Interview with Chia-Chen Liu for Liugdui Memorial Park

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Chia-Chen Liu

Chia Chen Liu hails from a farming family of Hakka heritage. Her interests encompass sketching and making careful observations, with a primary dedication to architectural design and a secondary curiosity in blending artistic and structural aspects.

Interview With The 2023 MUSE Design Awards Winner – Chia-Chen Liu

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your design background.
I come from a farming family of Hakka descent. My passions include drawing and making careful observations, and my primary focus is on architecture design, with a secondary interest in combining artistic and structural elements.
2What made you become/why did you choose to become a designer/artist?
From a young age, I possessed a natural artistic talent and intuition. I yearn to contribute to society by creating improved living environments and positive atmospheres.
3Tell us more about your business/company, job profile, and what you do.

My firm concentrates on architectural, interior, and landscaping design. As part of the Hakka community, we invested much of our time and efforts on revitalizing historic Hakka Fo Fong (clan living quarters), and many more historic Hakka buildings in which we are very well qualified and experienced to bring it back to life.

At the moment, we are designing libraries for remote area Hakka towns, emphasizing on strong children’s department to help the disadvantageous children of the remote Hakka towns. We are also designing a town hall complex and revamping rundown tobacco collection station in Hakka town at the senior center, as the need for senior care had risen dramatically in this modern society.

4What does “design” mean to you?
Transforming ordinary to extraordinary, from mediocrity to outstanding!
5What’s your favorite kind of design and why?
I'm most drawn to a design approach that involves using simple, natural materials to create harmonious and eco-friendly creations that also serve a purpose for humanity.
6To you, what makes a “good” design?
A good design to me needs to be environmental friendly and the design needs to depict a passionate love for life.
7Describe your design style and its main characteristics.
My design style can be summed up as a sleek and contemporary ergonomic approach that is tailored to the human scale, emphasizing both functionality and comfort.
8Tell us about your design process.
The location was positioned on a previously excavated cemetery where my father was laid to rest. In my homeland, people hold strong superstitious beliefs and are uneasy about cemeteries. I faced the task of creating a contemporary project that would draw townspeople to the park for socializing, exercise, pet walks, and family time. My goal was to dispel the lingering fear and the thought of it once being a cemetery.
9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your design process?
For sure! In my country, we have the freedom of expression, to learn and practice that we are in fact worthy which opened a channel in allowing our imagination to run freely. My Hakka upbringing deeply affected my designs, allowing me to look at everything from multiple angles with the smarts of life in migration.
10Congratulations! As the winner of the 2023 MUSE Design Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?
Honor and affirmation!
11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2023 MUSE Design Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

For the residents of my hometown, Liugdui Memorial Park stands atop centuries of our Hakka culture and serves as the final resting place for our ancestors, including my dear father. Our ancestors willingly relocated to provide space for their descendants to improve themselves - a place where we can engage in mental and physical betterment activities. It's also a space for post-dinner socializing, fostering closer relationships within our community.

This was my inaugural project designed for my hometown. To enhance both circulation and light intake, I incorporated a multi-layered roof. I employed a membrane structure to emulate the arches of DaWu mountain, a symbolic call for the young people who had migrated away to remember their roots and return home. DaWu mountain holds a significant spiritual significance for the Hakka people in Pingtung.

12What was the biggest challenge with this project?
Budget is always the biggest obstacle for all projects, especially during the pandemic. By the time the designing phase reached its building phase, the cost of the construction doubled, if not tripled because of the pandemic. But the builders finished the project against all odds in good faith!
13How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?
Winning the 2023 MUSE Design Award gave me tremendous confidence in leading future projects.
14What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?
Creativity, honor and the ability to save Mother Earth with our eco-friendly designs.
15What makes your country specifically, unique in the design industry?
In our country, we have the liberty to creatively express ourselves and demonstrate deep respect for local cultures through our designs.
16Where do you see the evolution of design industry going over the next 5-10 years?
It is crucial to address global warming by making future designs more environmentally friendly and incorporating sustainable practices to the greatest extent possible.
17If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Design Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?
To achieve your goals and aspirations, it's essential to put in hard work and maintain a persistent mindset. This means dedicating yourself to your ideals and relentlessly pursuing them despite challenges and setbacks.
18What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the design industry?
Explore the world to enhance your experiences and broaden your perspective, or consider returning to school and enrolling in courses to further your education and knowledge.
19Tell us something you have never told anyone else.
I used to be indifferent to awards, but receiving a prestigious honor like the MUSE Design Awards has genuinely enhanced my life and outlook.
20Who has inspired you in your life and why?
The way Proverbs in the Bible intersect with the beauty of everyday life.
21Do you have anything else you would like to add to the interview?
I hope there can be an awards ceremony where the winners have the opportunity to personally immerse themselves in the wonderful city of New York City, the greatest city in the world.

Winning Entry

Liugdui Memorial Park | 2023

Liugdui Memorial Park | MUSE Design Awards

Located in a Hakka village beneath the Dawu Mountain in Southern Taiwan, a former cemetery site has …
(Read more at MUSE Design Awards)

Chia-Chen Liu

Chia Chen Liu hails from a farming family of Hakka heritage. Her interests encompass sketching and making careful observations, with a primary dedication to architectural design and a secondary curiosity in blending artistic and structural aspects.

Read more about this interview with Chun-Yi Lu of BaHaus Design Studio, the Silver Winner of the 2023 MUSE Design Awards.