We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the Buildner Sustainability prize winners of our "Gaudi La Coma Artists’ Residences" competition – Michael Kan, Kelly Tanim and Kevin Chen from United Kingdom!

Michael Kan, Kelly Tanim and Kevin Chen from United Kingdom

We are third-year undergraduate students studying architecture at the University of Edinburgh. Michael Kan is from Hong Kong, Kevin Chen is from Taiwan and Kelly Tanim is from Indonesia. Coming from different backgrounds, our common interest in architecture bridges our cultural background and our opinions on the proposed design. While Kelly is doing her work placement at the moment, Michael and Kevin will be progressing their studies to graduate their undergraduate course this upcoming summer.

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?

Other than undertaking university coursework, we have enrolled in several competitions thus far. The breadth of our projects stems from masterplanning, landscaping, detailed construction, and residential projects. Even though the rough scale of the projects we do lean towards the smaller scale end, both Michael and Kevin have had their fair share of experience with high-rise residential apartments for their individual projects. Other than university work and competitions, we actively try to harness our experience through internships, which helps us gain an understanding of architecture through a different lense. This competition was our first undertaking of an artist residence, which truly deepened our understanding and sensitivity to the context and local community.

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

Architects are becoming ever more responsible in reducing carbon emissions in the built environment. With the current climate crisis, it is crucial to understand that building is energy intensive. Material as the backbone of a building’s structure and operation displayed enormous impact in terms of embodied carbon. This means that the appropriate use of building materials according to local climate can help to optimise energy performance and better comfort for the occupants. After all, designing buildings are more than just aesthetic and short-term profit, we should aim to achieve sustainability through better design, which allows architecture to stand through the challenges of our climatic system and last for decades or more.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

We think that architecture competition is a really productive way for students to experience the architectural design workflow in the real world. The brief requirement is very detailed yet imaginative enough for us to propose progressive solutions that can best suit the social and cultural context. This is very similar to how professional architects are encountered in everyday scenarios. Given the immense time limitation, it also encourages us to work collaboratively and think outside of the box, while compiling it in a professional manner. The process of design also helps to strengthen our graphic and digital skills in a short time, such learning progress is very important in our education in the future.

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

Architecture competition is really beneficial for individuals hoping to process their design thinking. It allows people to experiment with risky and bold ideas and present to the audience on an international stage, this is something that could not be practiced in architectural education We also believe that the participating competition itself is a valuable lesson for time management, which we think many students struggle with early on. The time pressure on work can push individuals to work in a more efficient sense using various digital tools, and this is essential in an architectural career.

Top 3 Reasons Why You Should Enter Architecture Competitions

Curious about the value of architecture competitions? Discover the transformative power they can have on your career - from igniting creativity and turning designs into reality, to gaining international recognition.

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