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Architecture that Responds to Human Needs

Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects

Architecture that Responds to Human Needs
By Michael Webb -
Guardian Glass has participated in the project

In 2015, Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects (EYRC) was named Firm of the Year by the American Institute of Architects, and it has won over 150 national and regional awards. Though it has remained medium-sized (currently employing 45 people) it has been involved in large-scale commercial, institutional and educational projects, as well as private houses for the past decade.

The firm was founded in Los Angeles in 1979 by Steven Ehrlich, whose architecture and thinking were shaped by his experience of teaching and working in North and West Africa. That imbued him with respect for buildings that grow organically from the land and rely on simple forms. In 2014, three long-time colleagues became partners and they expanded the scope and scale of the practice. Takashi Yanai brings the spirit of Japanese architecture to his role as director of residential design and head of the San Francisco studio. Patricia Rhee heads commercial, institutional and adaptive reuse projects for the firm, and the fourth partner, Mathew Chaney, leads the more technical institutional projects as well as hospitality. Working closely together, the partners have embraced a similar vision: architecture that is site- and client-specific and absorbs varying ideas and perspectives. 

That is particularly appropriate in the multicultural metropolises of Los Angeles and San Francisco, where EYRC have opened a second office. It is not a new concept – California modernism was strongly influenced by Japan from its beginnings in the Arts and Crafts movement – and the Pritzker Prize awarded to Francis Kéré signals a growing respect for African architecture. Though most of their work is located in California, the firm has reached far beyond, designing a ceremonial arch in the Nigerian capital of Abuja, and winning acclaim for a brilliant, though unrealized scheme for the UAE Parliament in Abu Dhabi.

A thoughtful response to site and climate is...

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