Lu Yun On Learning From Success and Making Moves as an Up-And-Coming Firm

With an expanding portfolio and several A+Awards under their belt, MUDA-Architects are already establishing themselves as architectural leaders.

Samantha Frew Samantha Frew

Architizer is thrilled to announce the winners of the 10th Annual A+Awards! Want to earn global recognition for your projects? Sign up to be notified when the 11th Annual A+Awards program launches. 

MUDA-Architects are an exciting and daring young firm that has dominated the architectural landscape in recent years. Their innovative work is regularly being featured in publications worldwide, and their stunning projects are winning prestigious award after prestigious award — and, truthfully, it’s no wonder why. The up-and-coming practice is keen to showcase its diverse talent on the global stage. With a rapidly expanding portfolio of fascinating projects, the young team is already gaining recognition for its creativity and leadership.

Initially founded in Boston, the US, in 2015 and currently based in Southwest China, MUDA-Architects occupies offices in Beijing and Chengdu. Their work in the public realm ranges from bookshops to hotels and is united by their dedication to finding the right solution without compromising aesthetics. We spoke with the founding partner and principal architect Lu Yun to discuss the firm’s meteoric rise and how he plans to take the practice to the next level.

M50 Art Hotel by MUDA-Architects | Popular Choice, 2019 A+Awards, Plus – Architecture +Models & Renderings

Xinglong Bookstore by MUDA-Architects | Popular Choice, 2019 A+Awards, Unbuild Commercial

Lu Yun is a young and ambitious architect who, despite his age, has established an extensive and impressive portfolio of work over the last ten years. Having been employed previously by MAD Architects before leaping to found his full-service practice in MUDA-Architects, the young architect is proof that earning your stripes doesn’t always have to take a lifetime. In fact, in a mere three years since first being published on Architizer, Yun and the team have continued their meteoric rise, putting out new projects that showcase some of the most exciting architecture of the year.

“As an up-and-coming firm, MUDA was at a fast-growing phase when we first won the award,” Yun said, referring to their double success at the 2019 A+Awards(the two winning projects are pictured above). “Architizer’s A+Awards is a highly recognized and prestigious award in the architectural industry, and many outstanding works and firms have been recognized in the past, so we entered,” he added.

Architizer and the A+Awards offer a platform for up-and-coming studios to showcase their projects, including conceptual and rendering work. For young practices, the prestigious recognition of unbuilt work provides a real boon. For example, in 2019, Yun and the designers at MUDA showcased their innovative ideas and technical skills with the M50 Art Hotel (winner of the Architecture +Models & Rendering category) and the Xinglong Bookstore (winner of the Unbuilt – Commercial category). 

Garden Hotpot Restaurant by MUDA-Architects, Chengdu, China Jury Winner, 2020 A+Awards, Hospitality – Restaurants

The following year, MUDA-Architects took the Jury Prize for a stunning piece of built work. The Garden Hotpot Restaurant in Chengdu, China, is a remarkable space that is as much an experience as a restaurant. “The most interesting point of the Garden Hotpot Restaurant is our respect for the site and the natural environment,” says Yun. “The building adequately takes contextual situations into account and blends with the surrounding environment, conveying the oriental philosophy of man being an integral part of nature.”

Context is a philosophy that reigns true across all of the MUDA-Architects projects to date. They have established themselves as a practice that endeavors to implement a design strategy they refer to as “Oriental Spirits & Future-Oriented Mindset.” Every project explores and reveals the deep context connected with cultural heritage, site characteristics, and climate conditions. They use these pillars and apply contemporary design philosophy to their conceptual process, and demand that it be reflected in the spaces they create.

Garden Hotpot Restaurant by MUDA-Architects, Chengdu, ChinaJury Winner, 2020 A+Awards, Hospitality – Restaurants

The project itself has been featured in numerous articles. It stands out for its unique concept, stunning design and captivating philosophy. At its essence, it is a hotpot restaurant; however, the architecture also represents a style of cooking and eating that is synonymous with Chengdu — as not only a food culture but a part of a leisure lifestyle. The project is located in a Chengdu suburb known as “Chengdu green lung” and is banked by a lotus pond surrounded by eucalyptus trees. The space is the epitome of being surrounded by nature. There are no walls, only pillars used to retain a swirling canopy that takes its form from the billowing steam and smoke of the boiling pots within each table.

It is a truly remarkable space, beautiful and complex. It is sensitive to the surrounding landscape and the local heritage, making it a destination of significance. The project has undoubtedly been a triumph.

Yet, according to Yun, it was both the project’s success and the design process that together have helped shape the company’s narrative in the future. “First, the influence generated by the project makes our firm more known and brings us more clients and projects, which is a positive influence and virtuous circle. At the same time, the construction process also allows our team to learn how to solve complex construction problems efficiently and effectively, bringing practical help for our subsequent projects.”

Garden Hotpot Restaurant by MUDA-Architects, Chengdu, China | Jury Winner, 2020 A+Awards, Hospitality – Restaurants

“Establishing the firm’s brand is a complex and extended process. The completion of outstanding work, the subsequent publication, and the winning of awards will bring a positive impact to our firm, an observable reflection of the firm’s design strength and influence, inspiring us to continue to innovate.”

There is no doubt that MUDA-Architects are a team with their sights set high; they are determined to successfully bring their oriental philosophy to the forefront of the wider design world and help shape the biography of the future of architecture. With many large-scale projects on the horizon, the expansion of MUDA is set to continue its upwards trajectory, and we shall surely see even more inspiring ideas and buildings emerging from the desks of these brilliant architects.

Architizer is thrilled to announce the winners of the 10th Annual A+Awards! Want to earn global recognition for your projects? Sign up to be notified when the 11th Annual A+Awards program launches. 

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