Ben Uyeda stepped away from the award-winning architecture firm he co-founded, as well as an Ivy League teaching position, to develop media companies that deliver affordable designs to the masses. In the last four years, Ben’s design ideas have reached more than 50 million people and the free designs he gives away are being built on six different continents. Despite the populist and affordable nature of his work, Ben’s designs have been featured in an exhibition and workshop at the Vitra Furniture Museum in Germany.

My Life as a Series of Projects

As an alternative to a bio, I thought I would share some of my favorite projects.

My 1st Woodworking Projects

Early years

My parents got me a bandsaw when I was 10. Here is what I made.

My 1st Architecture School Project

The Cornell Years

My first semester architecture school project was to design a loft for a screenwriter. Here is what I designed.

My 1st Design
Competition

The Cornell Years

At the beginning of my 2nd year of architecture school I was asked to design something wearable out of just one 2x4.

The Cornell Years

A group of Cornell students came together to design and build solar powered house.

The Cornell Years

I took a 2 month road trip across America.

Homeless in 
Red Hook

The Cornell Years

As a grad student I spent a month living with homeless people in Red Hook.

The Truro House

Architecture

Our first big project after starting ZeroEnergy Design.

A House On A Lake

Architecture

A modest lake house was a pivotal moment in my career.

Little Easy Project

Architecture

I put together a team and entered the 2010 USGBC Natural Talent Design Competition. Here's what we designed.

Making Architecture Free

Tech Start-ups

I love architecture but as a profession with a service business model, it tends to cater to wealthy clients.  I started FreeGreen because I wanted to provide affordable energy efficient designs.  

Bamboo Tunnel

Design Experiments

I visited my brother's ranch in Argentina with my friend and architect, Shawn Brown. We built this bamboo pavilion in just 5 days and it came out really cool!  We drilled holes in the bamboo poles and ran pieces of rebar through them to give the tunnel its shape.

DIY Bottle Planter

HomeMade Modern

For HMM's first project I wanted to create something that was unique, affordable and versatile.  After FreeGreen got acquired i wanted to take on projects that were even more accessible and affordable.  These bottle projects where my first attempts.

DIY Bucket Stool

HomeMade Modern

The $5 bucket stool epitomizes exactly what we are trying to do at HMM. The stool is durable, simple to make and aesthetically pleasing.

LEGO x Concrete

HomeMade Modern

Using classic LEGO bricks to make a mold  I was skeptical about how well this idea would work, but everything went smoothly and LEGO formed concrete is my new obsession.

DIY Zip Stitch Chair

Homemade Modern

Chairs are generally more difficult to make than benches or stools, but here's one that can be made by stitching (or what we're calling 'stitching') plywood pieces with zip ties.

TEDx Talk

Lectures

In this TEDx talk about design and architecture, I explain why I left my successful architecture firm to give away my design ideas for affordable modern furniture for free on the internet.

The Loft

Real Estate Projects

I finally got to design and build my own home!

Jessie Uyeda Joins the Team

Milestones

In 2015, my youngest sister, Jessie, joined the HMM team.

CNC Spiral Staircase

Digital Fabrication Projects

I made this spiral staircase for my loft in Boston. I used my X-Carve CNC machine by Inventables.com to cut out the initial pieces.

Modern Maker Podcast

Media

I started a podcast with Chris from Four Eyes Furniture and Mike from Modern builds!

DIY Plywood Table

HomeMade Modern

I designed this DIY plywood table so that it could be made out of a single sheet of ¾” plywood.

Secret Garden Writing Desk

Homemade Modern

I have been thinking a lot about how a space can foster productivity and creativity. This desk was a wardrobe that I transformed into a writing haven.

Cross-fit Project

Homemade Modern

I designed this DIY crossfit style home gym so that it can fold out of the wall.

A Functional Tattoo

Homemade Modern

I will always make stuff and I am always looking for a ruler so I decided to my arm into a ruler.

Contact Ben Uyeda
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Trickle Up Design

Lectures

My TEDx talk outlined how my experiences shaped my motivations to share ideas but a few years later I wanted to try and formulate a broader concept that would encapsulate my approach to progressive design.

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