Architecture students win bronze in ARCASIA Student Competition 2021

Architecture students win bronze in ARCASIA Student Competition 2021

A team of Lee Kong Chian Faculty of Engineering and Science (LKC FES) Bachelor of Science (Honours) Architecture students, namely team leader Tan Yu Qin, and members Chai Zhi Zhong, Chong Jun Hao, and Chrislyn Lau Chin Xi, were awarded bronze in the Architects Regional Council Asia (ARCASIA) Student Competition 2021, which was held from 1 April to 1 October 2021.

One of the judges announcing the team as the bronze winner

Themed Public Spaces in 15-Minute Life Circle, the competition aimed to provide an arena for students from ARCASIA Member Institutes to participate in ARCASIA activities. It also provided an opportunity for students from different cultures to exchange and share ideas on particular design issue that is raised by ARCASIA every year. The competition was jointly organised by ARCASIA, The Architectural Society of China, and Tongji University.

With that theme, participants were required to provide solutions to problems from both physical and social perspectives on their 15-minute life circle and its public space. Projects and designs of any level and scale were allowed, including renovation of an urban fragment, regeneration of a garden, installation to reconnect neighbourhoods, and even kid-friendly urban renewal. Participants were advised to observe their cities, clarify the problems, arrange the programme and give a responsive solution in the competition.

Tan enthused, “We were surprised by the result as we took the risk to present our work in a different way instead of the usual presentation. We wanted to take this opportunity to showcase how the community in Kampong Bharu can be connected and enhanced to a better lifestyle. We had always taken a bigger scope into consideration and made the impossible into a reality. Winning this competition was truly an honour and recognition for our design project as this competition was the first achievement we received together at the international level. This motivates us to strive for better results in future competitions.”

Tan added, “We would like to thank our lecturer Abd Muluk bin Abd Manan for guiding us from the stage of idea development until the design was finalised. Along the journey of studying, UTAR strengthened our foundation in the built environment. Apart from that, UTAR has always provided us with opportunities and encouraged us to join competitions, which also gave us the platform to present our ideas and thoughts.”

Muluk applauded the team and commented, “Congratulations to Tan Yu Qin, Chai Zhi Zhong, Chong Jun Hao, and Chrislyn Lau Chin Xi for being nominated by the Malaysian Institute of Architects (Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia). They won the Bronze Award for their design titled ‘Living Room Park’ at the Asian Congress of Architects (ACA19) in Shanghai, China. As the supervisor of this team, I'm very proud of their achievement. This is truly a great achievement for UTAR students at the international level.”

Muluk added, “The group of students who won the Bronze Award is from Studio 6, January 2021 Trimester. They did this outside of their Design Studio project, although the site chosen was taken from one of the Urban Intervention study sites in Kampong Bharu, Kuala Lumpur— the one they did in the studio. They consulted me via Zoom on a few occasions when they were developing the scheme. It showed their tenacity and seriousness in coming up with the final proposal, including producing a video explaining their concept and strategies, which was not part of the submission requirement. All these efforts paid off when they were selected and nominated by PAM to be the three submissions to represent Malaysia and later when they won the Bronze Award at the prestigious competition.”

The winning design “Living Room Park”

Big smiles for (clockwise from top left) Chong, Chai, Tan, and Lau for winning bronze

In addition to the bronze medal, the team also received certificates and e-certificates. Their winning design was titled “Living Room Park”. Chai explained, “Living Room Park reconnects people from all walks of life in Kampung Bharu. The multiple sites at every little corner of the village were connected to form a 15-minutes life cycle along Kampong Bharu. The spaces were tailored to be distinguishable to fit people’s needs for remarkable times and purposes. The design intended to provide a playful yet sustainable space by integrating the Bioswale System to replace drainage, solar system and rainwater harvesting. Recyclable materials that can be dismantled and recycled were broadly used.”

Lau further explained, “Resilient infrastructure maintains the community's condition in or after any pandemic. Its balanced proactivity saves the community from disruptions. It is positioned to provide basic needs and services for people. Food trucks, security systems, and others have been proposed to enhance their basic life quality. The locality of material is considered to experience the displacement and renovation that take place in the community. A resilient city also provides passive systems such as Bioswale Systems and kinetic walkways to build an eco-friendly environment.”

Chong also mentioned, “Some sustainability concepts incorporated into our design are related to Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 3: Good Health and Well-being, SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy, SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, and SDG 15: Life on Land. We aim not only to build a 15-minute life walk cycle, but to also utilise the spaces and provide energy from nature. It will help to improve the quality of lives in the area by replacing constructed areas with greens.”

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