We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to one of our Honorable mention winners for our “Berlin Techno Booth” competition – Xinyi Ma and Shuang Feng from United States!

Xinyi Ma and Shuang Feng from United States

Both Shuang and Xinyi: M.Arch 1 @ Southern California Institute of Architecture (Expected to graduate in Sep 2022)

Xinyi: Currently in my final year of Master of Architecture I at SCI-Arc, I began my journey into architecture about 3 years ago with no background in design or architecture. It’s been a rough yet very rewarding few years, I’ve become acquainted with some of the most talented designers and have witnessed tremendous growth for myself both professionally and personally.

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?

Shuang: We have worked on small residential projects to large public projects throughout our academic years. We are open to all kinds of projects that can challenge us and break us outside of our comfort zone.

Xinyi: I’ve worked on several different projects at varying scales through my design studios, internship, and competitions. I enjoy working on projects of all scales, as long as the project brief intrigues me. It’s definitely very different designing a project in SCI-Arc versus one that is to be constructed. Many of our designs are critiqued to be impractical but I feel that this is the only time to push my creativity to its limits, and to expand and to explore the possibilities of architecture and design.

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

Shuang: I think especially for this project, architecture is about the close interaction between the people and the space, and how the local culture can change the realization of architecture. As architects, it’s our role to connect people more deeply with architecture because it is part of our everyday life.

Xinyi: Architecture has enabled me to truly see our built world in a completely new light. It satisfied my need to create and explore new spaces and experiences both in the physical and digital realm. The role of an architect could mean different things in different societies and cultures; but I do hope that architects can become more aware of how their built designs can formally change the urbanscape and how it can curate people’s experience with spaces, but also keeping in mind its long-term impacts.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

Shuang: Firstly, because my partner and I really enjoyed the theme of this competition. Secondly, it also challenges us to react quickly to a specific prompt and come up with a design solution.

Xinyi: Architecture competitions are a great way of working on projects with briefs outside of my academic or professional setting, it allows me to work on projects situated in different parts of the world, and hence, teaches me more about the area itself. For many designers it is also a way to expose themselves to a broader audience, but Shuang and I didn’t participate in this competition for this reason. We were really intrigued by the prompt and brief, as I am a major techno fan and just wanted to come up with our own design solution for a prompt that seemed too good to be real.

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

Shuang: Although it’s always a great experience to participate in different kinds of competitions, it’s crucial that you select the ones that can really motivate you and push you to your limits. It’s also important to see what others are doing besides your colleagues or peers, and a great way of learning how to collaborate with your team members.

Xinyi: It can be frustrating when you don’t know if you’ll ever have the possibility of winning and struggle with the prospect of wasting your time on something with no outcome. But I feel like as long as you pick a competition that can help you grow as a designer, it’s a win no matter what the actual result is. I’ve learned so much from my colleagues in every collaborative environment, and I’m very thankful for being able to work with someone I’m so compatible with for this competition.

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