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Ryan (Hung) Nguyen is one of the most talented Architectural graduate I have come acros

1/ My name is Ryan (Hung) Nguyen. I just graduated from California Polytechnics University, Pomona. I am an international student from Vietnam towards which my heart always points. I am now working in Los Angeles to obtain more knowledge for my career in the future.

Archslate: Tell us a little bit about your background and what made you choose Architecture

Ryan: I have been very interested in drawing and building things since I can barely talk. My toy baskets are full of Legos and Origamis. During the high school years, I also grew to love Physics as well. All of these contributors eventually screamed Architecture when I registered for a major. I have never looked back since. Architecture has slowly become the main part of my life, for better or for worse. The fact that architecture can reflect and shape the culture where living quality and social equality are realized physically gives me both anxiety and excitement every time. 

"I love to work on projects that are meaningful and sensitive to the culture, demography and environment surroundings. I've learnt that the theoretical concepts that architects regularly impose on the projects mean very little if the buildings disregard the contexts." 

Archslate: What are some of your biggest achievements?

Ryan: Some of the achievements I was lucky enough to accumulate includes winning 1st place in the AIALA 2x8 2019 Competition and the Dean's Award from my university. Most of my projects were also featured in the school's quarterly Interim exhibitions.

Archslate: What types of projects do you see yourself working on?

Ryan: I am interested in all typologies of architecture. Having said that, I love to work on projects that are meaningful and sensitive to the culture, demography and environment surroundings. I've learnt that the theoretical concepts that architects regularly impose on the projects mean very little if the buildings disregard the contexts. 

Archslate: How do you describe your design style as an architect?

Ryan: I don't really have a style. I believe in contextual and refined designs that can help enhance the connections between people to people and people to nature. The contexts include many characteristics, such as the topography, the local materials and climate, the demography and their cultural history. To my best possible ability, I always try to let these aspects guide my designs.

Archslate: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Ryan: In five years, I should finish my Master Degree and work in of my favorite practices, hopefully in Asia or Europe. After a few more years of exploring architecture's potential around the world, I will come back to my home country to practice. I would love to promote Vietnamese culture and history through architecture. Another big dream of mine is to teach architecture there, so that I can further explore the endless potential of architecture with the younger generations. 

"I believe in contextual and refined designs that can help enhance the connections between people to people and people to nature. The contexts include many characteristics, such as the topography, the local materials and climate, the demography and their cultural history."

Archslate: Which is your most favorite project in your portfolio and why?

Ryan: My most favorite project in Portfolio is the HousEmoji, not only because it helped me win the AIA LA 2x8 Competition, but also it was a result of an exhausting yet rewarding semester of model making topic studio. The studio was led by professor Sarah Lorenzen and my closest friends were in the studio. Throug a series of more than 20 study models, we finalized the design of a single residence with an ADU. This familiar typology allows us to be genuinely surprised with each other's innovations every class.

Archslate: When searching for internships or jobs, what are you looking for?

Ryan: When searching for a job, I mostly look for the environment of the firm. I think there are 2 types of environments in an architecture firm: the studio and the hierarchy. I prefer the studio environment much more since the design is a collective product of all the people's ideas. This environment welcomes everyone's voice equally, and through multiple times of proposing and polishing, the design can be complex yet refined. 

"I think there are 2 types of environments in an architecture firm: the studio and the hierarchy. I prefer the studio environment much more since the design is a collective product of all the people's ideas."

Archslate: What are some of the hurdles that you’ve always faced for securing the right job for you?

Ryan: Unfortunately, the biggest hurdle I have had finding a job is my status as an international student. My visa status is rather unstable and most offices do not want to deal with it. 

Archslate: Which firms do you admire the most that make it to your list of ‘Dream job’

Ryan: Some of the firms I admire and want to work for the most are So-Il, Johnston Marklee, Productora, Pezo von Ellrichshausen, Tham&Videgard, Bruther, Caruso St. John, Karamuk Kuo, Vector Architects, Neri&Hu, Vo Trong Nghia archtiects; and many Japanese firms such as: Inui Architects, Go Hasegawa, Sou Fujimoto and Akihisa Hirata.

These are the relatively young firms that I can really feel their spirits of exploring the maximum potential of architecture for the future. They are medium-size firms with the studio environment of which I would love to be a part.