"We were so frustrated about our design and our approach and started to question ourselves"

Jiaheng Lyu | BA Architecture| Kizilsu Kirk Kyrgyz Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang

People of XJTLU

During the summer of 2017, my friends and I represented XJTLU and attended at international architecture competition. The theme of the competition was “Residential inns” which required participants to transform and improve the living environment for villagers in a small mountain village in Deyang, Sichuan Perovince.

At the beginning of the competition, we were required to submit the design blueprint. To come up with the best design, we had to design tons of different plans, talk to our instructor to get feedback and communicate all the design and construction details with local government in Sichuan. At one point, we hit a bottleneck, where we were so frustrated about our design and our approach and started to question ourselves whether we were really ready to be in the competition.

After we finally submitted our plan, we travelled to the village and started the actual construction. It was still mid-summer when we arrived and there was no air-conditioning at the place where we stayed or at the actual construction site. Sometimes, when it was too hot to bear, we would go to the convenience store nearby to get some cool air. The owner started to recognise us and became our friend as we went there so often.

Before this competition, I thought that an architecture major was nothing more than drawing and making some scaled models. However, when it came to designing and constructing an actual building myself, I realised how difficult and challenging this was. During the day, we worked on the construction site and supervised construction.

After dinner, we all gathered in the public cafeteria in the village and continued working on modifying the plan based on the construction during the day. We worked late every night and only had a few hours of sleep before returning to the site again.