We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the winner of the Honorable mention of our “Rome Collective Living Challenge ” competition - Chang Yuan Max Hsu and Jeremy Leonard from United States!

Chang Yuan Max Hsu and Jeremy Leonard from United States

Chang Yuan Max Hsu is currently a project designer at James Carpenter Design Associates based in New York City, and a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania. He has previously worked at the Practice for Architecture and Urbanism in New York, USA, SANAA in Tokyo, Japan, and Bing Thom Architects in Vancouver, Canada. He has received a Masters of Architecture degree from the University of Pennsylvania (2016), and a Bachelors of Environmental Design from the University of British Columbia (2012).

Jeremy Leonard is currently an Associate at SHoP Architects in New York City. Previously, he worked for in situ studio and Tonic Design + Construction in Raleigh, North Carolina, and ThoughtCraft Archi- tects in Boston, Massachusetts. He holds a Master of Architecture from Yale University (2017), where he received the William Edward Parsons Memorial Medal for distinctive work in urban design, and a Bachelor of Architecture at North Carolina State University (2013). 

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?

Our combined experiences have ranged from pavilion designs to master planning, such as we do not see ourselves limited within the boundaries of any particular scale. Instead, we are interested in the investigation of all dynamic scales of influences that an ideology has on the built environment and the natural ecosystem. This can be adaptive qualities that are influenced by contexts far beyond its immediate vicinity: its broader site and ecology, the culture it occupies, the global culture of sharing images that all contemporary architecture gets pulled into, the construction industry and the means of manifesting the work in the “real world.”

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

We take inspiration from both Charles and Ray Eames’ “Powers of Ten”, and Kahn’s pursuit of architecture as the “thoughtful making of space”. Works of architecture are not seen as “pictures,” but as “frames,” where different scales of human activity and culture are sheltered, ennobled, and synthesized. The crucial part of our roles as designers is to understand, and carefully mediate between these domains in order to address different social/environmental issues. By doing so, we have the opportunity to reimagine the qualities of spatial conditions and their impact on the public realm and beyond.

Why do you participate in architecture vision competitions?

Architecture competitions of this nature allow anyone to challenge, and provide a fresh approach to existing design dogmas. It is an incredible chance to step away from the conventional means of execution, and present a different perspective to a broader audience. It helps to facilitate the change in the profession through exposure and discussion, as well as one’s own professional growth. We believe competitions are a great venue for experimentation, and a laboratory to unpack and test design philosophies.

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

Competitions are time-consuming endeavors, and as such be specific about the ones you participate in. Use competitions as a means of critiquing the status quo, and questioning the standard way of doing things, especially if you want to pursue the topic in your professional life.

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