personal statement

This document is being submitted in support of my application for admission into your program.

Born in june 1974, i grew up in lanzhou, a city that boasts of a history of thousands of years and a cultural heritage that is as colorful as it is old. few cities, either in china or beyond, can match it in the richness of architectural styles. stradding the upper yellow river that sired the chinese civilization, lanzhou prides itself in both her past glory laden in the ancient structures on the north bank and her new found prosperity oozing out of the dazzling high-rises in the south. although, as a child, i was not always able to articulate my admiration for such striking contrast, i constantly beheld the city's landscape in awe. i began to understand, at that young age, that architecture can be a powerful symbol of culture, a people and the spirit of an era.

My first intellectual mentor, one of my parents' best friends, was an artist seasoned in oil painting and photography. she often brought me with her when she traveled, and it was on these trips that her creative mind worked in full gear. i thus observed how human hands could work wonders by recreating the beauty of natural scenery in the form of sketches, paintings and photos. what was more important, i got to know that there are professions of creative work that calls for imagination and craftsmanship.

Fervent with creative art and fascinated with architectural design, i entered in 1992 into the department of architecture of tsinghua university, china's top engineering school, on the strength of my outstanding performance in the highly competitive national university entrance examinations.

At tsinghua, i went through five years of vigorous training and thus acquired exquisite skills in drawing and design. since i understood from early childhood that inspiration often comes from nature, i traveled far and wide throughout china's vast territory, setting my foot even in outlying tibet and xingjiang, both in the country's westernmost interior. these travels allowed me to trace modern china's culture to its different sources, and the variety not only deeply impressed me but also fired my imagination. in my graduation project, cashi contemporary art museum in xinjiang, i successfully blended a natural environment into my artistic design by using a system of water circulation to support and sustain the building. as the most significant resource in an agricultural enclave surrounded by desert, water represents hope for both the people and their land. with the water circulation system, the building took on added vitality.

In mid-1997, i graduated with my b. s. and took a job as a designer with the beijing-based "company." my career as an architect thus took off.

once i have settled into the real world of architectural design, i developed my career path quickly, playing substantial roles in a stream of projects. to date, my most significant responsibility has been to work as a main designer in (a key state) project, in which i led a group of my colleagues in meeting a daunting challenge. in addition to gaining a profound understanding of the technical difficulties necessarily attendant to such large-scale projects, i learned to work effectively within a team that also included my clients and colleagues. the teamwork thus not only strengthened my professional competence at conceptual and technical design but also honed my leadership skills that can be put to good use in other situations. as a result, i now feel even more confident of myself than i was before.

My experience in general, and the six years of frequent traveling in particular, has left an indelible mark on my intellectual development. as i can now readily appreciate a society's cultural, historical and socio-political impact on its architectural styles, i now try to reflect my own cultural and social background in my own designs. these days, i view architecture not just as a career but, more importantly, as an expression of my professional progress, and i fell that it is an view more compatible with western rather than chinese pedagogy. in any case, i have already been through china's best school for architectural studies, and i am convince that the further development of my professional qualifications requires more advanced training in a school like yours. i believe that advanced studies under your seasoned guidance will endow me with a broader vision and more profound insights, with which i can make still more contribution to my motherland china