ARCHITECTURE | DESIGN + CULTURE + COMMUNITY + TECHNOLOGY

“We are a creative practice composed of architects and multidisciplinary designers challenging the built environment in dynamic ways. We integrate art, design, culture and technology to create novel and exciting social experiences that embrace the public realm and empower positive interactions amongst communities.”

- Eric Schuldenfrei & Marisa Yiu

ESKYIU is a multi-disciplinary architecture studio that explores how Architecture intersects with transformative cultural landscapes, media, products, print, experimental fabrication systems, educational tools and social sustainability.  Founded in New York by Eric Schuldenfrei and Marisa Yiu in 2005, they established the Hong Kong studio-office in 2007. Their architectural practice operates in an open and collaborative environment, at various scales (product-objects to urban scale projects) working closely with various disciplines in a rigorous and sensitive manner.

ESKYIU seeks to design a possible future that responds to everyday needs while also referencing the past by creating a design and research practice actively integrating culture, art, community and technology. Their interest lies in examining the ways in which the built environment and constructs of labor shape social relationships by forming connections between civic engagement, social values and sustainable design. In utilizing modest approaches they seek methods that use architecture, animation, art, and technology as a means to engage the larger public. Their tools examine, propose and advocate for change in how resources are used, managed and deployed. Challenging and rethinking how architecture plays a role in the city and global networks specific to the two sites they work and research in. Their projects range from filmic research of unique architectural spaces, media narratives, interactive public installations, manufacturing models to curatorial projects that deal with cultural education, social sustainability and community participation. Such projects involve collaborative operational techniques that bring different disciplines together to experiment in creating new possibilities.

Media and changing social structures are research generators for the projects because they force one to question the role of the architect as a citizen, as a social connector, and a spatial designer that forms an active dialogue with the larger public. By exploring media that is capable of constant change such as interactive environments, real-time software, and responsive materials, their work responds to the local community by treating the neighborhood as a laboratory to examine the dynamic functions of both renewal and preservation. Researching the space of a mainland Chinese manufacturing complex provides inspiration which propels further investigation into innovation and sustainable manufacturing techniques to explore new forms of social capital and community based structures. Applying knowledge of China and relating it back to New York’s Chinatown reveals the reality of policy, historical legacy, and design aesthetics integrated into the complex network of the two dense global regions ESKYIU operates within.

They were awarded the prestigious ‘Architectural League Prize’, Architectural Record’s Design Vanguard, Design for Asia Award, Perspective’s ‘40 under 40’; curated the 2009 HK & SZ Bi-City Biennale; exhibited widely such as the Venice Biennale; lectured internationally such as the Harvard’s AsiaGSD conference, TEDx, V&A museum, the Asia Society to Universities world wide from Nanjing, Finland to Cambridge. Recently they published INSTANT CULTURE: Architecture and Urbanism as a Collective Process, designboom reviews the book as “a provocative deliberation that question regional values, cultural consumption, architecture, environment and global pressures faced by Hong Kong, but which apply to many urban centers ”.

FOUNDING PARTNERS

portrait ©Virgile Simon Bertrand

ERIC SCHULDENFREI 

Founding Partner ESKYIU, Assoc. AIA, Ph.D. 

B. Arch., Cornell University; M.Phil., Cambridge University; Ph.D., Cambridge University.

Eric Schuldenfrei, Founding Partner of ESKYIU, is a designer who focuses on the evolving relationship between architecture, animation, technology and art. His past projects include an art installation commissioned by Agnes Gund, President Emerita of MoMA; multi-media projects for Salvatore Ferragamo ‘Walk of Style’; and computer animations for Diller + Scofidio and The Builders Association’s Obie Award winning multi-media theatre work ‘Jet Lag’. Other work includes animated sequences for the PBS American Masters ‘Henry Luce and the Making of the American Century’ and public projects for Lincoln Center together with Diller Scofidio + Renfro. ESKYIU architectural projects completed with his partner Marisa Yiu have been featured in many international biennales: ‘Urban Pastoral’, an architectural installation created for the 2008 Venice Biennale;  ‘Human Motor: Narratives from the Assembly Line’ in Ljubljana;  ‘Mediated Labour’ for the 2007 Hong Kong- Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale and ‘Aqua Industry’ for the 2011-12 edition.  A video installation ‘The Measure of All Things’, in collaboration with artist Haluk Akakce, was exhibited at Casino Luxembourg; Kunst Werke, Berlin; The Museum of Modern Art, Frankfurt; and the Centre d’art Contemporain, Geneva.

