Yumian (Dino) Chai winning work Yumian (Dino) Chai winning work CREDIT: University of Auckland

Chinese memories inspire award winner

Friday 2 December 2011, 5:52PM
By University of Auckland

As a child Yumian (Dino) Chai moved around a lot. He lived in different cities in China, moved to Christchurch, and finally ended up in Auckland.

These early experiences were a catalyst for The University of Auckland Architecture student’s winning entry in this year’s AAA Cavalier Bremworth Unbuilt Architecture Awards entitled 100 Rooms of Solitude.

Dino won first place in the student section with his work that featured 100 tiny models representing 100 days of memories.

The 26-year-old Mt Eden-based masters student found inspiration while travelling from his flat to University each day.

A fence could trigger memories of a garden from his past and Chai used these longings for other places as his basis for each model. For 100 days he constructed his models using whatever he had to hand.

The judges described the work as “an intelligent, experimental, poetic, universal, endlessly inventive, delicate and sensitive project that fully expressed the potential of the award and demonstrated a maturity that stood out”.

Chai, who won $3,000 with his entry, hopes to have a long career in architecture. While he is keen to tackle any project, he’s interested in domestic buildings because he believes it is the form most people have contact with.