Monday 16 Oct 2023
DSAS Graduates Esther Mei

University College London

University College London, which operates as UCL, is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom, and a member institution of the federal University of London. It is considered part of the "golden triangle" of research-intensive universities in South East England.

Its Royal Free Hospital has been awarded the best hospital in the UK for years. The Bartlett School of Architecture and the University of London School of Education are also unique in their respective fields. Medicine , computer science , law and archaeology all ranked first in the UK. It is also highly regarded for research in the field of artificial intelligence .

Together with LSE, it is called the " Gemini of British Modern Economics Research” awarded by its School of Humanities. The Orwell Prize is the highest honor in political writing.

Esther Mei, DSAS Grade 12 student

The famous architect Leoh Ming Pei once said, "No outstanding work is completed instantly and can be left untested by time. Whether it is architecture or art, its true value can ultimately only be left to the judgement of time". In the same way, we believe that education is not only about the outcome, but also about the process. It is the cross-cultural experience brought about by a multicultural campus environment. The wonderful teaching experience brought by a high proportion of excellent teaching staff, a very low student-teacher ratio, the innovative curriculum that is in line with the world's advanced teaching concepts that gives students the ability to be creative and reflective, the diversified co-curricular activities that offer students the opportunity to realize their greatest potential and the comprehensive pastoral care system that brings to students both mentally and physically which is indeed the core value of DSAS.

In Esther's portfolio, it is easy to find that her inspiration normally originated from her great interests and subsequently incorporates various areas of design reference, with each design project showing her way of exploring the world through architecture.

Architecture as my way to explore the world

"Because I am fond of watching animation, I started to facsimile anime characters and gradually fell in love with painting." When it comes to her love with architecture, Esther attributed it to her passion for painting. Every time she tried a new colour palette and a new brush stroke, she gained a deeper understanding of painting. Having grown up in the city, with all kinds of modern architecture filling her eyes, her first impression of architecture was 'rigid'. This stereotype changed when she saw a western architectural free hand sketching. "I had never seen that style in real life, architecture could be so interesting."

So Esther began her exploration of architecture in Grade 6. While making architectural free hand sketching, she began searching for videos about architecture. "When I was a kid, I always thought architecture was all about building houses. But what really changed my mind was a TED Talk about architecture". The speaker was Esther's favourite architect, Renzo Piano, the Pritzker Prize winner, in which he said, " Architecture is an art of making shelter for communities and society at large. Society is never the same. The world keeps changing and changes are difficult to swallow by people. Architecture is a mirror of those changes. Real beauty is when the invisible joins the visible. This universal beauty is one of the few things that can change the world. A better city breeds better citizen".

His speech made Esther feel that the existence of architecture was of great significance: behind the design of buildings, architects need to consider things including aesthetic, psychology, sociology, meteorology, regional culture, fashion trends and science. For a particularly curious and artistic person like Esther, the comprehensive architecture became her ‘spark’.

At DSAS, Esther has gradually defined her goal of studying architecture, pursuing her dream of becoming an architect. The soil of DSAS has nourished her rich and interesting soul. She takes the initiative to learn and challenge herself in various subjects, absorbing knowledge and skills from different fields like a sponge and applying them into practice. In addition to her studies, she is actively involved in a variety of co-curricular activities, including business competitions, overseas poverty relief projects, stage performances, sports and community service activities.

The power of learning environment

Principal Maode Shen believes that the learning environment is an important force for the growth of students. At DSAS, we are committed to creating a positive learning environment where teachers help students to explore and achieve. Such an environment is infectious to every student, and Esther confesses, "DSAS has successfully moulded me into a better 'problem-solver', even when there are limited resources, I will find resources on my own".

"The inspiration for the design was based on personal ideas and opinions, and the person who helped me understand the world's cultures and kept communicating with me was Mr. William Davison, my English teacher". As Esther applied for architecture, which is not very popular among Chinese students and almost every university needs an additional piece of paperwork to examine her expertise. Thus, Esther asked Mr. William Davison for advice on her application essay. She was grateful that he not only helped her to revise her essay but was also willing to listen to her insights on architecture and discuss its significance in society and nature with her. "Mr. William Davison also enriched my perspective from a sociological point of view and gave me new ideas about the major I applied for". Esther said.

In Grade 11, she attended a CCA (Co-curricular activity) run by her arts teacher Mr. Siddhartha Bose. "He taught me a lot of painting skills, introduced me to a senior student majoring in architecture at RISD.

This is the first step, first success, first achievement for you and bless you with all that you need to earn many more achievements and facts in life ahead. So happy to share in the excitement of your graduation day, and so very proud of you, too…… Happy Graduation!

——Arts Teacher, Mr.Siddhartha Bose

We expect Esther to become an inspirational architect under the guidance of Renzo Piano and Frank Gehry, building her own architectural empire step by step, ultimately realizing her dream to benefit the society and human beings.