A wide shot of a ceramics studio, featuring students working with pottery wheels and other tools.

Yiwen Chu (MArch 2021)

Yiwen Chu, Master of Architecture with a Track in Interior Architecture '21

What factors influenced your interest to study at SAIC?

The program of Master of Architecture with a Track in Interior Architecture appealed to me because I was interested in studying interior but with the aspect of architecture rather than merely decorating the interior. At the same time, coming from a furniture and product design background, I really appreciated the opportunities of studying object design under AIADO together with my pursuit of Master of Architecture with an Interior focus. The location of the school provides great resources and a multi-culture background was a plus when making the decision to come here.

Where did you previously study and what topics did you investigate?

I studied in the 3D Design program under the School of Art and Art History at the University of Iowa. We designed functional objects and explored their relationship with humans and the user experience of the products. We built prototypes in actual scale of the models so that they could be better understood and tested by our classmates and teachers. When the class ended, we could take the objects home and actually use them at home. 


What courses within AIADO have helped shape your current work?

Being here the first semester, I felt like I already learned a lot and all the courses I took helped to shape my exploration of architecture practice. The studio class is a thorough process with detailed development from an initial idea to a solid concept with model making and visual presentation. Our instructors Thomas Kong and Alex Shelly gave us inspiring advising on design and detailed guidance that helped me build my Sweets Pavilion project. The construction class put me into a technical and engineering perspective view to link my concept to reality. The Pedways: Chicago Underground class showed me various ways to examine a transportation system via all kinds of research methods provided by my classmates. It broadens my mind for constructing projects, even at the very beginning of my program here in SAIC.


How has Chicago as a city influenced your research and practice?

Chicago is a vivid city in America with rich historical deposition. The on-site famous buildings in downtown and suburban Chicago make this city a library of architecture for research and field trips. We went to several famous buildings to check out both the exterior and interior design and the construction of the building. The directness of the study really helped to give us a solid idea of how the buildings were constructed and designed. Besides that, the various cultural background opened my view of design and I've enjoyed talking with my classmates that were from all-over the world.

What are you currently investigating in your work now?

I am always fascinated by geometry. I believe a sequence of geometry change can, in some degree, mimic and reveal the code of nature. Even though this is my first semester, the interest of geometry form play can be seen in my Sweets Pavilion project in Studio 1 class. The rotational movement of the central robotic arm created the circular form of the structure, with a sequence of the geometry. I am exploring how to finish the beginning and the end of the geometry that followed the overall geometry movement.


Read more interviews with AIADO students here