PROFILES IN EXCELLENCE with architect Bing Hu of H&S International
Bing Hu came to Scottsdale, AZ in the late 80s to study at the Taliesin School of Architecture despite having offers to study at many prestigious architectural institutions. He has since become one of the Valley’s most in-demand architects as the Founding Principal of H&S International where he currently designs residential and commercial properties in Hawaii, California and China. He recently was awarded “House of the Year” by the Wall Street Journal for a custom luxury residence he designed on the island of Kauai and is now at the forefront of helping the Taliesin School rise to a new level of education and thought leadership in modern day architecture and design.
Bing took a few moments with Team DSC® to discuss his perspective on the art of architecture and why it is critical to pay attention to even the most minute detail when designing and building a custom luxury home.
ARCHITECTURE IS LIKE ART
Architecture is like art – it follows a trend. Right now, homeowners are gravitating toward mid-century modern and contemporary styles. Ultimately, when I create a home for my clients, I want to be genuine to the design and materials required to execute that style.
A home is something very personal. The architect cannot simply inject what they like or dislike into what a client needs it to be. Their home should be expressed in all the design vocabularies they want it to express. A good architect is able to execute a design in any kind of vocabulary, and good architecture should always execute its unique content, clearly communicating the cultural and historic background of the style. Let the materials simply be themselves – that’s important when designing a new home. Every detail needs to be real and genuine, not trying to look like something it is not.
Examples of being authentic to design can be seen in a home I created that was built with Desert Star Construction. This home’s architecture took direct inspiration from the desert. The homeowners, who are very intelligent and well-educated, owned a residence on a golf course that they had lived in for a long time. We tore down the original structure to build their new home from the ground up. They wanted to make sure the design followed the principle of an indoor-outdoor living experience. The outside of their home is simply amazing, and so it was important to carry that exterior beauty into the home.
Designing and building a custom home was new for them, so it was a very special experience. They made the project a success because they were exceptional at communicating what they wanted. They also did their homework when it came to selecting the architect, interior designer, landscape architect, lighting designer and builder – in addition to myself, they chose an A-team that included David Michael Miller, Greey Pickett, Creative Designs in Lighting and Team DSC®. It was a great project.
COMMITMENT TO SUSTAINABLE DESIGN
Sustainability is an important aspect when it comes to creating a home that is genuine to its nature. While many of our homes use solar energy, we incorporate passive solar design into all of our homes. This means there are design elements that don’t use solar power technology, but instead utilize the site, proper covering and the environment surrounding the home to naturally cool and heat the home. All of these techniques come into play when designing a home – it’s all part of the practice. I am committed to being authentic in respecting nature by honoring the environment and the organic materials used to build the home.
THE FUTURE OF THE TALIESIN SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE
All of the principles of authentic architecture I learned while studying at the Taliesin School. This has allowed me to stay versatile in my designs because I remain loyal to the environment that the homeowner wishes to create inside the home as well as the site environment that surrounds the home. Whatever style choice is made, my purpose is to make it as authentic as possible.
As many in our industry know, the Taliesin School of Architecture has recently gone through some challenging developments. However, I’m excited to be a part of the rescue team that is driving the next phase of the school’s evolution as a leading institution for architectural education. As of this publication, I am not in a place to share exact details, but I can say we have secured the opportunity to be a part of a new culture that is well known, highly respected and will be integral to the success of this school as it continues to nurture the next generation of incredible architects and designers.
At the end of the day, I think the school will be better than ever. I am very happy right now to be part of this new team to make the school strong again. This is a big deal for our architecture community – that’s why we are excited. The outcome is good for everyone.
H&S INTERNATIONAL AND TEAM DSC®
Desert Star is a first-class operator. They have the full-time superintendent, project manager and a professional team of artisans and vendors that are always on top of everything. They respect all of the design professionals. It is a wonderful experience to work with them.
One of their greatest strengths is the high level at which they pay attention to details. The details are what make architects. Especially in modern contemporary architecture, it’s all about the final execution. Good execution and bad execution are all about the details, that’s what makes the difference. It’s great to see a builder pay attention to what’s important for all of us to succeed.