We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the prize winner of our "Los Angeles Affordable Housing Challenge competition – Zifeng Ye and Zixuan Xiong from United Kingdom!

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.

We are built environment professionals - Zifeng being an architect and Zixuan an urban planning consultant. We are both graduates of the Bartlett School (of Architecture/Planning), where interdisciplinary approaches brought us together under the shared interest in urban issues, and the potential to address them in creative and unexpected ways.

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?

We work for different practices and have been involved in projects varying in scale, region, and purpose. Zixuan has expertise in devising strategic masterplans for both residential and industrial neighbourhoods in the Middle East and African countries, while Zifeng works mainly within the UK context with a professional focus on midium scale deep-retrofit and extension projects with whole life carbon integration - residential and commercial. What we do share in common is the experience or preference of working with a wide team of specialist consultants to iterate the design to ensure the clarity of intent and verifiability of the final scheme.

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

 We view the architect as one factor within the complex web of forces that are able to affect the experience of urban spaces - in fact a very minor factor. Hence why we cherish interdisciplinary approaches and urban issues instead of focusing on design-making within the disciplinary boundaries of architecture. We do not believe in the architect as a polymath, but rather the designer as a catalystic node of communication that betters the city through balancing various actors representing the public bodies, specialists, private clients, and ecologies.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

To test and promote urban ideas that in reality would take years to not be realised.

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

Enter a competition when and only as the urge to express an idea overrides all other important concerns.

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