The origin of each project should grow out of the place it is sited, the people who will occupy it, and the culture that surrounds it at the particular time. This emphatic search for true beginnings is set out in our book “asking looking playing making.” published in 1999. The investigative methodology searches for archetypes that will inform the process of the project from inception, through completion, to the reading of the projects.
Mike Tonkin was educated at the Royal College of Art in London and Anna Liu was educated at Columbia University in New York. They came together in Hong Kong with an interest in dismantling current mythology and, through their observations, invent their own. Teaching and research have formed a vehicle for exploration over the last ten years and they have most recently been teaching together at the Architectural Association. Their design unit at the AA School of Architecture had been based on the study of patterns in nature and patterns of movement in the city.
In the public realm the practice's projects include award winning urban regeneration schemes and art installations. Projects undertaken by the practice over the last ten years range from ones for corporate clients such as Virgin Atlantic and Nike to ones for private clients. Completed and proposed projects include residences, galleries, offices, bars, restaurants, cinemas, public space, and sculpture, in Japan, Hong Kong, the United States, Austria, France, and Taiwan.
The practice was selected as one of three British practices 2000 for Taschen's 40 under 40 architects around the globe, and again in 2005 for the AJ Corus 40 under 40. It was one of the young firms to be mentioned in the Building Designs survey of the important practices in the United Kingdom. projects have received a number of international awards, been exhibited in Western Europe and East Asia, and published around the world. The search in each project for the primal beginning brings to the fore a persistent interest in nature and human nature