Xun Hern Liaw completed a BA (Hons) Architecture in 2014, having been awarded the prize for Best Work in a live master planning project the same year. She is now studying for a masters at the University of Strathclyde.
What was your proudest achievement during your studies at Plymouth University?
When my group’s masterplan project was awarded Best Work in 2014, in a live project working in parallel with Burrington Estates, and one of my essays – Tea culture under the age of globalisation – was published in ARCO13 on ISSUU (2013).
What was the most valuable thing you learned during your time here?
Learning how to think critically as it was very different from the culture I was brought up in.
Tell us a bit more about the project(s) you prepared for your Arts Degree Showcase.
The Arts Degree Showcase is a celebration, not only for the students but the unit as a whole. During my last year in Plymouth, my friends and I each selected our best piece and together worked on curating these as well as setting up the exhibition space. I presented the group master planning work on Stowford Mill in Ivybridge, and my group was presented with the Best Work award by Burrington Estates during the show.
What kind of feedback did you receive and how valuable has that been in shaping your practice since?
My tutor had a lot of patience and is very passionate. This is especially useful at times when you don’t feel confident about your work. He also went into every detail you want to know about. I gained more confidence, and realised having passion in every work you do is really important.
What are you doing now and what does that involve on a day-to-day basis?
I am now studying at the University of Strathclyde, working 24/7 on projects and my dissertation.
Tell us about some of the projects you have been involved in (and any awards you have won) since leaving the University.
In 2014, I participated in a conservation workshop on Banffy Castle held in Romania. I also had a year out, working as a Part 1 architectural assistant in London, and have recently participated in the Student Designing Places Competition held by the Scottish Government and won first place.
How do you apply the lessons you learned here in Plymouth to your current work or study?
In my final year in Plymouth, I had the opportunity to work on a live project which required master planning of the entire site, and that really laid the foundations for what I am doing in urban design. I then look for relevant reading materials to further my knowledge in this field. While studying in University of Strathclyde, I also took up urban design classes.
What are your future plans?
I have always wanted to become an architect and have another year to completing my masters degree. Until then, I would continue to explore different parts of the UK as well as to learn more about the culture and place I call my second home.
Is there one piece of advice you would give to current students as they prepare for HOT ’16, this year’s Arts Degree Show?
This is really a time for you to shine after all the hard work and endless sleepless nights, and you should be proud of your work. That was what my tutor told us before and I would like to pass on the same message to current students.