsao taught a studio with Diane Lewis on the principles derived from the work of artist Lucio Fontana.
In his essay for the anthology titled, “Art/Architecture: Invitation & Intention,” Tsao writes:
“Limits, self-imposed, situation-based, or contextual, focused the critical process of the studio. Principles and limits, individual or collective, provide constraints. This concept is liberating, embodied in Fontana’s definitive punctures and piercings of the canvas…That move – the cut – is an example of how restraining conditions within an art can hone a work. The constraint versus the possibility is open; constraints expose opportunity. If the constraint generates the possibility, one must discover how to define it and how to reveal it.”
Calvin Tsao in The New Yorker
The New Yorker’s Culture Desk features the final presentations of Kevin Waltz and Alex Schweder’s interior design studio Housing the Homeless in NYC (taught jointly at Parsons The New School for Design and the Pratt Institute). Calvin Tsao, Cindy Allen, and Susan Sarandon served as guest critics.
“The class comes at a grim juncture in the history of New York City housing and its fraught relationship with homelessness. The number of homeless people in the city is the highest it’s even been – in March, the Coalition for the Homeless, a leading advocacy organization, placed the number of people living in shelters at just above sixty thousand, including almost twenty-five thousand children.”
Zack McKown in the Wall Street Journal
In the Wall Street Journal‘s “The Complete A-Z Guide to Tiles,” Zack McKown pairs tiles to illustrate how design can embrace narratives found in nature.
Here, we show an exterior detail from the Piedmont House.
Departures 2015 Design Council
Tsao & McKown is in Departures’ 2015 Design Council.
“The firm believes that the design process must begin with a holistic focus on the environmental, psychological, historical and economic aspects of a particular set of lives.”
Zack McKown in New York Magazine
Zack McKown chooses Paul Rudolph’s living room for “18 Architects and Designers on Their Favorite Rooms of All Time.”
“Rudolph is often described as Brutalist, but there’s nothing severe or somber about the space. The thrusting I-beams, canopied walkways, and floating stairs create these beautiful social and living areas. And though the design looks so new, it really fits into the older building.”
Calvin Tsao to participate in symposium at the Fashion Institute of Technology
On April 27, the Fashion Institute of Technology and New York Magazine will hold a symposium on hospitality design. Hosted by Joseph Lembo and moderated by Wendy Goodman, the event includes panelists Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz, Clodagh, and Calvin Tsao.
Fashion Institute of Technology
D Building, Room D 207
227 W. 27th Street, New York City
Heart and Home: Rooms that Tell Stories profiles Calvin Tsao & Zack McKown
“All of our belongings engage us in some form of interchange,” says McKown. “They’re there for the sake of contemplation.”
More on Heart & Home here.
Curbed New York recognizes William Beaver House
Curbed names the William Beaver House seventh in 14 Most Popular Buildings of 2014, a ranking of residential projects in New York City “with the most overall units sold.”
In addition to the distinctiveness, sensitivity, and quality of design, the success of the building results from Tsao & McKown’s in-depth market analysis and branding services provided at the early stages of the project’s conception.
For more on the William Beaver House, click here.
“Allowing viewers to become more aware of their built environment” – Interior Design Magazine
An article on the Interior Design Magazine website documents Tsao & McKown’s Re[Framing] Provincetown installation as a way to “spark a conversation about the area and what once existed there.”
Please click here to read the full press release.
“An Elegantly Produced Exhibition” – Mel Bochner: Strong Language at The Jewish Museum, New York
The New York Times calls Tsao & McKown’s Mel Bochner: Strong Language exhibition design “elegantly produced” in their review. On show until September 21st the exhibition exposes “the secret power of synonyms” drawing upon Mel Bochner’s past and present work with words.
The exhibition was a highly collaborative effort between the architects, the curator Norman Kleeblatt from The Jewish Museum, and Mel Bochner himself. After viewing the completed installation for the first time, Mr. Bochner wrote the following:
“It’s beautiful. Subtle, but powerful. Architecture-as-spatial-choreography.”
Re[Framing] Provincetown: Animating Through History
We are proud to announce the opening of Re[Framing] Provincetown: Animating History Through Sharing, an installation and following exhibition (September 26th – October 26th), which creates links between The Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM) and the Provincetown community, to share in the history, perspective and perception of the town.
A series of diptych ‘frames’ are positioned in strategic locations throughout Provincetown, allowing visitors to engage in the present view, whilst identifying changes from a historical photo or painting of the same view, present in the second frame.
The installation will be on view until the end of October. Please click here for further information.
Tsao & McKown has moved …
We are excited to have joined the creative community at The Old American Can Factory in Gowanus, Brooklyn for the next two years while we’re on the hunt for our next home ….
As of May 12th, 2014 our new address is:
242 Third Street
Brooklyn, New York 11215
Our main number remains the same 212.337.3800
2010 American Architecture Award
William Beaver House has been recognized by the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design” in conjunction with the European Centre for Architecture and Design and Urban Studies” with a 2010 American Architecture Award for Most Significant Contemporary Architecture in the US.
WBH will be included in a special exhibition of all winners at their annual conference, The City and The World: Madrid Symposium” before traveling to the Athens Museum and then Istanbul.
