Design philosophy to create architectural works of cultural significance and poetic expression

KRIS YAO | ARTECH, an architectural firm with offices in Taipei and Shanghai, has been named “Best in Asia” at the prestigious Architizer A+Awards this year. The firm’s previous winning record with Architizer A+Awards includes the Cosmology Center Taiwan University (2018), the Changhua High Speed Rail Station (2016), and the China Steel Corporation Headquarters (2013).


The inspiration behind Taiwan University’s Cosmology Center stems from the act against the force of gravity. The depths of the vertical shades vary in a progressive sequence, showing an illusion of a sphere within the cube from the outside of the building.
Photo credit: Kris Provoost

Led by Founder Architect, Kris Yao, the firm’s design philosophy is to create architectural works with cultural significance and poetic expression through innovative and appropriate technologies, which has been carried out continuously in a broad range of architectural projects. The firm is especially renowned for its cultural projects, including the striking Wuzhen Theater, hailed as the most beautiful theater in China; the spiritual Water-Moon Monastery; the iconic Palace Museum Southern Branch; and the multi-award-winning Lanyang Museum.


The use of indigenous materials, together with the building's rounded forms, allow the modern Wuzhen Theater to seamlessly blend into the ancient setting.
Photo credit: Wuzhen Tourism Development Co., Ltd.


The Water-Moon Monastery is a modern Zen temple stripped of all cultural paraphernalia and returns to the Zen idea of the “Original Face”. The 80-meter long reflecting pool in front of the main shrine echoes the abbots’ vision of this temple based on “Moon in Water, Flower in Air”- the illusory nature of all things.
Photo credit: Jeffrey Cheng

KRIS YAO | ARTECH’s works have been recognized and are widely published in media. The trendy Hotel Resonance Taipei, opened at the end of 2020, was named by Times magazine as one of ‘The World’s Greatest Places of 2021’ in Taipei. Michael Speaks, Dean and Professor of the Architecture School at Syracuse University, described the projects of KRIS YAO | ARTECH as being “concerned not only with the materiality of architecture, and how they filter or frame the outside world, but also with our emotional experience of these spaces and places, with the ways in which we encounter and relate to each other as we transition through the multiple and complex temporalities of global modernization: from the corporate boardroom to the archaeological site; from the museum to the high speed train station; and from the freeway to the monastery, and back again to the freeway.”


Vertical slits of different width on Hotel Resonance Taipei give a dynamic rhythm to the facade.
Photo credit: Shawn Liu Studio

This month, KRIS YAO | ARTECH won the competition for the Taipei City Music Center and Library, situated on a prime location in Taipei. The project’s program includes a symphony hall with 1,500 seats, a multimedia rehearsal and experiment space with 600 seats, and a library with a collection of 900,000 books. It is anticipated to be an outstanding project and an important addition to the vibrant cultural life of Taipei City.


Taipei City Music Center and Library sits amidst the alleys of Taipei City and offers local citizens a free and public space to spend time in.
Photo credit: KRIS YAO | ARTECH


KRIS YAO | ARTECH was established in 1985 by Kris Yao, Hon. FAIA. The firm’s portfolio demonstrates years of practice in commercial, hospitality, cultural, educational, transportation, performing centers, residential, and spiritual projects, and more. In 2002, Kris Yao was invited to participate in the 8th Venice Architecture Biennale for the solo exhibition of “NEXT EXIT”, followed by many other international architectural events since then. His recent solo exhibition “Within.Without” was held in MoCA, Shanghai in 2016.