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Tomohisa Miyauchi

About me

After graduating from high school in Japan, I dreamed of becoming a Hollywood movie director. I couldn’t speak a word of English but that didn’t stop me from moving to LA to study filmmaking. Unfortunately, it didn’t go as I’d hoped, so a classmate suggested I switch to architecture, since all my films were about people and cities. I tried an Introduction to Architecture class and the rest, as they say, is history.

I have worked as an architect in the US, Japan, China, and Singapore. Before coming to IE University, I worked at the National University of Singapore for eight years. I’m truly passionate about architecture and teaching—but that doesn’t mean I’ve given up on my Hollywood dreams yet!

Creativity and positivity: The foundation for all good design

For Tomohisa Miyauchi, being an architect is about seeking freedom and creativity. He even goes so far as to say he hates the idea of having a “client” in the traditional sense. In his professional life, he always seeks to work with people he can identify with, as it helps him design creative solutions for them while producing joyful built environments. For this reason, he prefers to see his clients as “collaborators”—people he can understand and connect with, who share his vision for a better future.

As Tomohisa explains, an architect’s responsibility goes beyond making a profit. It’s about realizing a vision that benefits both people and the environment. To be an effective architect, you need to be hopeful, willful, and mindful. You need to be honest with yourself in order to discover how we can be happier in our buildings and urban environments, while allowing the natural world to thrive.

This philosophy runs through every aspect of Tomohisa’s personal and professional life. He approaches his classes in a very similar way, preferring to see himself as a “facilitator or collaborator,” rather than a simple instructor. He believes that a teacher should guide their students—and learn from them—because school represents something much greater than the sum of its parts.

If you want to learn how to use the computer software, you can just watch YouTube videos. Individual skills can be acquired almost anywhere, but having a place to meet and work with people who have the same dreams and share common goals is something special.

Tomohisa’s philosophy of openness and positive outlook guides him in every aspect of his life. So it’s no surprise that he considers his hobby and his work to be one and the same. No matter where he is, his unrelenting passion spills into everything he does. In his constant search for creativity, he always tries to free his imagination and loves nothing more than being on-site to help bring his designs to life.

Even his passion for travel is wrapped up in architecture. He enjoys traveling to different places, taking part in different projects while surrounded by remarkable people. There is something he loves about the uniqueness of architecture. Every building only exists in a particular location and can only be its authentic self amongst the history and culture of that place. This means that, as an architect, not only can you work anywhere in the world, you can also enjoy the experience in a different way.

In the end, it all comes down to unrelenting creativity, and the key to unlocking it is being determined, persistent, and flexible. If you are optimistic and open-minded, you can produce surprising results, especially when something turns out better than expected. He advises against limiting ourselves to only serving the market and the industry. Because it’s entirely possible to explore the fun side of architecture, while also benefiting people and the environment—and remaining profitable.

Tomohisa maintains he still hasn’t given up on his Hollywood ambitions. But as he patiently waits for this star-studded career to kick off, he’s putting his time and energy to good use: designing positive, environmentally friendly spaces, while guiding his students to become happy, high-impact architecture professionals.

"Learning can start anytime by asking simple questions about why and being curious about our everyday surroundings."
Tomohisa Miyauchi

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