Experiential Architecture essay - First prize winner | Yichen Wang
Yichen Wang is from China, graduated with a Bachelor of Design Studies at the University of Melbourne.
1. Please introduce yourself in a personal and professional way.
Hi everyone, my name is Yichen Wang. I come from China, and I’ve just graduated from my Bachelor of Design studies in University of Melbourne. I’ll be attending its Master of Architecture program shortly.
During my undergraduate career, I’ve been developing my architectural interests and targets in both research and practice fields. I’m especially interested in the history-culture related projects, so that’s the main reason I chose Suzhou Gardens as my essay topic. My design projects have been selected in our school exhibitions for several times, and I’ve also participated in various architecture and graphic design competitions. While this is my first time to become a prize winner, so it is a great pleasure to share my thoughts of the following questions.
2. What is your design philosophy?
I think my design philosophy, or a core concept that I persist in, is to concern about the spirit and humanity of architecture in this fast-growing world. During my design process, I always consider the target in 2 groups, not only the users, but also the local background and environment. I believe a building should always carry the value of the place it belongs.
3. Can you briefly explain your understanding of the topic and the source of ideas?
I believe that the “experience” of visitors in public place is as important as its form and function – it is the third factor we define a public building or space. Experience reflects on multiple senses of human, we see through eyes, contact by hand, and our whole bodies are embraced by the atmosphere created by architects. For me the most impressive memory in Suzhou Gardens is actually the Osmanthus fragrance smelled by my nose – you can tell it is part of the designed architecture!
4. When and how you were first introduced to architecture?
I’ve started to be keen on global culture since my childhood, so my parents always took me to travel around the world. And my early perception on architecture was accumulated from those trips – to Italy, Singapore, Cambodia, and so on. I remember after each trip, I always spent time sketching a lot, combining those tour sites with my own imaginations. I kind of “designed” my first architectural project at the age of 14, it was a religious museum.
5. What does architecture mean to you?
For me, I think architecture is far more than designing the tangible structure itself. Like what I explored in “Experiential Architecture”, it is kind of a “conversation” between architects and the locality, the people and the time – from past to future. So as a potential designer, I believe every design project is a precious process, to start from learning, absorbing the value of a place, then generate and finally produce something that celebrates and influences that value.
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