We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the 1st and Student prize winner of our "Underbridge" competition – Yujun Cai from China!

Yujun Cai

Please tell us about your company (when it was founded, where it is based, how many employees, etc) Alternatively, if you do not have a company, please give us some insights on your own professional/academia background.

I am currently a Year 5 (Master of Architecture) student at the National University of Singapore.

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?

Currently, I am still a student, and when it comes to course selection, I tend to focus more on residential-scale design. Recently, I completed the Domestic Capital Studio led by Lilian Chee.

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

Nowadays, history may be encapsulated in museums, but it is fading away from people's daily lives. The modern lifestyle is constantly replacing historical human activities, and buildings that carry history are gradually being demolished. However, a city cannot develop without a historical background, and buildings do not rise from the ground without a foundation. The built environment is like an oil painting, where the modern world adds to the historical layers created by our ancestors to make the picture more appealing. In this context, architecture is a continuation of historical culture, a translation of historical symbols, and a transmission of historical heritage.

In my society, most cities have experienced rapid construction and development over the past thirty years. This has prompted architects to reflect and seek to avoid the homogenization of urban landscapes. As a result, they have started to focus more on small-scale urban renewal, attempting to fill the cities with unique, regionally distinctive designs and striving to preserve local culture.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

I believe that participating in architectural competitions can greatly help me broaden my thinking and allow me to design boldly while trying out new design methods. For example, I think that the functionality of a single building is limited, so I aim to solve complex problems through designing systems. The topics provided by Buildner are always innovative and challenging, which is why I want to use this architectural competition to practice my ideas and receive diverse feedback from around the world. This experience will be a great exercise for my professional skills in the future.

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

Sometimes, I feel that course designs or work tasks become too tedious, and I can no longer recapture the excitement of letting my imagination run wild like when I first encountered architectural design. However, architectural competitions free me from the constraints of daily work. Buildner encourages me to think boldly, allowing me to fully immerse myself in the creative process.

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