We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to one of our Honorable mention winners for our “Melbourne Affordable Housing Challenge” competition – Shengran Zheng, Yong Kiat Tan and Yuxin Jiang from Australia!

Architecture Competition Melbourne Affordable Housing Challenge Honorable mention – Shengran Zheng, Yong Kiat Tan and Yuxin Jiang

Shengran Zheng, Yong Kiat Tan and Yuxin Jiang from Australia

Shengran – I studied at the University of Melbourne in Australia from 2015 to 2020. With a background study of science and structural engineering at Central South University in China, I transferred to the University of Melbourne in 2015, found my passion in architecture and graduated with a Master of Architecture in 2020. The background study of engineering let me see architecture through the lens of science, while the studies at the University of Melbourne embraced different possibilities of what architecture can be.

Yong Kiat – I completed my bachelor’s degree in Architecture at the University of Tasmania, where I was introduced with the practical knowledge that builds my strong foundation in design. As I hoped to challenge myself by broadening my ability in design and architectural concepts, I continued with studying for a Master of Architecture at the University of Melbourne. This has enabled me to become more proficient in design on top of my practical knowledge. After graduation, I worked in Cox Architecture Melbourne for two years, and am currently working in Dewani Design, Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

Yuxin – I am a fresh architectural graduate from the University of Melbourne, taking a break and seeking opportunities in architecture and relevant fields.

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?

Shengran – I have challenged myself with various types of architectural projects during my studies at the University of Melbourne, with different scales, philosophies, and perspectives. Prof. Justyna Karakiewicz, my thesis supervisor, has been great influence on my academic studies. I see architecture as an agent placed in the environment to evolve with the surroundings and interact with its users. Designing architecture is designing a whole system to practice and develop.

After graduation from university, I have worked in Bates Smart, an Australian based architectural design company in Melbourne. Within 165 years of practice, Bates Smart has completed a range of large-scale projects and witnessed the history of Australian architecture, from residential development to commercial complexes, from the Federation Square to the Australian Embassy.

Yong Kiat – I have been involved in various large-scale and residential projects in both Australia and Malaysia. While I was working in Cox Architecture, I took part in the Melbourne Square project which is a six-tower mixed-use precinct with a hotel, an office tower and four residential towers. I was responsible for designing one residential and one office tower, as well as was partially involved with designing the hotel. In Dewani Design, I am mostly involved in small-scale residential projects where we are more focused on interior design and the detailing in connection with design.

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

Shengran – From my perspective, architecture should not be static, and the evolution of architecture should be spontaneous. It needs to adapt to its environment and bring changes to its surroundings. Architecture is so very privileged to possess agency for positive change, and architects should have systematic thinking and be able to take on different perspectives.

Yong Kiat – To me, architecture means more than just buildings. It is also the thought that lays behind the architecture which enables people to interact, share ideas, and collaborate with one another. A good building should enhance the connectivity between users and create a relationship with it. Architecture and design are emerging fields in Malaysia, and people are gradually starting to appreciate the importance of a good building design. I believe my role as an architect is to help society to cultivate their understanding of buildings and designs so that they could appreciate the aesthetics.

Yuxin – It means the cosmos to me. :)

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

Shengran – Participating in architecture competitions reminds me of my days at the university. There are a lot of compromises in the process of designing a "real" building. But architecture competitions are purely about ideas and, more importantly, friendship!

Yong Kiat – I take part in architecture competitions as a challenge to myself and to be exposed to new design ideas. I believe this helps with self-improvement. This could also help me to increase my presence as a designer and an architect in this field.

Yuxin – To get in touch with the real world.

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

Shengran – No matter if you win or not, competitions are always a great way to bring out your passion towards architectural design and remind you why you wanted to be an architect from the very beginning.

Yong Kiat – JUST DO IT! You will be surprised to see how much you have gained when looking back at this wonderful experience.

Yuxin – Always focus and give your best, no matter what it is. Less talk, more action.

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