Kulapat Yantrasast

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Kulapat Yantrasast
Kulapat Yantrasast in 2015
Alma materChulalongkorn University
University of Tokyo
AwardsSilpathorn Award
BuildingsGrand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky

The Metropolitan Museum of Art AAOA Galleries, New York, New York

EPA Center Arts, East Palo Alto, California

Kulapat Yantrasast (Thai: กุลภัทร ยันตรศาสตร, born in Bangkok) is an architect and designer. Originally from Thailand and now based in Los Angeles, he is a founding partner and Creative Director of wHY, a multidisciplinary design practice.[1] In 2007 Yantrasast led the design for the Grand Rapids Art Museum, the first art museum building in the world to receive the LEED Gold certification for environmentally sustainable design.[2]


Yantrasast was born in Bangkok, Thailand, where he graduated with honors from Chulalongkorn University. He received his M.Arch. and Ph.D. degrees in Architecture from the University of Tokyo, under a Japanese Government scholarship.

He is currently on the Board of Trustees of the Pulitzer Arts Foundation and the Noguchi Museum, and he is part of the Artists Council for the Hammer Museum at UCLA.[3] Yantrasast has served on the Artists’ Committee of the Americans for the Arts since 2005, the nation’s oldest organization for support of the arts in the society.[4]

Professional career[edit]

From 1996 to 2003, Yantrasast worked as a close associate of the world-renowned Japanese architect Tadao Ando,[5] responsible for international projects including the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in Fort Worth, Texas (2002),[6] Armani / Teatro in Milan, Italy (2001),[7] Fondation Francois Pinault pour l’Art Contemporain in Paris, France (2001–2003),[8] the Calder Museum project in Philadelphia, PA, (1999–2002)[9] and the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA (2001-2014)[10] as well as international design competitions.

Yantrasast co-founded wHY Architecture in 2003, later shortened to wHY, with Yo-Ichiro Hakomori.[1] The studio's first major commission was the completion of the Grand Rapids Art Museum (2007) in Michigan.[11] wHY has since worked on a number of important museum projects, including the expansion of the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, KT, and gallery design and planning for Harvard Art Museums and the Art Institute of Chicago.

The practice is currently engaged in major gallery renovation projects including the Rockefeller Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Northwest Coast Hall at the American Museum of Natural History. Other leading cultural projects include a new contemporary art museum in Makati, Philippines, and the Tchaikovsky Academic Opera and Ballet Theater in Perm, Russia.

Yantrasast has also designed a number of private residences, including large scale homes in Malibu, Venice Beach, and Beverly Hills, CA, and villas in Chiang Mai and Phuket in Thailand.

The practice has been working with a consortium of civic leaders, private developers, and urban planners to revitalize the historic Portland Warehouse District adjacent to Louisville, Kentucky.[12] In 2017 and 2018 respectively, the wHY Landscape Workshop won two international competitions to design large-scale urban parks: West Princes Street Gardens and the Ross Pavilion in Edinburgh, Scotland,[13] and Rees Ridge Waterfront Park in Toronto, Canada. Yantrasast is also involved in community projects in California, including a mixed-use affordable housing compound in Watts, Los Angeles and EPACENTER Arts, a youth arts and music center in East Palo Alto.[14]

In September 2023, the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco sued wHY for allegedly failing to fully deliver a $38 million expansion project completed in March 2020.[15] According to the lawsuit, the expansion project was delivered behind schedule, and did not meet minimum museum-quality standards, requiring significant remediation from the museum.[16]

Awards and recognition[edit]

In 2009, Yantrasast received the Silpathorn Award for Design from Thailand's Ministry of Culture for outstanding achievement and notable contributions to Thai contemporary arts and culture. He was the first architect to receive the prestigious award.[17]

Yantrasast was named of the 100 Most Powerful People in the Art World by Art+Auction magazine in their 2012 Power 100 issue.[18]

In 2020, Architectural Digest listed wHY on AD100, their annual survey of the top names in interior decoration, architecture, and landscape design.[19]

Notable works[edit]


  1. ^ a b Loos, Ted (2018-05-24). "The Architect Kulapat Yantrasast Loves 'Making Good Spaces'". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 May 2019.
  2. ^ See Reuters, March 20, 2008, New York Times, March 3, 2007
  3. ^ "Board of Trustees | Pulitzer Arts Foundation". pulitzerarts.org. Retrieved 2016-01-20.
  4. ^ Arts USA: Committee
  5. ^ New York Times, May 30, 2010
  6. ^ "The Modern". Archived from the original on 2011-10-05. Retrieved 2011-11-04.
  7. ^ YouTube
  8. ^ The Guardian, Art and Design, October 11, 2004
  9. ^ Philadelphia Museum, 2001
  10. ^ Art Daily
  11. ^ Greensource Construction: Grand Rapids Art Museum
  12. ^ "Portland renaissance". 2013-07-10.
  13. ^ "The Quaich Project: A space for all in the heart of Edinburgh". The City of Edinburgh Council Blog. City of Edenburgh Council. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  14. ^ Loos, Ted (2018-05-24). "The Architect Kulapat Yantrasast Loves 'Making Good Spaces'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-06-05.
  15. ^ "WHY Architecture faces lawsuit over San Francisco Asian Art Museum expansion project". Archinect. 2023-09-27. Retrieved 2023-09-28.
  16. ^ "Asian Art Museum Sues WHY Architects and Swinerton Builders". Asian Art Museum. 2023-09-25. Retrieved 2023-09-28.
  17. ^ Silpathorn Award to Yantrasast
  18. ^ http://www.blouinartinfo.com/news/story/752474/artauctions-power-100-francois-pinault-dasha-zhukova-larry-gagosian-and-more[dead link]
  19. ^ "2020 AD100 Debut: wHY Architecture". Architectural Digest. 4 December 2019. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  20. ^ Nash, David (March 8, 2018). "The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco Recruits Architect Kulapat Yantrasast for Its Major Transformation". Architectural Digest. Architectural Digest. Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  21. ^ "American Museum of Natural History Begins Major Project to Restore and Update Historic Northwest Coast Hall". American Museum of Natural History. American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved April 22, 2020.
  22. ^ Loos, Ted. "The Architect Kulapat Yantrasast Loves 'Making Good Spaces'". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 May 2019.
  23. ^ "Kulapat Yantrasast's brilliant design for the new David Kordansky Gallery". Architectural Digest. August 31, 2014. Retrieved March 20, 2016.
  24. ^ Los Angeles Times, September 12, 2010: L&M Arts Gallery
  25. ^ "Goldman Study Center". Art Institute of Chicago. Art Institute of Chicago. Retrieved March 20, 2016.
  26. ^ Chicago Tribune, July 5, 2007. Art Institute of Chicago
  27. ^ "Our Dramatic Studio Art Hall Provides Insight Into Creative Spaces". Pomona.edu. Pomona College. 2015-06-03. Retrieved March 20, 2016.
  28. ^ Webster, Peter (February 19, 2015). "Harvard Art Museums: A design for viewing". Christie's. Retrieved March 20, 2016.
  29. ^ "Art Museum to Unveil New Accessible Walkway". Telegram & Gazette. November 12, 2015. p. 6, section C.
  30. ^ Architecture Daily: Art Bridge