We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the 2nd and Student winners of our Modular Home / Edition #2 competition – Yutian Liu, Yuwanqing Liu, Shucen Liu and Chao Tang from China!

2nd and Student winners from China

We are junior architecture and architectural engineering students from Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University. In our undergraduate programme, the teaching in the Department of Architecture is more oriented towards architectural design, while the Department of Architectural Engineering is more oriented towards the practical problems encountered in the actual construction of buildings, and our interdisciplinary collaboration helps us to complement each other's strengths and to take the project forward.

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?

In the junior year, one of the courses, In this course on Design and Building Typology, allows us to make a comparative study of the physical or other features of the built environment from a typological perspective, which gives us the ability to see the differences and similarities between building components. In this course on Small Urban Buildings allowed us to try to imagine an alternative model of tourism to ensure the conservation and integrity of our common tangible and intangible heritage; the protection and promotion of biodiversity, the adoption of innovative solutions, the intelligent use of energy, resources, transport and communication systems and the fight against climate change. With these two design courses, it gave us a good inspiration for the site selection, the initial project idea and provided an advantage for the subsequent project to move forward.

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

For us, architecture is for humans, and it is only when people live in it and use it that it becomes meaningful. So for this project we are looking at Kiribati, which is facing a housing problem due to rising sea levels, and through this project we hope to bring the concept of floating homes to places around the world that are facing a housing problem due to rising sea levels.

We believe that architecture is not only about a beautiful appearance or a special shape, but also about the use and housing of people, and more than that, it is about conveying something to people, such as making the building a new way of life for them, as we have done in this project, trying to provide some new ways of production and living for the local community, by putting rainwater harvesting and purification, solar power generation and vertical farms into the building, so that the whole building can be a self-sufficient system.

Therefore we also believe that as architects in society we should not only focus on the building itself, but more importantly on what people want from a building and how to meet it, on how to give a corresponding scientific response to the process of building from nothing to something, designing, implementing and giving a beautifying effect to the existing living space of people.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

As juniors in architecture, we hope to use this competition as an opportunity to test and improve our skills, as we will be confronted with a wide variety of participants, and we will be able to see how different participants think about the same theme and design direction, as well as how well the building is finished and expressed in images. Secondly, by participating in the competition we learn to control the progress independently and how to move the project forward in a long timeline to the final submission. Finally, the process of learning how to work with each other and the team members is also extremely important.

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

Taking part in an architectural competition is a great opportunity to improve yourself! It will open your mind to other perspectives and other solutions. For us, it's a way to think more about the meaning of architecture through the projects we do and to understand the changes the world is going through today.

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