Leaving behind their Pritzker Mentors

Photo from the New York Times. From left, , Kulapat Yantrasast, and Florian Idenburg.

There’s something to be said about learning from our elders.  At least that’s the case for a select  group of younger architects who have been working behind the scenes with some of the biggest names in the profession: Zaha Hadid, Tadao Ando and SANAA.  Markus Dochantschi, Kulapat Yantrasast, and Florian Idenburg, have taken what they have learned in the almost decade working for their Pritzker Prize winning mentors and have branched to form their own practices in the United States.

More about the protégés after the break.

Bernstein notes, “The dance of young architect and mentor is a tricky one…”  Indeed, it is a delicate balance as the men spent years developing a relationship with their mentors and learning from their philosophies.  Yet, there comes a time when the need to take those lessons learned and make them your own results in starting on your own.  And, what’s even better is that the architects aren’t merely copying an aesthetic of their older teachers, but rather truly learning from an approach and a philosophy which directs their architecture.

So far, the three are doing well on their own.  Markus Dochantschi, 42, who left Ms. Hadid’s practice in 2002, has gone on to form Studio MDA.  His $50 million laboratory and classroom building for the University of Applied Science Aachen is expected to break ground at the end of this year. After working under Tadao Ando, Kulapat Yantrasast, 41, went on to become  a founding partner of , a firm we feature frequently on AD.  And Florian Idenburg, 34, worked for SANAA, but you may recognize him as the face of SO-IL, and the creator of the winning PS 1 installation, Pole Dance.

After years of learning, the three are gradually beginning to pave their own way.  Mr. Idenburg added “Architecture is a profession of patience. For the first 10 years you just hope to survive.”

Source: Fred A. Bernstein for the New York Times

Cite: Cilento, Karen. "Leaving behind their Pritzker Mentors" 02 Jun 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 19 Sep 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=62784>


  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    The last quote is so true, I just got licensed about 2 months ago and started working with a fellow young architect, and many times I wonder when are we going to get bigger design projects, or if it’s better to start working in a big firm with older architects than to learn on your own…
    It is a tough carreer, and it is tougher to grow!!

    • Thumb up Thumb down -1

      10% true!

      really tough to go on!
      but I think those who keep on going dot that ’cause they really love it!

  2. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    The first ten years is the real test. If we can survive, we can become true architect. I’ve just graduated 2.5 years ago and still struggle to survive this architecture world. Either learning from mentors or start your own practice, it’s the spirit that play the most important part.

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