• Designing a library at Taksindu Monastery, Nepal
  • Leading a community capacity building workshop in Ban Mai Noi Soi Refugee Camp, Thailand
  • Learning about Wae Rebo Village in Flores, Indonesia


M.Arch. University of Pennsylvania
B.A. (Architecture and Urbanism) Smith College

Professional qualifications and affiliations

FAIA (Fellow, American Institute of Architects)
MAA (Manitoba Association of Architects)
LFA (Living Future Accreditation)


Mira (Mimi) Locher is an educator, author, and practicing architect. She joined the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Manitoba in 2021. Mimi graduated from Smith College and received her Master of Architecture degree from the University of Pennsylvania. After working for architecture firms in the U.S. and Japan, including seven years with Team Zoo Atelier Mobile in Tokyo, she began a full-time academic career. She taught at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Utah, where she served as Chair of the School of Architecture from 2015-2019. Mimi's award-winning teaching and research focus on design practices and processes, community engagement through architectural design, and on Japanese architecture, gardens, and design. She is the author of four books on Japanese design: Super Potato Design, Traditional Japanese Architecture, Zen Gardens, and Zen Garden Design, as well as numerous articles and academic papers. Her research spans the disciplines of interior design, architecture, and landscape architecture with a common theme: connecting contemporary design practices to traditional culture through a deep understanding of nature, place, and time-honored design and construction methods and materials. Mimi also is a partner in Kajika Architecture, with projects in the U.S. and Japan. An avid traveler, Mimi has a keen interest in traditional building crafts and Indigenous settlements worldwide and enjoys learning about new cultures and cuisines.

Select publications

Zen Garden Design: Mindful Spaces by Shunmyo Masuno, Japan’s Leading Garden Designer: Tuttle Publishing: Tokyo and Rutland, VT, 2020. Zen Garden Design - Tuttle Publishing

Zen Gardens: The Complete Works of Shunmyo Masuno, Japan’s Leading Garden Designer: Tuttle Publishing: Tokyo and Rutland, VT, 2012. Zen Gardens - Tuttle Publishing

Japanese Architecture: An Exploration of Elements and Forms: Tuttle Publishing: Tokyo and Rutland, VT, 2010. Japanese Architecture - Tuttle Publishing

Super Potato Design: The Complete Works of Takashi Sugimoto, Japan’s Leading Interior Designer: Tuttle Publishing: Tokyo and Rutland, VT, 2006. Super Potato Design - Tuttle Publishing

“Foreword” for new release of The Genius of Japanese Carpentry: Secrets of an Ancient Craft by Azby Brown (originally published in 1989), Tuttle Publishing: Tokyo and Rutland, VT, 2021; pp. 4-7. The Genius of Japanese Carpentry - Tuttle Publishing

“Foreword to the Edition” for new edition of Measure and Construction of the Japanese House by Heino Engel (originally published in 1985), Tuttle Publishing: Tokyo and Rutland, VT, 2020; pp. 11-21. Measure and Construction of the Japanese House - Tuttle Publishing

“Tokyo Carbon Emissions Cap-and-Trade Program,” in Architectural Record, May 2020; p. 114. May 2020 Issue | Architectural Record

“Architecture in Pre-Modern Japan” for the Encyclopedia of Asian Design, Haruhiko Fujita and Christine Guth, Eds. Bloomsbury Publishing PLC: London, 2019. Encyclopedia of East Asian Design: : Haruhiko Fujita: Bloomsbury Visual Arts

“Cultivating Consciousness: Shunmyo Masuno’s Zen Gardens Outside Japan,” NAJGA Journal: The Journal of the North American Japanese Gardens Association (Portland, OR), issue 5, September 2018; pp.47-54. Journal # 5- Table of Contents | North American Japanese Garden Association (najga.org)

“Buying Brand Name Buildings for Rural Revitalization in Japan: The Case of Kengo Kuma’s Hiroshige Ando Museum,” in Perspecta 47: Money. James Andrachuk, Christos C. Bolos, Avi Forman, and Marcus A. Hooks, Eds. The MIT Press: Cambridge, MA, 2014; pp. 58-65. Perspecta 47 | The MIT Press

“Silicon Slope: Adobe Systems Utah Campus,” in Architectural Record, August 2013; pp. 101-105. Adobe Systems Utah Campus | 2013-08-16 | Architectural Record

“People & Place: Communication and Community Development,” with Keith Bartholomew, in Service-Learning in Design and Planning. Thomas Angotti, Cheryl Doble, and Paula Horrigan, Eds. New Village Press: Oakland, CA, 2011; pp. 86-102. Service-Learning in Design and Planning (nyupress.org)