We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the Honorable mention winners of our "Underbridge" competition – Jiansong Yuan and Xiaotong Ni!

Jiansong Yuan and Xiaotong Ni

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.

We started our architecture studies at the University of Southern California, where both of us pursued a Bachelor of Architecture degree. After graduating, we decided to continue our academic journey at the University of Pennsylvania. Jiansong pursued a Master of Science in Robotics and Autonomous Systems, while Xiaotong continued with a Master of Science in Design - Advanced Architectural Design. Currently, we have been working at SOM as intermediate designers for almost three years.

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?

At SOM, we have worked on various significant projects, ranging from headquarters towers, residential buildings, and commercial complexes to school and manufacturing facilities, from schematic development all the way to construction administration. We have also conducted academic research at smaller firms on project prototyping and exhibition design.

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

To us, architecture is the art and science of creating spaces that enhance the human experience. It involves designing environments that are functional, sustainable, and aesthetically pleasing. Architects play a crucial role in society by innovating and solving complex problems, creating spaces that reflect cultural and social values, and contributing to the built environment in ways that improve the quality of life.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

Participating in architecture competitions allows us to challenge ourselves creatively, explore new ideas, and stay engaged with the latest trends and innovations in the field. It provides opportunities to showcase our skills, collaborate with other professionals, and gain recognition for our work.

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

We would advise individuals to view architecture competitions as valuable opportunities for growth and learning. Competitions can help push the boundaries of creativity, expose participants to new concepts, and facilitate networking with peers in the industry. They also provide a platform to test skills and receive feedback from experts, which can be incredibly beneficial for professional development.

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