Yutaka Sho
Associate Professor

Bachelor of Landscape Architecture and Bachelor of Fine Arts, Rhode Island School of Design; Master of Architecture, Harvard University Graduate School of Design; Ph.D., Environmental Studies, the University of Tokyo

Yutaka Sho is a partner and co-founder of nonprofit architecture firm General Architecture Collaborative (GAC) that works with underrepresented communities to build aesthetically engaging spaces while using the construction sites for end-user skills training. Since 2008, GAC has planned, designed, and constructed residential, health, and educational projects in Rwanda. Projects vary in scales and scope, but GAC always builds with those who are the ultimate users,  who take ownership and contribute to the future maintenance. The on-site training programs create opportunities for the end-users to gain skills and wages to be used toward improving their own homes. GAC is currently working on the masterplan and design of 22-acre campus for Kigali International Community School, Rwanda Housing Project to survey and document 370 rural homes with architecture students from University of Rwanda and SU, among others. GAC’s projects have received numerous awards (see below Building Projects and Awards), and the firm was the recipient of Best of Practice Award for Architect (Small Firm) in the Northeast by the Architect’s Newspaper in 2021 and was named the Game Changers by Metropolis Magazine in 2020.

Sho’s design research and practice investigate the roles of architecture in the global development industry, informal and self-build settlements, and in post-atrocity reconciliation and rebuilding processes. In addition to Rwanda, Sho has researched in Hiroshima, Miyagi, and Tokyo in Japan; Ghana; Izmir and Diyarbakir in Turkey, and Uganda.

Sho received her doctoral degree from the University of Tokyo, her Master of Architecture degree from Harvard Graduate School of Design, and has both a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees from Rhode Island School of Design.

Buildings and Projects

  • Masoro Learning and Sports Center, Masoro, Rulindo, Rwanda. With GAC, 2019.
  • Masoro Health Center, Masoro, Rulindo, Rwanda. With GAC, 2018.
  • Jabana Preschool Playground, Jabana, Gasabo, Rwanda. With GAC, 2018.
  • That Day Now event series, Syracuse University and Everson Museum, Syracuse, New York. With Keiko Ogura and the Canary Project, 2017.
  • Jabana House, Jabana, Gasabo, Rwanda, 2015.
  • The Rwanda Conversations, Goethe Institut in Kigali and Protestant Institute of Arts and Social Science in Huye, Rwanda. With Tyler Survant and Dr. Kazuyuki Sasaki, 2015.
  • Masoro House, Masoro Rulindo, Rwanda, 2013.
  • Perpetual Peace Project, Conversation and exhibition on Kant’s secret paper, at Kigali Institute of Science and Technology Kigali, Rwanda. With Aaron Levy, the Slought Foundation, 2011.
  • Where I’m From, a film by Alex MacInnis, based on the Rwanda Picture Project
  • Art=Relief, Studio X, Columbia University, NY. With GAC, 2011.
  • Rural self-build home project in Rwanda, 2009-


  • Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism, Seoul, Korea. With GAC and Vittorio Lovato, 2019.
  • “The Business of Design,” Yale University School of Architecture. Curated by Vittorio Lovato. With GAC, 2019.
  • Chilean Architecture and Urbanism Biennial, Valparaíso, Chile. With Peter Lee, 2017.
  • Urban Rest Stop, organized by UPSTATE, Syracuse, NY. With Stephen Mahan, Mary Lynn Mahan and the seventh-grade students from Edward Smith Elementary School, 2014.
  • “Afritecture: Building Social Change,” Architekturmuseum der TUM, Munich, Germany. With GAC, 2013.
  • People Meet in Architecture: Biennale Architettura: La Biennale di Venezia. “Tirana Local: Albanian Cultural Delivery Service on Rails.” With GAC, 2010.

Grants and Awards

  • OnPurpose Pilot Project Fund from Kate Spade NY, 2019.
  • Great Places Award, The Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) for “Masoro Village Project,” 2014.
  • Arnold W. Brunner Grant, New York Center for Architecture: The American Institute of Architects, New York Chapter and the Center for Architecture Foundation for “Sustainable Housing in Rwanda,” 2013.
  • ARES Sustainable Emergency Shelter Competition, Boston natural disaster preparedness manual: converting big-box parking lots in Boston to emergency community, 2007.
  • Deborah J. Norden Fund Architectural League of New York Travel Grant for research in Rwanda, 2007


  • “Design as Interface: Case of Rwandan Development Architecture” in All-Inclusive Engagement in Architecture ed. by Farhana Ferdous and Bryan Bell. Co-authored with James Setzler, forthcoming.
  •  “Rwandan Global Development Industry and Contemporary Commons” (ルワンダの国際開発業界と総有) 法政大学法学部総有研究会 (Hosei University Graduate School of Public Policy and Social Governance, Tokyo, Japan, 2019).
  •  “The Darker Side of Engagement” in The Routledge Handbook of Architecture and Social Engagement. ed. by Farhan Karim and Farhana Ferdous (Routledge, 2018).
  • “Thinking International Development Cooperation Projects Through Toilets” (トイレから考える国際開発協力), The Directions of Public Toilets, Lixil Business, April 25, 2018.
  • BERLOGOS “Women and communities integration in construction and architecture” On-line conversation among six globally practicing designers, Russia, 2017.
  • “Fukushima Dark Tourism” in Planning for Community-Based Disaster Resilience Worldwide: Learning from Case Studies in Six Continents, ed. by Adenrele Awotona (Routledge, 2016).
  • “The Masoro Village Project” in UN Habitat Accessibility of Housing: A Handbook of Inclusive Affordable Housing Solutions for Persons with Disabilities and Older Persons, Marja Edelman, principle author (UN Nairobi, 2015), with GAC.
  • ARCHIVE Global On-Line Journal “’Who, Then, Has Commissioned Us?’ – A Question for Designers in Development,” September 29, 2015.
  • “Architecture After Fukushima: Spaces of Bara Bara, Spaces of Reciprocity” in Monstrous Geographies: Places and Spaces of the Monstrous, ed. by Sarah Montin and Evelyn Tsitas. (Oxfordshire, UK: ID Press, 2014).
  • “Looking Like Developed: Aesthetics and Ethics in Rwandan Housing Projects” in Journal of Architectural Education “Building Modern Africa,” 68:2, 2014.
  • “Thick Food – Food Systems in Reconstruction: Beyond the Regional Planning that Created Fukushima” in Food Studies Journal (Common Ground Publishing, Champaign, 2014), 19-32.
  • “On Membership” in SLUM Lab, the Africa Issue, eds. Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner. Guest editors Alexis Kalagas and Scott Lloyd, ETH Zurich, 2014.
  • Spaces of Everyday Rwanda: The Rwanda Picture Project, edited by Yutaka Sho (NY: Standing Stone Books, 2013).