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Published in April 2019

Peter Tao is a principal of TAO + LEE Associates, the St. Louis architectural and interior design firm he founded with his wife, Helen Lee, in 1995. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Washington University in 1979 and his Master of Architecture from Columbia University in 1982. Raised in St. Louis, Tao’s interests have always been centered on community, multiculturalism, and global awareness. Tao established his career at Kohn Pedersen Fox, where he served as a senior associate partner and was an integral member of the team that opened its first international office in London in 1990.

Building upon his belief that architecture must be embedded in the community, Tao is an avid volunteer. He serves as an advisor on many boards and committees, and is a mentor, public arts supporter, community organizer, policy critic, and advocate for diversity and inclusion. In addition to numerous design awards, TAO + LEE has been recognized with a Business of the Year award from the City of St. Louis and the Asian Business of the Year Award from the Asian American Chamber of Commerce of St. Louis. The firm was also named a St. Louis Mosaic Ambassador Company. Tao’s leadership within the St. Louis region has been recognized with a Most Intriguing People award from Who’s Who Diversity In Color; a Diverse Business Leader award from the St. Louis Business Journal; and a Community Quarterback Award, awarded by the St. Louis Rams.

Tao developed the vision and strategy to create a soccer field for Nahed Chapman New American Academy (NCNAA), a St. Louis public school that serves recent immigrants. An estimated $250,000 was raised in in-kind services and donations, and the field dedication was in 2017. To promote this school’s important story, Tao worked with a Los Angeles-based film producer to create the documentary Day One, which follows a group of teen refugees from war zones in the Middle East and Africa, as they are resettled in St. Louis and enrolled in NCNAA. Tao served as an executive producer on the film, which premiered at the Newport Beach Film Festival in 2018.

Alumni work

Photo of the exterior facade of a large banquet facility, situated on farmland, at dusk. The contemporary building has an angled, triangular roofline, with ground lighting in front.

Group of people in line for a ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of a soccer field.