选取校园：University of Pennsylvania, Rice University, UCLA(18000美金奖学金)，University of Southern California，Carnegie Mellon University。
I grew up in Chengdu, Sichuan Province in southwest part of China. I lived in a neighborhood not too far away from a rather famous street called Hong Pai Lou, or, Red Archway Street. The Street used to be flanked by low-rise wooden structures with ceramic tiles as roof. These traditional shop-houses and terrace houses were typically two storied or three--storied. The first floor were used for commercial purposes such as sundry shop, restaurants and warehousing and resided on the upper floors while the tenants of the second floors would design and build their houses in symmetrical order featuring the louvered door in the middle and wooden window panes on both sides. Not very many were freestanding; most were connected to form an entire block. Then there was the red timber archway that stood to represent the spirit and aesthetics of the local people. Because the wooden structures were relatively more vulnerable to weathering and fires, they would dilapidate over time.
In its race to build a modern city in the last couple of decades, the local government along with developers, architects and demolishers tore down multiple historical buildings in and around the Red Archway Street. Their vision was to build a commercial district in the area dotted with steel and glass high-risers. They wanted western flash: the bigger, the brasher, the better. My father is in the architectural design and construction business. He was very much part of this headstrong urban sprawl taking place, not just in our hometown of Red Archway District, but also in the entire city of Chengdu, indeed, all over China. Don’t take me wrong, I love my father, but I have to say, from an artistic and creative design standpoint, I am not impressed with his work, which was guided by utilitarian mindset chasing the speed of construction and higher floor area ratio. The disappearance of traditional vernacular elements, I realize, is the price paid in the name of modernization.
But I believe modernization does not have to sacrifice tradition. My vision for the future is to look to the past to preserve the subtle characteristics of Chinese architecture. I am not against modernization. I am all for it. I am not against western architecture, in fact, I am fascinated by the evolution of western architecture from Roman/Early Christian/ Byzantine periods to neo-classicism to the Bauhaus, Expressionism, Functionalism, High Tech, Cubism and Modernism of the 21st century. I admire and have studied the works of Peter Zumthor, Carlo Scarpa and Louis Kahn. To me, these three individuals, while drastically different, share a great deal of commonality in that they represent a trend toward eclectic approach, fusing the East and the West, the traditional and the modern. I strongly believe it is possible and necessary to create a style that embraces elements characteristic of what used to be the Red Archway Street.
My undergraduate training has been in art and environmental design. I feel I am very much drawn to simple and nuanced techniques in garden architecture, particularly its emphasis on the blending of natural and human-built structures. I am also profoundly interested in the delicate dynamics between growth and sustainability, between aesthetics and practicality, between the push for quality, high tech and consumerism and the pull of environmental and economic constraints.
In my junior year at Shanghai’s Tongji University, arguably the best civil engineering and art design school in China, I was fortunate enough to have studied and worked under the guidance of Professor Pius Leuba, a Harvard-educated scholar who specializes in sustainable design, research and application. He has written extensively on the preservation of historical Chinese architecture and the revival of traditional Chinese architectural elements in modern designs. He encourages me and my fellow classmates to search in China’s history and cultural legacy for architectural inspiration. At the same time, I sat in Professor Lu Yongyi’s class on western history of architecture. Her lecture series was very popular not only among architectural majors but also art design students like myself. When she learnt that I was planning to apply for my master’s program in America, she made an observation that has since stuck with me: sometimes, the best way to learn to appreciate our own culture, our strengths and our weaknesses, is through an outsider’s point of view. I took her remark to mean that she is supportive of my plan and that overseas learning is going to prove to be an enriching experience.
Upon graduation, I intend to return to China, where the booming architectural design and construction market provides ample opportunities for aspiring professionals. It may be too late to do anything about the Red Archway Street in Chendu, but it is definitely not too late to contribute to the building of China, a modern China, with truly unique Chinese characteristics.
I have a special interest in the historical and cultural elements in architecture. Therefore, University of Pennsylvania is an ideal choice. Mr. Sicheng Liang, the most prestigious architect in China, benefited greatly from his learning in this university and laid a solid foundation in architectural theories. I firmly believe that it is the rich history and unique way of thinking that cultivated Mr. Liang’s insight and permanent pursuit in preserving history in architecture. I expect to join this nurturing environment to shape a special perspective on architecture.