MIKA YAMAGUCHI

Mika Yamaguchi

SAY IT LOUD - Ohio Exhibitor

Ohio Based Designer

Who or what inspires you professionally?

Working with mission-driven non-profit clients who are passionate about making the world a better place inspire me in my work. Outside of work, environmental land defenders remind me that there are struggles far greater than my individual challenges.

MIKA YAMAGUCHI

Bio:

Mika is Pacific islands-based architect who works on an eclectic range projects. From building street furniture in Los Angeles to workplace design in DC, she has contributed to projects in Hawaii, California, the east coast of the United States, & currently, the nation of Palau. Mika works with clients & consultants through adaptive, collaborative & place-specific processes. Her holistic approach seeks to pursue creative, socially sensitive & environmentally responsible architectural solutions.

How did you first learn about architecture and when did you decide that built environment profession was an area of interest for you?

I grew up on the beach building with driftwood, sand, & rock. It was very natural to be interested early on. Later, when I chose architecture, I was driven by a desire to make things & to help people in a socially & environmentally responsible way.

What do you do?

I practice architecture, island/urban design, & art on Maui, Hawaii & in the island nation of Palau. I mentor & teach young designers. I cycle, surf, run long distances & try my best to keep track of politics & issues regarding climate change.

What excites you in the work you do?

I am excited to work with clients who care about the state of the environment & their community. I am interested in multi-modal transit, small businesses, & building design for non-profits. My favorite work tends to be simple, utilitarian & public.

Who or what inspires you professionally?

Working with mission-driven non-profit clients who are passionate about making the world a better place inspire me in my work. Outside of work, environmental land defenders remind me that there are struggles far greater than my individual challenges.

What is your proudest professional accomplishment or achievement?

Recently licensed & working as Senior Associate at a job that I loved in DC, my partner moved away & I left everything after 8 months to join him. Without much planning, I started my own firm & survived one year self-employed; I’m still surviving.

Featured Project Name: 

Plastic Monuments Competition Entry Project - “WHALE WATCH: Urban Trash and Augmented 

 

Featured Project Location: 

Piazza Maggiore in Bologna, Italy

 

Featured Project Completion Date: 

Unbuilt

Role in Featured Project: 

Co-designer with Utako Tanebe

 

Featured Project Description:

Plastic waste has impacted ecosystems worldwide, particularly threatening marine life; animals who have swallowed garbage are regularly seen by ocean communities. This competition design brings a coastal reality to the urban center as a monument. Life-size whale structures made of wood & recycled plastic become sculptural trash receptacles. Visitors can use smartphones & AR technology to witness images of beached whales overlaid onto the site & experience the impact of global plastic dependence.

Photography Credit:

Vani Lazaari / Wikimedia Roberto Taddeo / Flickr

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