img(height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=2939831959404383&ev=PageView&noscript=1")

A perfectionist whose passion inspires everyone

Credit: Sasha Belavokaya

RISING STARS 2016 COHORT

Director, Spheron Architects

Part 2 completed 2006

Tszwai So was nominated by Samuel Bentil-Mensah, his business partner at Spheron Architects, the practice So founded when he was just 29.

As well as the typical young practice fodder of small extensions, So has developed a fascination with Belarusian timber architecture. After he was commissioned 
to design the Belarusian Memorial Chapel in north London, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, So spent a year researching the vernacular timber churches of Belarus. Convinced of timber’s importance as a building material in the country’s culture, he proposed a wooden form for the London site. 

  • Belarusian Memorial Chapel.
    Belarusian Memorial Chapel. Credit: Joakim Boren
  • Belarusian Memorial Chapel.
    Belarusian Memorial Chapel. Credit: Joakim Boren
12

So used his research and an emotional appeal to convince locals and his clients. We have highlighted the project’s promise in the RIBA Journal and judge Lucy Tilley of Adjaye Associates was impressed with the detailing and craftsmanship in construction shots. For this year’s London Festival of Architecture So created an installation to draw attention to the moving experiences of Chernobyl.

His colleague is candid about So’s way of working but delights in its effects. ‘He is a perfectionist... Although at times frustrating, his passion has inspired all his colleagues, collaborators and clients.’

  • Remembering Chernobyl exhibition.
    Remembering Chernobyl exhibition. Credit: Joakim Boren
  • Urban Hermitage.
    Urban Hermitage. Credit: Hélène Binet
  • Remembering Chernobyl exhibition.
    Remembering Chernobyl exhibition. Credit: Joakim Boren
123

What would you most like to improve about the industry?

I believe in architecture that communicates feelings, triggers memories and evokes emotion. This is compatible with financial prudence and sustainability in a free market economy. It should not only be for affluent clients or high profile projects, but the most ordinary projects with limited resources.

Who would you most like to work with?

Peabody and all housing associations; humanitarian architect Diébédo Francis Kéré. 

 

Return to Rising Stars opening page


 

Latest

Zooey Braun’s verdant view of Werner Sobek’s glass cube House R128 in Stuttgart plays on the glazing’s reflective rather than transparent qualities

Zooey Braun sees nature stare back at high tech

Taller, denser, more complex school designs are helping urban families to build city-centre communities

City centre schools built on collaboration and flexible design

Anna Heringer loves mud, and has won some big prizes for her rammed earth designs. For her, architecture is not just a building but a route to human development

Earth is the German architect’s route to human development

Court backs Zaha's executors to hold ZHA principal Schumacher in check as he continues to voice views at odds with the industry. Meanwhile the profession demands greater emphasis on building in PM's 'green industrial revolution', and Grenfell Inquiry is told Celotex manipulated fire test results

Plus Grenfell shock claim, ‘Festival of Brexit’, and hit built environment emissions, industry tells PM

Made from a majority of natural fibres, Trespa's premium facade solution is designed for longevity, simplicity and aesthetic appeal - it performs technically too

Made from natural fibres, Trespa's facade solution is long lasting and attractive