We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to one of our Honorable mention winner for our "Las Vegas Affordable Housing Challenge" competition – Ruichen Xu from United States!

Ruichen Xu from United States

I have dreamed of becoming an Architect for a decade. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 2021 with an 8-year Architecture study, I started my career at AECOM as an Architecture Designer. I am focusing on using traditional architectural ways to seek solutions to social issues like post-pandemic architecture and affordable housing in specific communities. My studies in architecture grant a unique perspective along with experimental concept designs to explore possibilities and feasible resolutions for such topics. I hope architecture and illustrations could help designers express both their understanding of the world and their expectation for a better world.

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?

Along with my day-to-day activities at AECOM, I dedicate myself to sustainable design and renovation projects. I have been working on a modernization renovation project called Sijan Hall, located in Colorado Springs, which requires multidisciplinary cooperation and high performance in sustainable aspects.

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

I believe that Architecture is an extraordinary and eternal way of expressing civilization when it has been a rigid demand for human beings for thousands of years. All details live in architecture, cooperate and evoke for itself the world with their voice as architecture. We, architects, translate our thinking and understanding of the world using the language of architecture by creating a dialogue with the users and visitors while inserting our visions and expectations of the world. The architectural expression has become a second language to me and it almost penetrated every second of our life. Architecture could not only serve as a functional shelter, a beautiful eye candy, or even a Rolex for someone's inordinate vanity but more like a help offering to the users by improving their lives with my profession and responsibility.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

After working in the practical world for more than one year, I have experienced the limits and constraints in the actual projects which are driven by the client's aesthetic preferences, the capital market, and force majeure. All of these aspects form the real estate world but narrow down the imagination of a better world. Development and revolution are born from challenge and experimentation. While participating in architecture competitions, we can utilize all possible and impossible ways to try to provide our help and visions for real social issues or personal requirements for specific locations, programs, and functions.

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

I believe people who are struggling with this decision are those who love architecture and design. Always remember that when you feel it is difficult to decide to do or not to do, just do it. You have already decided but cannot give it up. Architecture competitions are time-consuming and exhausting. But when you finish the project which 100% belongs to you, you would be extremely proud of yourself while your solution to the topic could become the open sesame for a new generation. Just do it!

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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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