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Like many of his ambitious and idealistic peers, Chinese architect Zhao Yang struck out on his own after graduating from the prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing and working for a year for his graduate advisor. “I had no idea what kind of architecture I wanted to do. I just thought I was capable of doing anything,” Zhao says, chuckling.
Thanks to China’s building boom, it wasn’t long before the Chongqing-born architect snagged his first commission to design an office block. The project went well; the client loved his work and another job followed. But Zhao felt empty. “I wasn’t convinced by what I had done and felt I didn’t express myself,” he says. “I thought it’s important to figure out what I really want from architecture.”
So rather than plunge into more projects, he applied to Harvard Graduate School Of Design in 2008. Fast forward to 2014, Zhao has under his belt a Master’s degree in architecture with distinction, earned critical praise for a project in Tibet, and received the 2010 WA Chinese Architecture Award from the Beijing-based magazine World Architecture.[…]