Bercy Chen Studio LP is an architecture & urban planning firm with design/build capabilities based in Austin, Texas founded in 2001 by partners Thomas Bercy and Calvin Chen, both graduates of the University of Texas at Austin.
The firm was recently profiled in Architectural Record’s December 2006 ‘Design Vanguard’ award issue, selected as one of top 10 emerging design firms in the world. In 2007 Bercy Chen Studio LP was part of the Young Americans exhibition at the Deutsche Architektur Museum in Frankfurt, Germany.
The firm’s work has been published in over 20 countries including The New York Times and Business Week for design innovation in 2007. Thomas & Calvin have also been invited guest speakers at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C.
Thomas is from Belgium and Calvin is from Taiwan by way of Australia; the partners’ European and Asian backgrounds form a design philosophy of unique perspectives. The work is influenced by vernacular precedents from various cultures- whether Islamic, Indian, African or pre-columbian, while maintaining respect for the particular contemporary contextual conditions.
Due to this unique approach, the work has received national and international attention. Bercy Chen Studio won the prestigious ‘Emerging Voices’ prize from the Architectural League of New York in 2006. Every year the League selects 7 of the most innovative designers from Europe and North America for this award.
The firm has collaborated closely with both the private and the public sector. Current projects include master planning of an 800 acre sustainable development near Mulege in Baja California Sur, and the Nahua Museum Tower, a 45 story luxury residential tower on town lake next to the Mexican American Art Museum in Austin, Texas, and the Skybridge, a 120 unit, 140,000 sq. ft. town home project.
In 2006, the firm won a competition for the masterplanning of the Asian American Resource Center in Austin ($32 million, 120,000 SF ). Developed in four phases, the project will eventually include education facilities, offices, a conference center and hotel on 15 acres for the NAAO. Bercy Chen Studio successfully worked with a team of economic and engineering consultants including Broaddus Associates to produce a detailed masterplan and economic impact study which helped secured AARC’s initial $ 3 million bond election funding in 2007.
Bercy Chen Studio LP is committed to collaborating with clients in identifying design solutions and planning strategies to create innovative designs based on environmentally sustainable and financially viable business models. Having experience as a design/build operation, the firm’s first hand knowledge of construction & finance is crucial in ensuring successful project implementation. The firm has been a member of the City of Austin’s Green Building Program and USGBC with certified 3 Star projects.
In 2005, Bercy Chen Studio also won 1st place in a national competition for Urban Reserve, one of the first sustainable modernist residential developments in the US. In 2006 the Beverly Skyline Residence was shortlisted as a finalist in the “Best Plot in the World” competition in Vienna, Austria.
Bercy Chen Studio was recently featured in the leading San Francisco based publication on creative modern design: Dwell magazine- Culminating in a special television episode on the Fine Living Television Network program which discussed Bercy Chen Studio’s design approach in depth. which aired in December 2004. In addition HGTV also featured the firm’s work in June of 2006.
The design of Factory People, a premier fashion boutique/ art gallery on South Congress Avenue was selected as one of top 100 boutiques in America in 2003 by GQ. Factory People has also been well received in numerous publications including Elle, Lucky, XLXR…etc. In 2008 Bercy Chen Studio collaborated with Lord Norman Foster’s firm on 3 design proposals including the San Antonio Aviation Museum, the Austin Central Library, and the $ 700 million Green Water Redevelopment project.
In June 2008, Bercy Chen Studio LP was short listed for the Giorgio Armani resort on Lombok Island, Indonesia on invitation from Emaar Properties, developer of the tallest building in the world, the Burj Dubai.
In August 2008, the firm was invited by The Qatar Foundation to participate in ‘The Qatar Design Zone’ project located on 50 acres in Doha, Qatar. The Design Zone will be the world’s first working resort. Other architects invited for the Qatar Foundation includes Rem Koolhaas/ OMA for a new library, Jean Nouvel for the Qatar National Museum and I M Pei for the National Islamic Museum.
In September 2008 two of the firm’s projects won honorable mentions at the Seoul Design Olympics in South Korea as examples of progressive sustainable design.
Calvin & Thomas are both active participants of the community. Calvin serves on the City of Austin’s Design Commission and participated on several initiatives, including the ‘Create Austin’ Cultural Masterplanning project. They both serve on the board of advisors for the Austin Museum of Art.
Design Team member profile: Thomas Tornbjerg is a project architect and construction manager with Bercy Chen Studio, LP. Tom joined the office in 2005 and holds a Master of Architecture from The University of Texas at Austin. In 1998 he earned a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering from The University of Texas at Austin. Prior to joining Bercy Chen Studio, Mr. Tornbjerg worked four and a half years as a consulting structural engineer.
Ryan Michael graduated from the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics. In 2002 he received a Bachelor of Environmental Design in Architecture Cum Laude from the North Carolina State University School of Architecture. Before coming to Bercy Chen Studio, Ryan worked for Cherry Huffman Architects and Cannon Architects in Raleigh, North Carolina.