Interview with Yu Gao of Nanjing Hongya Construction

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Yu Gao

Yu Gao is an experienced architectural designer with over 30 years of experience throughout his career, having completed achievements many wished for. Having presided over and completed nearly 5 million square meters of construction projects, he has what it takes to gain global fame.

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your design background.
I am Yu Gao, graduated from the Department of Architecture at Southeast University. With nearly 30 years of career experience, I have presided over and completed nearly 5 million square meters of construction projects (covering various types of single buildings, urban planning, and landscape design). I have managed the creation of 3 large-scale design agencies.
2What made you become/why did you choose to become a designer/artist?

The first step that took me into the field of design was when I was doing it for my livelihood. However, throughout the process of learning and practicing, I found that I have a certain degree of creativity and a high degree of organization and coordination ability, which provided a sufficient foundation and guarantee for me to complete the corresponding tasks entrusted to me.

With the completion of various design projects, I gained recognition from project owners and the public. Hence, I was able to accumulate enough self-confidence and provide effective management for the implementation of the next project.

3Tell us more about your business/company, job profile, and what you do.

I have previously managed over JIANGSU province architectural garden design institute and the NANJING branch of the GUANGZHOU southern architectural design and Research Institute. Currently, I am the President of the Design Institute of NANJING HONGYA Construction Group co, Ltd. Our business covers architectural design, landscape design, urban planning, interior design, and other aspects of design.

From rural environmental improvement to the single design of street police stations to the largest supermarket store in East China to the 600th Hilton Hotel in Hilton Greater China, we can provide effective services to meet the various needs of owners.

4What does “design” mean to you?
To me, design has 2 meanings; firstly it is a means of making a living, and secondly, it is a necessary part of life.
5To you, what makes a “good” design?
Good design is to understand the effective needs of the owners, the use of concrete conditions, through effective design organization to achieve the actual needs of the owners, and can create a certain social value. At the same time, gives users a certain sense of mind.
6Tell us about your design process.
After any project is entrusted to be implemented, we must first understand the owner's intentions overall, the actual situation of the physical environment, natural environment, and humanistic environment involved in the project, and the constraints related to the construction of the project, then arrange and implement the corresponding drawing design, integrate the corresponding psychological factors into the design again, and finally implement the corresponding design results.
7Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your design process?
The Chinese nation has a long history and culture of architectural construction. It is a great honor to learn, grow, and practice in this atmosphere. The ancestors of China and the builders of the past dynasties have left brilliant examples of architecture, which is our inexhaustible source of design. Although the times are developing, the materials are progressing, and the ideas are updated, the origin of the design has never changed.
8Congratulations! As the winner of the 2024 MUSE Design Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?
It is a great honor for our team and individuals to win the world-class Muse Award, and it also provides a positive motivation for our subsequent design projects.
9Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2024 MUSE Design Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?
The commercial comprehensive supporting project at the eastern foot of Niushou Mountain is composed of the 600th Hilton Hotel in Hilton Greater China and two commercial units, with a total construction area of 166,000 square meters. We presided over the design of the architecture, interior design, and outdoor landscape space of the whole project. This project was acquired out of the owner's unlimited trust in us.
10What was the biggest challenge with this project?

The project is located at the eastern foot of Niushou Mountain Scenic Area, which is an important exhibition area at the entrance of the scenic area. Therefore, in coordination with the development of the scenic area and the overall planning of the surrounding area, how to organize the traffic, parking, and people flow at the east entrance and the surrounding area is a difficult point.

Niushou Mountain is a place of worship for the Buddha's parietal bone relic of Buddhism, it is also difficult to build the project into a cultural and creative format with Niushou Mountain cultural characteristics. In addition, how to protect and sort out the complex mountain terrain in the site, how to connect and transition the land use function with the surrounding protected areas, and how to create a public environment that can meet the needs of buildings with different functions under the premise of rated funds are even more difficult for designers to think, communicate, coordinate and balance.

11How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?
This award is a commendation and recognition of individual and team design ability laying an effective foundation for the consolidation of self-confidence in subsequent design and the ability to solve complex design projects.
12What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?
There are three things that people are more interested in the design industry, firstly is the demand and embodiment of different functions, the second is satisfaction of different customer needs, and lastly is the application of continuous development of material technology.
13If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Design Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?
Learn the origin of design, starting from the heart, do the simplest design, do not be superstitious, do not be greedy, and remain down-to-earth step by step while designing.
14What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
The way to success is to do a good job by sticking to it conscientiously and implementing it steadily.

Winning Entry

PURDUE | MUSE Design Awards

Nanjing Niushoushan is the place of worship of the Buddha Shakyamuni's Buddha parietal bone relics, and it is a Buddhist place to accept the worship of believers. The project... (read more here.)

Yu Gao

Yu Gao is an experienced architectural designer with over 30 years of experience throughout his career, having completed achievements many wished for. Having presided over and completed nearly 5 million square meters of construction projects, he has what it takes to gain global fame.

Read more about the interview with Cheng-Hua Li of Laman Interior Design INC. here.