We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the Honourable mention winners for our “San Francisco Affordable Housing Challenge” competition - Taiming Chen and Zhendong Long from the United States.

Taiming Chen and Zhendong Long from the United States

Taiming Chen is a recent graduate from Yale University School of Architecture with her bachelor’s from Syracuse University. She has work experience in New York, Los Angeles, and Beijing.

Zhendong Long is an interdisciplinary practitioner in architecture, real estate, and urban planning. He has received a master’s degree in real estate development from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Syracuse University.

In 2019, we started our own workshop to develop architectural philosophies and practice designs to respond to various social challenges.

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?

We have been working with various projects ranging from small-scale installation to urban-scale development in our prior academic and professional experiences. Since we formed our own architecture workshop in 2019, we have been devoting our times to competitions to further crystalize design philosophies and approaches.

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

To us, architecture is an environment that physically and emotionally connects with people. We believe good architecture not only provides necessary functionality but can impact people’s lives through different aspects, from smaller things such as materials to more significant ones like overall spatial experiences.

Fundamentally, architects, as one group of professionals in society, are responsible for creating safe and functioning spaces to house required programs. More importantly, through the interaction with other disciplines and deeper understanding of culture, the architects will keep pushing the boundary of form-making and responding to the changing environment and problems.

Why do you participate in architecture vision competitions?

We think vision matters in architecture, as it may reveal potentials in building technology and innovations for future life. With a background in diverse subjects, we always look to the opportunities to perceive a more thorough understanding of the places where we live and respond to the changing environments. Besides, architecture vision competitions encourage us to focus on advancing the design thinking and approaches to the specific problems, which reminds us that the role of architects is beyond providing services to clients; it is to build a better place to live for everyone in the community.

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 not just about the results; instead, it’s about the process - once you get involved, you will then take the time to learn, to think, to design, and, after the results come out, to reflects through other teams’ works. Involvement in developing design visions to specific problems and exchanging ideas with others is the point, no matter if you are a first-year student or an architect in a firm. We are grateful to join this San Francisco Affordable Housing Challenge to develop the project and share our thoughts.

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