Inside SCI-Arc


George Yu, 1964 – 2007

(Photo by Gary Leonard)

Long time SCI-Arc faculty member George Yu has passed away after a three year battle with cancer. George had been on the design faculty at SCI-Arc since 1998. He was 43.

George Yu was born in Hong Kong in 1964 and grew up in Hope, Vancouver, and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban Geography in 1985 from the University of British Columbia and Master of Architecture degree from the University of California in Los Angeles in 1988. From 1988 to 1992, he was a member of Morphosis Architects in Santa Monica. In 1992, Yu started his firm, George Yu Architects, in Los Angeles. Between 1997 and 2001, Yu worked in partnership with Jason King in a collaborative they formed called DO (Design Office), with offices in Los Angeles and Vancouver.

Since 1992, George Yu Architects completed over sixty-five projects ranging in scale from 1000 square foot retail interiors to 1.5 million square foot shopping centers. Key projects include the headquarters for Nettwerk Records in Vancouver; creative workspaces for IBM e-Business in Chicago, New York, and Atlanta; the Daido Jusco Shopping Center in Nagoya; the prototypes and roll-out of over fifty fashion boutiques for Max Studio worldwide; prototypes and roll-out of multiple fashion boutiques for Marciano worldwide; design studios for the Sony Electronics Design Center in Santa Monica and Shanghai; one of the finalist proposals for Sony World Headquarters; the Sensorium in Tokyo; and the Honda Advanced Design Studio in Pasadena. This spring, George was finalist in the Singapore Gardens by the Bay competition. His firm was recently at work on a 30,000 sq. ft. project in Nanjing, China.

George Yu was an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia's School of Architecture from 1995 to 1998. He also held visiting professorships at the University of Texas, Austin, and Florida International University. Yu’s work was been featured in a number of exhibitions: Blue Diamond 68 at Artists Space in New York; Blow-Up at the SCI-Arc Gallery; Pentimenti at the Ottawa Art Gallery; Transforming Type at the U.S. Pavilion in the Venice Biennale; Substance Over Spectacle at the Belkin Gallery in Vancouver; and Honda Advanced Design Center in the SCI-Arc Library. His work was published widely, including features in Architectural Record, A+U, Frame, I.D., and Azure. George Yu was selected by the New York Architectural League as a member of the Emerging Generation in 2006. Yu received two I.D. magazine Design Awards, honors from the Architectural Foundation of Los Angeles, was nominated for the Borromini Prize, and in 2000, was awarded the Canada Council's most prestigious award in architecture, the Prix de Rome.

George is survived by his wife, Carole, and his two daughters, Elena and Dara, as well as his parents, John and Helen. He is also survived by his brother, Henry and his wife Brandy Worrall, and their children, Chloe, and Mylo; and by his sister, Tricia, her husband Brent Douglas and their child, Lily.

He will be remembered and missed by generations of SCI-Arc students, alumni and faculty around the world.


George was my colleague at UCLA when we were both starting out teaching as first year studio slaves. I admired all kinds of things about him - most especially his gift for listening quietly and kindly to all and any student and then responding with remarkable, considered insights. He was such a good and generous person, teacher and friend... and then his work was amazing!!!?? I don't know how he did it and I wish he were still here to keep leading the way.

B Bestor