Schuldenfrei received a Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University and a Master of Philosophy from the University of Cambridge, and completed his PhD from Cambridge in ‘Architecture and the Moving Image’. He taught at Princeton University for six years; Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation; University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Fine Arts; and at the Architectural Association, where the work has been published in MIT Thresholds. His design projects have been featured in Wallpaper*, Surface Magazine and TIMEOUT’s Designers You Need To Know. Schuldenfrei served as the Curator for Exhibition, Education, Film, and Media for the 2009 HK SZ Bi-City Biennale of Architecture\ Urbanism at the West Kowloon site. Recently he has presented and lectured at the Cumulus Helsinki Conference as a Keynote speaker; DLD Moscow on the topic of Future Cities; the Harvard University AsiaGSD lecture series; University of Michigan; Cranbrook Academy of Art; the University of Cambridge; and at the V&A museum in London.

MARISA YIU

Founding Partner ESKYIU, AIA, Assoc.HKIA.

B.A., Columbia College, Columbia University; M.Arch., Princeton University.

Marisa Yiu, Founding Partner of ESKYIU,  is an architect who integrates  multi-disciplinary design, culture and spatial agency. She has been examining issues relating to the cultural landscape of Hong Kong since 2000. Her essay ‘Image Construction: Hong Kong since 1967-8’  published in LOG Journal examined Hong Kong’s relationship to the Pearl River Delta and global networks. Yiu served as the Chief Curator of the 2009 HK SZ Bi-City Biennale of Architecture\ Urbanism- curating over eighty exhibitions and spearheading inventive events located at the West Kowloon Cultural District waterfront. Her past works include community driven projects such as ‘Brandspider’ for Whitney Museum ISP exhibition;  ‘Place Markers’ with placeMatters, New York; and Chinatown Design Lab. Along with her partner Eric Schuldenfrei of ESKYIU their  projects include ‘Chinatown WORK 2006’ an interactive public arts project commissioned by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and The Department of Cultural Affairs in New York City; ‘SINO’ shown at the Brooklyn Museum; ‘Nutritious: an aeroponic facade’ exhibited at Architectural Association in London, and ‘Urban Pastoral’ for the 2008 Venice Biennale.  Prior to establishing ESKYIU, Marisa has worked on international renowned buildings and urban developments at Kohn Pederson Fox Associates PC (NY),  Marble.Fairbanks Architects (NY), and taught in Spain with Ben Van Berkel and Caroline Bos of UNStudio.

Yiu has recently lectured at Princeton University on ‘Alternative practices’; the China NEXT symposium organized by Architectural Record, UNESCO forum on ‘Historic Urban Landscapes’ in Vietnam, and the AsiaGSD ‘Specific Weights of Architecture: Asian Probes’ conference at Harvard University. She has published in A/D, Log journal, DomusChina, MIT’s thresholds, Architectural Record, Metropolis and Journal for Architectural Education. Marisa has taught at the Architectural Association in London; Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation; Parsons School of Design; led workshops at the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum with the Center for Urban Pedagogy; was Assistant Professor at the Department of Architecture at the University of Hong Kong (2007-2010) and at the School of Architecture, the Chinese University of Hong Kong (2010-2014). At the Chinese University of Hong Kong she organized and convened ‘SPAIN-HONG KONG: Building Culture symposium’, and the International conference on ‘The Evolving Architectural Education: Innovation in teaching and learning’ in the context of Asia. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Columbia College, Columbia University (New York) and a Master of Architecture from Princeton University. Yiu is a licensed architect in the state of New York, AIA architect member, an associate member of the HKIA, Board of Advisors of RTHK, and Board member of the non profit organization the Hong Kong Ambassadors of Design and the newly established Design Trust.

SELECTED AWARDS AND HONOURS:

2014      ESKYIU founders Eric Schuldenfrei and Marisa Yiu received the Design Vanguard 2014 award selected by Architectural Record. In its 15th edition, Design Vanguard showcases emerging firms from around the world that are expanding the role of the architect by championing new approaches to design and practice.

2014    ESKYIU received Design For Asia Award 2014 Bronze for their Ido Portal installation under the “Culture, Public and Exhibition Spaces” category. DFA Awards is presented to designers from around the world that has an impact on the Asian lifestyle, selected by expert judges as part of a blind jury process.

