Building Healthy Communities: A Conversation with Tony Wu, Emerging Architect of the Year 2022

April 12, 2023

Tony Wu, the Emerging Architect of the Year at the LIV Hospitality Awards 2022, is a talented designer who is passionate about creating spaces that promote healthy communities. In this interview, we learn more about his journey and the philosophy that inspires his work. He also shares insights into the design process behind his award-winning project, Green Booster, and how it has helped him in his current position at Gensler.

Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your professional journey? How did design come to have such an important role in your life?

My name is Tony Wu, and I’m currently working as a designer at Gensler Houston. As a professional, I am eager to learn new things every day. Variety feeds my passion as I encounter the ups and downs of everyday projects. Design is my focus, and passion fuels my desire to create.

Is there a philosophy, a vision, or a special process that influences how you approach design? Would you say that you apply it to your life as well?

My philosophy is based on the belief that architecture or interior design can promote social interaction. It is a friend, mentor, or even family to us. Every design opportunity brings space alive and promotes healthy communities, whether in home life, education, or business settings.

How did you come up with the concept for the project?

The idea for this project originated when I was a TA for the capstone at SCAD. One of my students said he wanted to use the space to remind people that their way of thinking was not correct. My own mind exploded with the thought. I began to think of designing a space that would guide people toward forming healthy lifestyle habits. In other words, everything you do in this building will foster a new, healthier version of yourself.

What did you learn from designing Green Booster, which is currently helping you in your new position?

As for skills, my Rhino/Grasshopper skills are getting much better. Design has opened up my vision and changed my perspective. I have found that researching how a building can interact with people has opened the door to myriad possibilities. The possibility is now at the forefront of my future design projects.

What did you find most challenging while working on the project and what did you enjoy the most?

The most challenging part of this project was proving that interior design and architecture can create a healthy bubble, one that would motivate people to work harder on their goals. The most enjoyable part was teaming up with Wendy and Yue, both great designers and a pleasure to work with.

Is there a dream project you would like to see coming to life, or a dream team you’d like to work with?

I would love to design a project in real life that uses my concept of people interacting with buildings. Working with Gensler currently fulfills one part of that dream of working with a team that shares my life goals.

Could you share with us which designer you take the most inspiration from and how their work influences your own creative process?

My favorite designer is Zaha Hadid. She widened the perspective of all of us in design. Her projects are wildly innovative and yet comfortable, a feat very hard to achieve.

What does winning the LIV Awards mean to you in terms of validation and recognition of your work?

Receiving recognition from LIV is unbelievable. I am honored and truly grateful. I feel called to achieve more creative designs in my future work.

Are you currently working on something new that you can tell us about? 

I am not free to talk about my Gensler project. I am trying very hard to know all the codes, as well as the details, to foster my knowledge about architecture and interior design. I want to be a competent and creative designer who can plan, model, render, and most of all, learn how everything works toward achieving the final product.

In the future, would you like to repurpose the idea behind this project? 

I hope to have such an opportunity, but am willing to work at the present one and let the future unfold.