We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the Honorable mention winner of our "Los Angeles Affordable Housing Challenge" competition – Chang Yuan Max Hsu from United States!

Chang Yuan Max Hsu

Please tell us about your company (when it was founded, where it is based, how many employees, etc) Alternatively, if you do not have a company, please give us some insights on your own professional/academia background.

Chang Yuan Max Hsu is currently a designer based in New York City, and a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania. He has previously worked at James Carpenter Design Associates, and the Practice for Architecture and Urbanism in New York, USA, SANAA in Tokyo, Japan, and Bing Thom Architects (now Revery Architects) in Vancouver, Canada. He has received a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Pennsylvania (2016), and a Bachelor of Environmental Design from the University of British Columbia (2012).

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?

My experiences have ranged from pavilion design to master planning, so I do not see myself limited within the boundaries of any particular scale. Instead, I am interested in the investigation of all dynamic scales of influence that an ideology/narrative has on the built environment and the natural ecosystem. This can be adaptive qualities that are influenced by contexts far beyond its immediate vicinity: its broader site and ecology, the culture it occupies, the global culture of sharing images that all contemporary architecture gets pulled into, the construction industry, and the means of manifesting the work in the “real world”.

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

I take inspiration from both Charles and Ray Eames' “Powers of Ten”, and Kahn’s pursuit of architecture as the “thoughtful making of space”. Works of architecture are not seen as “pictures,” but as “frames,” where different scales of human activity and culture are sheltered, ennobled, and synthesized. The crucial part of our roles as designers is to understand, and carefully mediate between these domains in order to address different social/environmental issues. By doing so, we have the opportunity to reimagine the qualities of spatial conditions and their impact on the public realm and beyond.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

Architecture competitions of this nature allow anyone to challenge and provide a fresh approach to existing design dogmas. It is an incredible chance to step away from the conventional means of execution and present a different perspective to a broader audience. It helps to facilitate change in the profession through exposure and discussion, as well as one’s own professional growth. Competitions are a great venue for experimentation, and a laboratory to unpack and test design philosophies.

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

Competitions are time-consuming endeavors, therefore, be specific about the ones you participate in. Use competitions as a means of critiquing the status quo, and questioning the standard way of doing things, especially if you want to pursue the topic in your professional life.

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