2014       Eric Schuldenfrei was awarded the prestigious Graham Foundation Grant. Founded in 1956, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts makes project-based grants to individuals  to foster the development and exchange of diverse and challenging ideas about architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society.

2014      ESKYIU + LEAD awarded Commendation Entry in the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority Arts Pavilion Design Competition for the West Kowloon Cultural District.

2011       Eric Schuldenfrei was awarded the Outstanding Teaching Award from the University of Hong Kong. This prestigious award honours academics and teachers for Excellence in Teaching and Research. Achievements and contributions of the awardees demonstrate attainment in excellence in teaching and engagement with students and their learning, curriculum design, renewal and innovation.

2010      Architectural League Prize for Young Architects and Designers: ReSource, Winners, ESKYIU: Eric Schuldenfrei and Marisa Yiu. (The Architectural League Prize for Young Architects and Designers is an annual juried competition and series of lectures and exhibitions organized by the Architectural League and its Committee). Please see more at http://archleague.org

2009       Hong Kong & Shenzhen Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism /Architecture, appointed 2009 Curators (Open submission competition). Selected by HKIA, HKIP, HKDA. Supported and sponsored by the Home Affairs Bureau HKSAR Government [please see more at hkszbiennale.org/2009].  The team composed of  Marisa Yiu (Chief Curator), Eric Schuldenfrei (Curator for Exhibition, Education, Film and Media), Alan Lo (Curator for Arts, City Integration and Events) and Frank Yu (Curator for Architecture, Urbanism and Landscape).

2009       Open International Ideas Competition for Noise Barrier, Noise Enclosure Design, Professional Group (Category A), ESKYIU: Eric Schuldenfrei and Marisa Yiu, 3rd Prize Winner

2008       ‘40 under 40’ awards, 40 design professionals under the age of 40 in recognition of excellence in, and outstanding contribution to the field of  architecture in Greater China, Perspective Awards. ESKYIU: Eric Schuldenfrei and Marisa Yiu

2008       Culture and Humanities Fund,  The University of Hong Kong, Recipients: Eric Schuldenfrei and Marisa Yiu for the Venice Biennale  ‘Urban Pastoral: fabricating a Vertical Landscape’

2008       HKU Seed Grant for Research, The University of Hong Kong, Award Recipient: Marisa Yiu

2008       HKU Seed Grant for Research, The University of Hong Kong, Award Recipient: Eric Schuldenfrei

2008       Run Run Shaw Research and Teaching Endowment Fund, HKU, Award Recipient, Marisa Yiu

2008       Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum Award Nominee, New York, USA,  Eric Schuldenfrei

2008       Leung Kau Kui Research and Teaching Endowment Fund, Eric Schuldenfrei

2008       Scott Wilson Grant, London, Eric Schuldenfrei

2007       Brancusi Grant, University of Cambridge, Eric Schuldenfrei

2007       Scott Wilson Grant, London, Eric Schuldenfrei

2007       China Travel Grant, China Affairs Office, Marisa Yiu

2006       Cameron Taylor Grant, London, Eric Schuldenfrei

2006       Creative Capital recipient, Professional Development Program, organized by The LMCC and Creative Capital, New York,  Marisa Yiu

2005       Manhattan Community Arts Fund, Department of Cultural Affairs, Award Recipient, ESKYIU: Eric Schuldenfrei and Marisa Yiu

2005       Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Grant for Art in Public Spaces [part of the September 11th Fund], NY, Award Recipient  ESKYIU: Eric Schuldenfrei and MarisaYiu

2002       Rolex Arts Initiative Mentor Protégé program, Inaugural cycle, Switzerland, nominated candidate, Marisa Yiu

2001       Suzanne Kolarik Underwood Prize, School of Architecture, Princeton University, Award Recipient: Marisa Yiu

Both have served on various architectural juries at Princeton University School of Architecture, University of Pennsylvania School of Architecture, Graduate School of Design Harvard University, Delft University [Netherlands], New York Institute of Technology, The Hong Kong University, The Chinese University of HK, Bartlett London, Parsons School of Design, Columbia College Department of Architecture, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Southern California Institute of Architecture, University of Virginia School of Architecture, Cambridge University [UK], University of Michigan and the Architectural Association, School of Architecture London.

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS are listed here