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Barry Yang, JLA Architects

JLA Architects Expands Design Team with Addition of Local Architect Barry C. Yang (AIA)

MILWAUKEE — JLA Architects is pleased to announce the expansion of their design team with the addition of Barry C. Yang, AIA. Yang’s role will span all the firm’s offices, working closely with our in-house design team to bring clients’ goals & visions to life. With over 27 years of experience, Yang has had the opportunity to hone his skillset in a variety of markets including hospitality, industrial, office, senior living, and places of worship. His projects have stretched across the nation and as far as China. In Wisconsin, his notable projects include the Babcock Hall Dairy Plant Expansion at UW-Madison, the Rock County Resource Center in Janesville, and Jax Inc. headquarters in Menomonee Falls.

His design approach is centered on three elements the physical environment, human behavior, and business organization. He’s an industry thought leader on the topics of senior living design and feng shui design and has spoken at conferences for the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and LeadingAge. His passion for human psychology and senior living design led him to become a Certified Manager of Senior Housing (National Center for Housing Management) as well as a Certified Feng Shui Consultant.

When asked what drew him to JLA, Yang explained: “JLA chooses humility over arrogance, and they work towards a common vision to achieve uncommon results.”

Milwaukee Office Director/Vice President Steve Wagner is pleased to welcome Barry to the JLA team, “It’s an exciting time to join JLA. Barry brings an infectious enthusiasm to his design approach; we are looking forward to our collaboration with Barry.”

Yang has studied for his Ph.D in Architecture & Environment at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and holds a Master of Architecture from the University at Buffalo. Yang also completed the Associates in Commercial Real Estate Development (ACRE) program at Marquette University.

Learn more about Barry

What drew you to architecture as a career?

When I was young, I remember that every time I went to a Buddhist temple it was cooler than my home, even though air conditioning wasn’t around then, and I didn’t understand why this was? Now that I’m an architect, I understand that hot air rises and when the space has taller ceilings, more than 15 feet, air will stay up, cooling the air for those in the space below. From a very young age, I was always very interested in people’s environmental experiences; how we interact with our environment.

The other reason was that my father was a real estate lawyer, and he knew several architects, so I had the opportunity to visit architecture firms. I made the decision in high school that I wanted to be an architect.

What’s your favorite (or most unique) project you’ve worked on and why?

I had the opportunity to work on a $262 million project called Lalu Hotel in China. It borders the Pacific Ocean, so we made the most of the site ensuring all the rooms and villas had sweeping views of the ocean.

Every element—daylighting, lighting design, circulation—was carefully considered in the design as it could have a profound effect on how it made the guests feel. I enjoy studying human behavior so this project afforded me the opportunity to deeply contemplate how the guests would interact with this space.

What do you do for fun? Do you have any hobbies or special interests?

I read philosophy, specifically Buddhism, Taoism, and phenomenology. I am intrigued by how the three overlap: Buddhism talks about ‘emptiness’, Taoism talks about ‘voidness’, and phenomenology refers to ‘nothingness’. The three concepts are all the same, they talk about something that is not there. Taoism says that if you want to keep something you need to let it go, if you want to make something bigger you must let it constrain; it’s completely opposite of how we perceive reality.

An example of this is the Jax Inc. headquarters which is a two-story office building in Menomonee Falls. On the second floor of the building, I designed a recessed, void area and it’s contrasted with a solid, heavy form next to it; the void emphasizes and brings focus to the form.

I also enjoy finding peace in nature, I refer to it as ‘listening to the song of tranquility’. I live in Whitefish Bay, so I regularly walk to Klode Park on Lake Michigan. Consciously sitting in silence and enjoying the landscape around me brings me to a different level. It’s not quite meditation, it’s simply being present in nature.

Given your love for nature, do you have any causes or nonprofits that mean a lot to you?

On a regular basis, my wife and I give to a nonprofit in Taiwan called the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzh Chi Foundation. They have provided humanitarian aid ranging from international disaster relief to environmental protection to over 128 countries.

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