Graduating with a Doctor of Architecture degree, Dr. Kato brings over 15 years of international expertise to the table, specializing in performance-oriented design with a focus on structural engineering and mathematical biology. While completing his dissertation, he studied and worked under the direction of Dr. Ken Yeang in Kuala Lumpur and Byoungsoo Cho in Seoul. This interdisciplinary exploration extended to international projects of varying scales, laying the foundation for Dr. Kato’s distinctive design philosophy. Through these theoretical and practical experiences, he developed his own design approach to create relationships between people, material, communities, crafts, nature and the environment.
His design approach, Creative Engineering, has led to projects that have been recognized by international design committees. His recycled bamboo omakase project, a testament to ODE’s commitment to sustainability, clinched a coveted spot among the top 20 international A’ Design Awards recognized by ArchDaily. In 2018, Dr. Kato’s groundbreaking paper structure, Beyond Surface, earned him the prestigious London Design Award. His journey is studded with remarkable achievements, including being named Young CAADRIA in 2012 for the innovative project “Toward a performance-oriented architecture: an integrated design approach to a real-time environmentally responsive structure.”
The accolades continued with the Best Prize in the 28th International Space Architecture Competition for “Liberated Memories” and the Award of Merit in the Shinkenchiku Residential Design Competition in Japan, both in the same prolific year of 2012. Dr. Kato was also the recipient of the AIAS Award of Excellence, Award of Merit, and Energy Pioneer Award, solidifying his status as a design luminary. His work has also been exhibited as part of London Craft Week at G. F Smith’s White Space, in Seoul at the Space Gallery and at the 2009 Gwangju Design Biennale.
FirstClasse: How would you describe your design philosophy?
Dr. Kody Kato: Our design philosophy at ODE is to fuse architecture, material science, engineering, nature and various construction methods together to enhance the spatial experience of people.
Tell us about your first design project – what defined your style then?
Our first completed design project is Beyond Surface, which is a step toward our design philosophy. We do not believe in having a style.
Now tell us about your most recent project – how has it changed since?
We were recently commissioned for a new residence. At ODE we are always exploring and investigating new design solutions for our clients and the planet.
Where do you derive most of your inspiration?
What do you do when you’re feeling a little stuck with inspiration?
I isolate myself or I think about the issue before I sleep. Then, when I awake the answer normally appears.
Describe your style in 3 words.
I don’t believe in any particular style.
What’s currently on your music playlist?
To name a few: Chopin “Nocturne” no 20, Max Richter “On the Nature of Daylight,” Ryuichi Sakamoto “Energy Flow,” Ludoviko Einaudi “Experience”.
Who is your design icon?
Read more about his profile and work at Atap.co.
Contributing writer: Mabel Ho