Alastair Townsend

I’m an architect developing innovative projects that foster community and build common value.

  • Oversaw $2B of development investments on behalf of institutional investors.
  • Founded and operated an architectural practice in Japan.
  • Career spanning Europe, Asia, and North America.


Having overseen industrial, multifamily, and office developments across the US with budgets up to $100M has imparted a wide breadth of experience and skills. It has ingrained a fiduciary mindset with a nuanced approach to risk management.

I hold a Masters in Real Estate from the University of Washington.


I began my career in architecture after receiving my diploma from London’s Architectural Association, a hotbed of experimentation. Fresh out of school, I worked with Grimshaw as a 3D computer modeling specialist. In 2008, I left the UK to found BAKOKO, a boutique practice based in Tokyo. The residential and office projects we designed garnered global attention.

Writing & Editorial

I’ve written mainly about housing and design, with digressions into economics, computational geometry, and technological urbanism. My observations on Japan’s housing market were covered by CNN, the Guardian, and NPR. I also worked for a short stint with Japan’s leading architectural publisher, “A+U”. These are some highlights…

  • On the Spline

    On the Spline

    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… Read more >>

  • Why Japan is Crazy About Housing

    Why Japan is Crazy About Housing

    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… Read more >>

  • Precut – Modern Japanese Timber Construction

    Precut – Modern Japanese Timber Construction

    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.… Read more >>


The Urban Land Institute

  • Chair of Mission Advancement, aligning ULI Northwest’s agenda with the global organization’s priorities.
  • Founding Chair of the Seattle Programs Committee.
  • Starting as a Young Leader in Tokyo, I’ve been an enthusiastic ULI member since 2009.

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 am based in Seattle, Washington, where I like to cycle (right).
I welcome you to contact me via email:

© 2023 Alastair Townsend