Suping Li and Yang Tian

Meaningful Designs for Everyday Life

Founded in 2015 in Norfolk, Virginia, GARC is a boutique design studio and an award-winning architecture firm renowned for crafting highly personalized and impactful designs. We serve a diverse client base in Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C., and New York, dedicating ourselves to enhancing their living, working, and communal spaces.

Our approach at GARC is client-centered and research-oriented. We excel in designing spaces that are true reflections of our clients' visions and aspirations. We tailor each space to represent the essence of you, your family, or your business, ensuring that every environment we create has a meaningful connection with its users. 

We believe the future of architectural design is to provide a higher-level product for both professional services AND new ideas.  Our work is developed from the strategic thinking of social contexts, human behaviors and environmental concerns.

Our Services

GARC's work incorporates holistic design solutions integrating architecture, interior and landscape design.  We also provide multiple levels of consultant services.  If you wish to have a stress-free process with guidance on every aspect of the project, we offer a full service that starts from initial programming to identify your needs, to the completion of the construction.  If you are simply looking for a better understanding of how to start your project, what the road map ahead looks like, or if you just want to explore the project’s potentials, we offer our Vision Design as a separate stand-alone service.

GARC Client Meeting

Client meeting at GARC's office in downtown Norfolk, Virginia

The Team


Suping Li

Suping has worked with a number of prestigious architectural firms in Beijing, Singapore, and in the U.S. In her 15 years of practice, she has worked on projects of different types and scales, specializing in educational and cultural architecture, adaptive reuse, and interior design. She was a leading designer of projects that earned Virginia AIA and Detroit AIA design awards. Suping has a Bachelor of Architecture from Southeast University, China, a Master of Arts in Architecture from National University of Singapore, and a Master of Product Design and Development Management from Northwestern University. Suping also serves as a member of the City of Norfolk Architecture Review Board.


Yang Tian

Yang has over 15 years of work experience in China and the U.S. in the fields of planning and architecture. He has concentrated on campus planning, educational architecture, creative space, and landscape design. He has rich experience in research-oriented design approaches, and his award-winning projects have appeared in well-known architectural magazines. Yang is a contributor to several Chinese architectural magazines, and is an international guest editor of Zhuqu (Design Community). He received his Bachelor of Architecture from Southeast University, China, and his Master of Architectural History from the University of Virginia.

Margaret Lockhart

Margaret received her B.S. Architecture from the University of Virginia with a minor in architectural history. Originally from Norfolk, VA, her interest in the fine arts throughout high school transitioned into a passion for design. Margaret’s architectural studies at UVA have instilled an interest in sustainable materials and methods, as well as traveling abroad. Outside of architecture, her interests include digital photography, pottery, and cooking.

NZIA Graduate Member, M.Arch Prof (Hons. 1st)

Mark Schmidt

Mark has several years of work experience contributing to a broad range of architectural projects, both in the U.S. and in New Zealand. Mark has developed a breadth of specialized knowledge in the fields of town planning, low to medium density housing, and higher education. He also actively pursues opportunities to work on community based projects like emergency shelters and local education centers. Mark studied art and architecture at the Savannah College of Art and Design and later received his Master of Architecture from the University of Auckland with first class Honors.


HRACRE design awards
Wellington Historic Apartment for Best Renovated/Historic Rehabilitation Project Merit Award

AIAHR Design+Honor Awards
Get Well Soon for Honorable Mention for Small Firm Project

NPC Preservation Awards of Excellence
Wellington Historic Apartment for People's Choice Award
HRACRE design awards
Hilltop Medical Center for Best Renovated or Historic Rehabilitation Project Merit Award
American Planning Association Virginia Chapter’s Old Dominion Innovative Approaches Award
HRACRE design awards
Got Fish? for Best Recreation/Entertainment/Hospitality Project Merit Award
Get Well Soon for Best Interior Excellence Award

AIA Detroit ARCHITECTURAL HONOR AWARDS / INTERIORS | Alice Lloyd Hall Renovation, University of Michigan

Virginia Society AIA Design Merit Awards, USA | USF School of Music, Main Designer

AIA Hampton Roads Design Excellence for Unbuilt, USA | USF School of Music, Main Designer

Jury Grand Prize: ACUHO-i 21st Century Project Design Showcase, USA

“net+work+camp+us” Team Leader (Yang Tian), Main Designers (Yang Tian and Suping Li), Final Presenter (Suping Li)

Media Reports
John Gendall, “Housing the YouTube Generation and Beyond.” Architectural Record, Mar 2008.

Lawrence Biemiller. “An Updated Monastic Quadrangle Is Residence Hall of the Future.” The Chronicle of Higher Education (Blog). Last modified Feb 04 2008.

"Net+Work+Camp+Us Wins Jury Prize at 21st Century Project Design Showcase." Living On Campus: College Housing Annual Report 2008. 7.

Matthew Bowers. “Dorms of the Future.” The Virginian-Pilot, March 24, 2008.

James A. Baumann. “There Goes the Neighborhood.” Talking Stick. May/June 2008. Volume 25, Number 5. 70-72.

"net+work+camp+us: A Prelude to Student Housing of Future." [in Chinese.] Jianzhushi [The Architect] 132 (2008): 112.

Suping Li as Project/Design Architect with HEWV