We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the winners of the Honorable mention of our “Modern Collective Living Challenge” competition - James Mak from United Kingdom!

James Mak from United Kingdom

James grew up in Hong Kong and graduated from the London School of Economics in Geography, before obtaining an AA Diploma from the Architectural Association. His years in academia allowed him to explore utopian and dystopian literature, the erasure of spaces, and the architecture of territory. During his studies he founded a charity that designs, builds and runs village schools in Takeo, Cambodia.

Having worked in London, Hong Kong and Cambodia, James has developed a keen interest in education and synthesising living and working through architecture. When he is not reading or writing about architecture, he is a keen hiker, an amateur rock-climber and bonsai lover.

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 company/ individuals have been involved?

Project Little Dream is a registered charity in Hong Kong and Cambodia that designs, builds and runs rural village schools in Takeo, Cambodia. It was founded in 2008 by fifteen university students with a common dream - to further education in underprivileged areas in Cambodia.

Each accommodating 200+ Cambodian students, Project Little Dream has built five primary school projects in Prey Run Village, Kh'na Rong Village, Thon Mun Village, Thnouh Village and Thnout Village in Takeo, Cambodia. Each year, more than 60 volunteers from Hong Kong to participate in the education, school-building and healthcare projects that Project Little Dream organises.

In particular, Thon Mun Community Centre and Thnouh School has received international recognition as outstanding institutional spaces of that year.

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

Architecture is an agent of change. It is the inception of ideas and benchmarks of human progress. The role of architect is to project scenarios of progress.

Why do you participate in architecture vision competitions?

Competitions are the means to challenge norms of corporate architectural production. It is a possibility for young architects to find our positions and communicate through well-articulated projects.

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

I would like to encourage everyone to do them with their friends. You will be surprised by how much you can learn from each other.

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