Embracing clients' passion to develop 21st century China

Yang Di
Bradford McNamee is a California- based architect who has created designs for many large and small scale buildings worldwide. He is senior vice president at WATG.
Yang Di
Embracing clients' passion to develop 21st century China
Courtesy of WATG / Ti Gong

Bradford McNamee, senior vice president at WATG

Who is he?

Bradford McNamee is a California- based international architect who has created designs for many large and small scale buildings worldwide for more than 30 years. Ever since childhood he’s had passion to build structures and always dreamed of being an architect. Today, he is senior vice president at WATG. He has had numerous opportunities to design more complex projects of the mixed use type that include five-star hotels, luxury residential blocks, retail shopping centers and commercial offices in China’s mainland and throughout Asia. For the last 20 years, he’s embraced the fast-paced energy and deep passion of his clients to develop a modern China for the 21st century. It has been an exciting period of time that comes with many challenges and rewards.

Please share with us some of your works, and name the one you are most proud of.

A few notable projects include the Four Seasons Anguilla Resort in the British West Indies and the Lowe’s Hollywood Hotel, a major portion of a larger development, including a retail/entertainment center and the Dolby Theater in the heart of Hollywood, California. In Singapore, I designed the luxurious St. Regis Hotel and Residences and nearby, the W Sentosa Hotel, Residences and Waterfront Retail/Entertainment Center, named Quayside Isle. In China’s mainland, I’ve designed the very successful Ritz Carlton Guangzhou and Ritz Carlton Sanya hotels. Now, and slated to complete construction is a magnificent mixed use project comprised of two separate retail shopping centers and a high-rise tower that combines commercial offices and a five-star Grand Bay Hotel in Chengdu.

I am most proud of my design leadership for the recently completed Xi’an project, consisting of The landmark Ritz Carlton Xi’an, an elegant Retail Shopping Center and 5 exquisite Residential Towers.

Embracing clients' passion to develop 21st century China
Courtesy of WATG / Ti Gong

Ritz-Carlton Xi'an

Are you currently involved with any project?

Currently, I am involved with my talented studio design team in the creation of a number of architectural mixed-use projects in the cities of Guiyang, Xi’an, Taiyuan and Jinan. It is and continues to be a very exciting time in China’s history.

What’s your design style?

My design approach is to understand and embrace all aspects and influences that may affect the design of the project. From a myriad of influences, my design team and I conceptualize through various methods the ideas that direct our decisions on the exterior appearance, the internal layout of functions and the overall experience we are trying to convey with the architectural design. Our architectural design for each individual project is always unique and different. The design may range from a progressive modern landmark to an old historical style that carefully blends into a sensitive context. And, for some projects, the architecture could be conceived to harmonize the old with the new, or the ancient with the futuristic!

Where are you most creative?

I experience creativity at both unexpected individualistic moments as well as prearranged collaborative events. I believe creativity is not something you can easily turn on or off. For a design architect, mental visualization is essential and the beginning of the journey of thinking, sketching, experimenting and discussing the creative ideas and concepts that lead us to the appropriate architectural solution. Like art, architecture is not always universally agreed to be good or not good. Success and disappointment are very much a part of an artist or architect’s creative life.

What does your home mean to you?

Home means family to me. It is where I share in the delight of living and being with the people I love most dearly in my life. It is also a place I designed and built for my family to enjoy and experience our lives together. Traveling has been a major part of my life. When I return home from a long trip it is where I find peace and my loving family.

Where would you like to go the most in Shanghai?

I am always intrigued with new high-rise buildings. Eighteen years ago on my first visit to Shanghai, I stayed at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in the Jin Mao Tower. Someday in the near future, I would love to visit the  Shanghai Tower. Possibly, stay in the tower’s J hotel!

What will be the next design trend?

Just as is evident today, environmental forces and advancements in new building technologies will have major impacts on architectural trends and the design and construction of future structures. These powerful and on-going influences will affect the future design concepts that owners, architects, engineers and ultimately the inhabitants may desire and expect. Architectural stylistic trends will continue to evolve, disappear, reappear, transform and forever reflect the ever-changing visual tastes people have with their habitats and the built environment.

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