We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the 3rd prize winners of our “Melbourne Affordable Housing Challenge” competition – Tingting Peng and Sijia Liu from United States!

Architecture Competition Melbourne Affordable Housing Challenge 3rd prize winners – Tingting Peng and Sijia Liu

Tingting Peng and Sijia Liu from United States

We work at separate companies in different countries. Tingting works at Solomon Cordwell Buenz (SCB), Chicago office; Sijia works at Gensler, Shanghai office.

We have the same academic background in architecture studies: undergraduate school in Huaqiao University, China; graduate school in University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, United States.

We have never worked together before. We used this opportunity to see what kind of sparks could be created between us.

Thanks to the trust established in our longtime friendship, tight cooperation in different time zones, and positive attitude towards the competition, both of us developed ourselves in not only design, but also management and communication. We found that the educational experience we shared together in architecture and urban design mutually inspired us and saved time in explanation of our thoughts during cooperation.

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?

SCB: SCB Chicago Office has three architecture studios mainly focused on high-rise residential, office and educational buildings. All three studios are working together. Tingting works at Studio 2 and recently has been focusing on high-rise apartments/condos in Philadelphia that are in the design development phase, and at the same time has been helping with design competition proposals. Some of the most significant projects done by their architecture studios are The Legacy at Millennium Park, Chicago; the Tribune tower conversion; the new John and Kathy Schreiber Center.

Gensler: Gensler Shanghai Office has studios focusing on architecture, interior, and planning. The architecture studio that Sijia works at is Work 2, which is a studio focusing on high-rise office buildings. Significant projects designed by Work 2 studio include Citic Shenzhen Headquarter, Gate of Science at Zhangjiang, etc. At the moment, Sijia is working on the design development of Citic Shenzhen Headquarter.

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

Architecture to us means a lifestyle, a way of thinking. We live inside of buildings, we walk, exercise, and commute outside of buildings. The design of architecture reflects the architect’s thinking on exploring and encouraging more positive possibilities of living or working styles for citizens.

Nowadays, architects are more like adventurers. Cost, time, technology, regulations, and other requirements can be constraints of the architect’s design, but the responsibility of the architect is to create suitable and even surprising spaces under limited conditions.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

My partner and I would like to be exposed to more designs and opportunities which we rarely encounter in our daily work. Our work is more about high-rise buildings, so thinking about a socially related project would exercise our way of thinking in more complex things. Also, acting as not just a designer in a team helped us develop a deeper understanding about the operation of a project. We recapped after we submitted the competition board and summarized which aspects we can improve in and how we will plan the next one.

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

If you really want to do something, follow your heart to get it as best as you can. The process would be most beneficial for anyone who wants to develop himself/herself.

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