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Retreat Center Design Competition
– Winner!


Woman in Swimsuit

Shin Thant Htet

Woman in Swimsuit

Hsu Yin Htway

Woman in Swimsuit

Nay Win Aung

"Team Details:
Shin Thant Htet, Hsu Yin Htway & Nay Win Aung

Check out the interview below:
Shin Thant Htet:

Hsu Yin Htway:

Nay Win Aung:

Woman in Swimsuit

Shin Thant Htet

Completed her Bachelor of Architecture Degree from Thanlyin Technological University, Myanmar. Shin is seeking new adventures in the architectural field to improve her skills at international level. She has a great interest in urban and placemaking works through community collaboration.

1. Please introduce yourself in a personal and professional way.
Hello everyone, I am Shin Thant Htet from Yangon, Myanmar. I graduated in November 2019 with a Bachelor of Architecture from Thanlyin Technological University, Yangon, Myanmar. Ever since I graduated, I have worked in urban and placemaking projects regarding climate change resilience, restoring alley garden projects and heritage conservations in Yangon, where I have had many experiences in design thinking skills, community engagement, and met with amazing colleagues from different professional fields.

As for now, my country has fallen into a military dictatorship since last year, the military has been applying excessive weaponry force to oppress the citizens, burning down the towns and villages, cutting off the electricity and internet access every single day. In these challenging and uncertain times dealing with pandemic and military dictatorship, we have all experienced some degree of stress and some individuals have probably felt fearful and hopeless at times. But I’m still trying my best to become a better architect to support our communities. This is my dream.

2. What is your design philosophy?
In my philosophy, architecture is more than just a solid material and not just theory-based design. Nature and the environment have an influence on me when I’m doing design work. When I say the environment, it also includes the connection between the people and the environment, and their stories behind it. Based on that, I create designs in the most simplistic way with our emotional senses and the way our body responds to nature such as sounds, smell, and the color of material. Every building is made for a specific use in a specific place for a specific society. I would be proud of my design which can support the community needs, with its own peace, convenient and meaningful thoughts.

3. Can you briefly explain your understanding of the topic and the source of ideas?
Nature heals us. When we talk about healing architecture and the creation of retreat centers, we should think about the connection between the people and the natural environment. My team and I tried to understand the healing through nature and architecture before we developed our design ideas. We all have the similar goal from the beginning, and focused on creating a healing space for the people in our country who are oppressed by the dictatorship. After getting through these difficult days, we have decided to donate this design to our real people selected government, to represent each and every one who tortured and traumatized because of the war and the coup.

The traumatic experiences our people suffered everyday innovated us to express ourselves in our design. We focus on the victims of military violence to speak up about their mental health and struggles. Healing is long-term planning with a specific destination. As we mentioned in our design summary, we designed with five senses of healing together using local elements to become the physical and emotional support.

The existing water body, the forest, the green spaces, and the mountains are becoming the main actors of our design focused on “Environmentally Friendly '' approach. According to our site nature, we tried to use geometrical shapes, and the simplest forms within the green environment.

4. When and how were you first introduced to architecture?
When I was young, I went to the Bagan Heritage Site with my family. Bagan is an ancient city of Myanmar with over three thousand ancient monuments and pagodas. I remembered walking around Ananda Temple which is vaulted and high with narrow corridors, detailed mural paintings and walkways. Architects in that era did those masterpiece works with incredible use of natural light and ventilation. I admired that, but I didn’t understand what it really was at that age. When I finished high school, I was encouraged by my father to study architecture and I also believed in myself that this is where I belonged. I have found my passion for this career since Day 1.

5. What does architecture mean to you?
In my opinion, architecture is more than just a spatial creation or a form. A piece of architecture can be considered as the body that can touch us to our hearts with behind-the-scenes stories. For me, architects are the people who have the power to give the voice via building designs. To create a good architecture design, it requires a passionate effort and strong commitment to solve all the problems in design. It’s not easy but the result is always amazing. I love every single step of the design process. I want to sketch design concepts from different points of views. The more I practice the concepts, the stronger I know how to create a good design. Architecture is becoming a part of my life now.

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