Neri and Hu: The Dynamic Duo of Contemporary Architecture and Design


When it comes to contemporary architecture and design, the names Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu are almost synonymous with innovation and creativity. Both alumni from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, this talented couple has made a huge impact on the design world.

In this article, we’ll delve into Neri and Hu’s background, examine their philosophy, explore some of their key works and discover what makes them such an important force in the world of architecture and design today.


Lyndon Neri was born in the Philippines in 1965 and grew up in Manila, where his father was a Chinese diplomat. Rossana Hu was born in Taiwan in 1968 and grew up in Hong Kong, where her parents ran a textile firm.

The couple met while studying architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, after which they both went on to pursue their Master’s degrees in Architecture at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.

In 2004, Neri and Hu founded their own design firm, Neri&Hu Design and Research Office, in Shanghai. The firm quickly made a name for itself with innovative and boundary-breaking designs in a variety of disciplines including architecture, interior design, furniture design and product design.


Neri and Hu are known for their commitment to marrying traditional Chinese architecture and design with contemporary elements. They seek to create work that is both culturally rooted and globally relevant, and believe that design should enhance people’s lives and improve the built environment.

They also believe that a successful design should “tell a story” and communicate something about the culture or people it represents. This is seen in many of their works, which often incorporate traditional Chinese elements such as calligraphy, ceramic tiles and screen walls.

Key Works

Some of Neri and Hu’s most well-known works include:

Waterhouse at South Bund

This boutique hotel in Shanghai is perhaps Neri and Hu’s most recognizable project. The design team transformed an abandoned 1930s industrial building into a multi-level hotel, with a stunning glass-and-steel addition that appears to float above the original brick structure.

The hotel features 19 unique guest rooms, each with its own layout and design inspired by traditional Chinese alleyways. The result is a stunning blend of old and new, with the industrial character of the original building juxtaposed against elegant and contemporary design details.

The Design Republic Commune

Located in the heart of Shanghai’s bustling Jing’an District, this multi-use space was designed as a “creative hub” for designers, artists and other creative professionals.

The space includes a design store, showroom, event space and café, all housed in a restored colonial-era building. The design team worked with the existing structure to create a space that is both functional and visually stunning, with exposed brick, custom metalwork and intricate tile patterns.

The Aranya Art Centre

This cultural center in Qinhuangdao, China, was designed as a space for contemporary art exhibitions, theater performances and other cultural events. The design team was inspired by the surrounding landscape of dunes and ocean, and created a building that appears to blend seamlessly with its natural surroundings.

The center includes a gallery, a small theater and outdoor performance space, as well as a café and retail space. The use of natural materials such as wood, stone and bamboo, along with the minimalistic design, create a calming and peaceful atmosphere that enhances the cultural events held within.


In recent years, Neri and Hu have become stars of the design world, known for their innovative and boundary-breaking work that blends traditional Chinese elements with modern design ideas. Their work is a testament to their commitment to creating designs that enhance people’s lives and communicate something meaningful about the culture or people they represent.

As we look to the future of architecture and design, we can only hope that Neri and Hu’s influence will continue to inspire the next generation of designers and creatives, and that their unique approach to design will continue to break down cultural barriers and promote a more global and inclusive approach to design.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *