As an accomplished architect and experienced real estate professional, I’m driven to create innovative and sustainable projects that foster community, cultivate shared value, and respect the environment.
- Managed $2 billion of investment in developments across the U.S. at global real estate firm BGO.
- Founded an architectural practice in Japan that attracted global attention and acclaim.
- Served in leadership positions within Seattle’s real estate community, including the City of Seattle and ULI boards.
- Featured on CNN, WSJ, NPR and other major media outlets for my design, writing, and expert insights.
I completed my architectural studies at the Architectural Association in London, a renowned hub for creative experimentation. My final diploma project tackled the pervasive poverty of American trailer parks by proposing a fairer land trust development model paired with prefabricated homes I designed to be flexibly configured to form more socially cohesive communities.
Following my graduation, I joined the Grimshaw, where I honed my skills as a 3D computer modeling specialist across numerous cutting-edge projects.
In 2008, I charted a new course, departing the UK to establish BAKOKO, a boutique architectural firm in Tokyo. BAKOKO’s innovative residential and office designs, as well as my writing on Japanese design, swiftly captured global attention. Working in Japan was not only an enriching privilege, it expanded my perspective. It illuminated the intersections between economics and design, invigorated my dedication to craftsmanship, and unveiled the potential of emerging technologies.
Writing & Editorial
My writings primarily focus on housing and design, interspersed with explorations into economics, computational geometry, and technological urbanism.
My outsider’s perspective on Japan’s housing market has been featured by esteemed media outlets such as CNN, The Wall Street Journal, and The Guardian. My article “Why Japan is Crazy About Housing” was Archdaily’s most read article in 2013, leading to numerous interviews including an episode of Freaknomics Radio and an invitation to lecture at Harvard University. I also had the privilege of collaborating with Japan’s premier architectural publisher, “A+U”, for a brief yet enriching period. Below are some highlights …
I recently published an academic paper answering the question: where do curves come from? I started this research well over a decade ago when I was working everyday with 3D design…
The following article about Japanese housing economics and how they motivate Japan’s penchant for experimental architecture first appeared on ArchDaily, where it quickly became one of their most popular articles. Unfortunately, copyright restrictions…
Industrially precut timber framing has become the predominant house construction method throughout Japan. In this first short documentary, produced by BAKOKO, we explain the process from factory floor to building site.…
City of Seattle Design Review Board
- Honored to serve as Development Representative for Seattle’s East District from 2018 to 2021.
- Evaluated numerous development proposals per city’s adopted design guidelines in a public forum.
I welcome you to contact me via email:
I am based in Seattle, Washington.
© 2023 Alastair Townsend