Hiroto Kobayashi

Design Critic in Architecture

Hiroto Kobayashi, JIA, BA, MA, MDes, DDes
Architect, Principal, Kobayashi Maki Design Workshop (KMDW)
Professor, Keio University Graduate School of Media and Governance and Faculty of Environment and Information Studies

Hiroto Kobayashi studied architecture and urban design at Kyoto University and Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). He has worked with Nikken Sekkei and Norman Foster and Partners as an architect. He was a Fulbright visiting researcher at the GSD in 1999 and 2000. He completed his doctoral dissertation on the traditional Japanese community form, ‘Cho’, and received a Doctor of Design degree from the GSD in 2003.

Kobayashi is a founding partner of Kobayashi Maki Design Workshop (KMDW), an architectural and urban design firm based in Tokyo since 2003. He was a representative of Skidmore Owings and Merrill LLP (SOM) in Japan between 2003 and 2022. Kobayashi’s work encompasses a full range of design scales, from furniture design to large building complexes and urban design. The firm’s projects include work for cities and communities in Japan, China, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Peru.

Kobayashi served as a Visiting Associate at the GSD between 2003 and 2005, Visiting Associate Professor at MIT in 2001 and 2002, Visiting Researcher at UC Berkeley in 2012 and 2013, Visiting Professor at Ljubljana University in 2017, and again at the GSD in 2021 and 2022.

Kobayashi has studied the social contribution of architecture and urban design with projects completed domestically and abroad. Most recently he has been developing a self-build, participatory building methodology using plywood called, ‘Veneer House’, for disaster relief and children’s education. This approach was inspired and initiated by the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011.