YOLANDE DANIELS

Studio SUMO

SAY IT LOUD - New York

SAY IT LOUD - A'18

SAY IT LOUD - A'19

SAY IT LOUD - United Nations 

SAY IT LOUD - United Nations World Wide

New York Based Designer

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

I learned of architecture during my search for a major as a curious but undecided liberal arts student during a visit to Howard University to help my sister move into the engineering school. I saw architecture school next door and toured it and decided architecture was a mix of my interests in the Arts, math, and culture and that it was a way that I could work to improve the world. It was also a more acceptable major to my parents who wanted to know how I would earn a living than my other choices that primarily consisted of literature and Art (and also included botany, and geology).

YOLANDE DANIELS

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

I learned of architecture during my search for a major as a curious but undecided liberal arts student during a visit to Howard University to help my sister move into the engineering school. I saw architecture school next door and toured it and decided architecture was a mix of my interests in the Arts, math, and culture and that it was a way that I could work to improve the world. It was also a more acceptable major to my parents who wanted to know how I would earn a living than my other choices that primarily consisted of literature and Art (and also included botany, and geology).

What do you do?

In architecture, I have made a path that allows for the pursuit of my interests in architecture, interiors, design, art and writing. An average day combines an amalgam of at least two of these. I have worked in the field of architecture since 1984 as an intern and in small design firms and in studioSUMO, which I cofounded with a partner (Sunil Bald) 1995. I have also taught architecture consecutively since 1991 first at my alma maters City College (BARCH) and Columbia University (MARCH). I now teach at Parsons School of Design as a visiting associate professor in architecture. So, teaching is also added to the mix with practice and has been instrumental in assisting me to shape a research studio based practice alongside a traditional client based practice. 

What excites you in the work you do?

I am excited by many things in my work from design problem solving to design problem creation; from operating on an idea as a barely formed germ to formalizing and constructing the idea whether it is written or otherwise constructed. I consider the practice to consist meditations on ideas and forms. I am also inspired by the consistency of practice as well as the idiosyncrasies and chance in acts of creation. Although I do work alone and enjoy it, I have spent most of my practice as a partnership and I enjoy working with other creatives flowing ideas back and forth and seeing them grow and flourish as they are realized. 

Who or what inspires you professionally?

Professionally, I am inspired by dreamers who do: Steven Holl, as a teacher and architect inspires me to draw and paint and search for the poetic. Le Corbusier as a model for practice, inspires me to practice architecture and draw and paint and write...REM Koollhaus as a contemporary incarnation. Eileen Gray as a model of a total design practice. I am also inspired by women architects whom I have been taught by or worked for (Elizabeth Diller, Laurie Hawkinson, and Annabelle Selldorf to name a few) and whom I consider colleagues and role models. 

 

What is your proudest professional accomplishment or achievement?

My proudest professional achievement has been the construction of the Mizuta Museum of Art, the centerpiece of the Josai University campus, in Sakado Japan. 

Featured Project Name: 

Josai I-House Togane Global Village

 

Featured Project Location: 

Guymo, Togane-Shi, Chiba-Ken, Japan

 

Featured Project Completion Date: 

2016

Role in Featured Project: 

Architect of Record

 

Featured Project Description:

Josai I-House Togane Global Village is located in rural area of Chiba-prefecture. As Japan copes with a declining population, universities are trying to attract an increasingly international student body for both long and short term stays. Josai I-House is a new facility of Josai International University that nurtures human resources globally and also contributes to the revitalization of the local community.

 

This dormitory and International Center for approximately 140 international students efficiently houses, educates, and integrates a population that is both culturally and socially diverse through a collection of shared public spaces and rooms that range from singles and doubles with private baths, to rooms sleeping four with shared bathing facilities. This project was accomplished to produce a place to foster people who can play in the international arena. Here students from all over the world including Japan can live together, study each other’s language, acquaint various habitual practices, understand cultural diversity and grow up into well‐educated human with rich knowledge and global point of view.

 

The building is sited along the main access road to the university on the edge of an expanse of rice fields. It is comprised of a 9-meter wide dormitory bar that hovers over an International Center that projects out to engage the landscape. The International Center is comprised of a gallery, archive room, and an event space in memory of the late Prince Takamado who helped broker the Japan/Korea partnership that hosted the 2002 World Cup. JIU maintains a close relationship with the Takamado family.

 

One enters the building off the campus road through a void in the dormitory bar that separates the two programs on the ground level. A louvered surface interspersed with projecting balconies masks exterior walkways that serve the dormitory rooms facing out over the rice fields beyond. Multiple sliding glass doors open onto the walkways, recalling the ‘engawa’ space of tradtional Japanese houses. The provision of shared spaces, the walkway, and balcony system expand the compressed living space into the outdoors.

Photography Credit:

Studio SUMO

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