We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to one of our Honorable mention winners for our  "Home For The Blind" competition – Sophia Liu, Yichen Zhang and SongYuan (Cindy) Wang from Canada!

Honorable mention from Canada

We are third year undergraduate students at John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, at the University of Toronto.

Brief information about the projects that you/your company have been involved with. For instance, what scale have you focused on/preferred, any significant projects where the company/ individuals have been Involved?

Sophia :“I took an architectural design and engineering joint course during my first year. Three architecture students and three engineering students grouped together devoted to a gondola project in Banff with a real client. Although it was a school project, we rigorously followed the process of doing a real-world project: we met the client, wrote the project requirements, proposed conceptual design specifications, and presented the final project. We propose the route of the gondola system and connect it to the existing gondolas. We also designed the main station through the consideration of how the station would interact with the existing transportation system, how the weather impacted the material choices, how people would travel inside the station, and what facilities the station should include especially for the accessibility needs. I learned a lot from this experience, not only the project itself but also professional skills such as communication with the clients.”

All of us participated in several school design studios. Each studio course has a different focus, for instance, we each assigned a 2km by 2km site then analyzed and drew the neighbourhood in Toronto, finally made a design proposal based on the analysis. The other design studio asked each of us to choose a word, then used that word as a theme for a series of design projects and finally designed a study building for university students.

What does architecture mean to you and what is the role of an architect in your society?

To us, architecture is more than just designing buildings, it is about passion, about finding a way to realize the abstract ideas and concepts that we have. An architect is someone that could have a strong social impact and transformative influence. Like we did in this project of Home for the Blind, architects should be able to improve the living condition of both the individual and the larger society.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

We wanted to participate in architecture competitions because we think it is a great opportunity to challenge ourselves with new design problems outside of school. It allows us to truly exercise our creativity by testing the new concepts and ideas that we have. We are able to learn from the process by thinking through and solving the challenges. It’s a learning process for all of us.

What advice would you give to individuals who struggle to decide whether it would be beneficial for them to participate in architecture competitions?

Don’t be hesitant, participating in architecture competitions is an exciting process. It can be quite challenging, but the things you learn from the experience can be really valuable. While working on the project, you will keep critiquing everything which can help you to learn from each other and boost your skill sets in a short period of time.

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