AIA New York State Citation for William Beaver House
The William Beaver House in Manhattan’s financial district has received a Citation from the New York State AIA. In addition to this most recent recognition, the William Beaver House has been lauded for its architecture and interiors by other prestigious organizations, and has received extensive local and international coverage.
The First Lady Hosts National Design Awards
The First Lady hosts a ceremony at the White House for the winners and finalists of the 2009 National Design Awards, part of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. She praises the recipients for their innovative ideas, and for serving as inspiration for future generations of designers. July 24, 2009.
Video: The First Lady addresses the NDA Winners
Article on the Cooper-Hewitt Awards
Smithsonian – Cooper Hewitt National Design Award
The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum has selected TsAO & McKOWN for the 2009 National Design Award in Interior Design.
New York Times Article regarding the Awards
OPEN: an exhibition by Tsao & McKown
Syracuse University School of Architecture
April 17th – May 9th
OPEN is a dyptical exhibition in which the gallery space is devoted to use by the students, and the materials are primarily viewed on a website created for the exhibition: sevenprojects.net
National Design Awards Gallery
TsAO & McKOWN has been featured in the National Design Awards Gallery. The NDA celebrates design as a vital humanistic tool in shaping the world, and seek to increase awareness of design by educating the public and promoting excellence, innovation, and lasting achievement in American design. Explore the work of the winners, finalists, and jurors of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Awards in the gallery.
Best of Year Awards 2012 – Winner
The Lumiere project in Taipei wins the Best of Year Award in the Residential Public Space Model category.
Merit was also awarded to Gary Morgenroth and Tsao & McKown for the Beresford Residence in the large apartment category.
Tsao & McKown is participating in the Practical Utopias Symposium ‘The Diversity of International Work in Asia’ at the AIA New York Center for Architecture as part of Archtober.
Calvin Tsao is partaking in the symposium panel entitled ‘Urbanism, Culture, and Quality of Life in Asian Cities’, and the exhibition at the AIA Center for Architecture in New York also includes Tsao & McKown’s Suntec City project in Singapore.
The Exhibition will run from October 1st, 2013 – January 18th, 2014 at The Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place, New York
Tsao & McKown Bring Eco Friendly Designs to China
Tsao & McKown are featured in The Wall Street Journal online and in print on Saturday 12th of October. The article written by Karen Stein references the offices past experience designing in China and addresses design methodologies for the future.
Read the full article here
Cocktails & Conversations
On Friday October 18th, following the release of the WSJ article, Calvin Tsao & Karen Stein (Design Consultant and Writer) will be in conversation at the Center for Architecture, discussing issues facing the architectural profession and how we can go beyond the physicality of buildings.
Friday Archtober 18th, Center for Architecture, New York
Tickets include one drink: $12.50 (AIA members) / $15 (non AIA members)
The evening also includes cocktails by bartender and author Eben Klemm.
Center for Architecture Website
Video: Cocktails & Conversation
Inside to Outside
Privacy and Public Space in the Sustainable City
Wednesday, November 6, at 6:30pm @ NYSID
Leading architects Hugh Hardy and Calvin Tsao discuss the links between public and private, interior and exterior, and how creative planning in today’s cities can enhance human interaction and sustainable design.
Preservation in Asian Cities
On Tuesday December 3rd, at 6:30pm Calvin Tsao will be speaking as part of the Center for Architecture’s ‘Preservation in Asian Cities’ panel. We hope to see you there!
Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place, New York
6:30pm – 8.30pm
Lumiere Living in Interior Design
Tsao & McKown’s Lumiere Residences are featured in the new 2014 Interior Design Yearbook Professional Edition. The photo casebook reflects upon how the project develops an understanding of how essential classic models and past precedents can inform a contemporary context.
Visiting Professor: Calvin Tsao
Calvin Tsao will teach a design studio at Parsons: The New School for Design during the Spring Semester of 2012. The MFA interior design residential studio aims to explore implications, constraints and possibilities of newly constructed interiors in New York City through investigation of political, economic, and social conditions. The studio will be taught with Derek Porter and Mike Lee.
Mel Bochner: Strong Language Exhibition
Tsao & McKown are the exhibition designers for the current Mel Bochner: Strong Language exhibition at the Jewish Museum in New York. The artist Mel Bochner was also featured on the April cover of Art in America.
Mel Bochner: Strong Language
The Jewish Museum, New York
May 2nd – September 21st 2014
New York Times Review
Piedmont House is featured in Remodelista’s Chinese New Year Issue. The article details the multi-cultural sensibilities of the house.
Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) Legacy Award
Calvin Tsao to receive the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) Legacy Award.
MOCA: With this years celebration we seek to honor game changers, those whove made a difference by challenging stereotypes and exceeding expectations across variety of fields.
We are honored to announce that Calvin Tsao has received the Legacy Award from the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA). Congratulations to the fellow awardees: Silas Chou (President and CEO, Novel Holdings Group), Angelica Cheung (Editor in Chief, Vogue China), and Humberto Leon and Carol Lim (Co-Founders, Opening Ceremony).
The annual Legacy Award gala will take place at Cipriani Wall Street on December 3, 2012.