Master of Architecture, Post-Professional Degree Student
How did you get interested in your field? I became interested in architecture when I was in junior high school. When I was young, I was raised by my grandparents, and during the time I was watching how my grandmother worked on her paper cutout artworks. I was also making some sculptures by using metal plates, woods, and fabrics. In my Junior high school, I continued making sculptures and paintings, and I noticed how intriguing and difficult to create spatial quality beyond objects and drawings. Since that time, I have been impressed with the field of architecture along with its diversity through painting, drawing, sculpture, engineering and technology.
What was your background prior to coming to the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design? I was working in Beijing about a year during my undergraduate studies. After graduating from college, I came to New York to work for an internationally recognized architecture firm. I worked for 3 years as a full-time architectural designer and participated in series of projects from residential design and construction, commercial structure, up to the scale of landscape, urban design, and infrastructure.
Why did you choose Penn? Penn has a diverse member of faculty from west to east coast, and from Europe and Asia. I thought this variety of discourses and perspectives to architecture from art, sculpture, robotics, and philosophy would offer me an in-depth study and a further interest in architecture. Also, when I visited the open house, I saw Penn had one of the most productive programs in the US and students were learning quite fast through both formative and theoretical exploration in architectural design.
What has been your favorite class so far? One of my most favorite classes so far is Post-Professional studio we took in our first semester. Our program is to be integrated in the last year of M.Arch program after the first semester, so that this studio is quite intensely managed for students to boost their skills up to the highest level. The studio is only dedicated to our program, and in our year, we were able to directly learn from 4 professors twice in a week. This unique studio offered us not only the opportunities to develop our technical skills, but also the great chances to discuss our projects and to cultivate our own ideas.
What are you learning right now that will help you in the future? Before coming to Penn, the way I designed architecture was always based on the interaction between hand drawing, hand crafting, and digital software. Although I still greatly appreciate the craftsmanship I learned in Japan and NY, the interdisciplinary culture at Penn and its responsiveness to the technological development allow me to largely expand my ideas in architecture. It's not simply an accommodation of the latest technology, but I am also learning the importance of material culture which should be further explored in near future.
What do you like best about Philadelphia? I initially thought living in Philadelphia would not be as exciting as NY where I lived for years. But, the scale of buildings, infrastructures, and streets are somehow comfortable to me. Also, the campus is accessible to many restaurants, art shops, museums, and center city. The speed and the environment of the city seems appropriate to the place where many students study and I like such a unique locality.
What kinds of activities and/or organizations are you involved in? I have been a member of advanced technology and structures search committee since 2015. This committee allows students to have direct sessions with nominated candidates for new faculties. I am also an editor of Post-Professional studio book.