The real challenge for architects lies in the disadvantage communities.

During my practice, at the very beginning stage, I have realized the lack of attention to disadvantage communities in many aspects. With the rapid urbanization and haste development, many neglected areas have been either over-exploited, or being left isolated, poor, lack of communication and education.

Globalization has brought the world together, however it has also brought the disadvantaged groups away from the majority. I came to realize that architecture itself cannot resolve the issue. The disadvantaged group needs more than good design. They need supports in finance, knowledges, activities, and need to be recognized as well as participating in making decisions.

Therefore, my approach is to aggregate different resources: architects, NGOs, social groups, local communities, university and institutions, to help build projects together for disadvantage communities. It was challenging because it took a lot of time and efforts convincing the local people to believe in the project, then they would participate in and operate it themselves; as well as other people and organizations to believe in the good wills and the practicality of the project so that they would help supporting and funding for it.

In more than ten years, besides working on urban projects, my office and I have completed more than thirty other community projects. It is not a very long period, but it was not easy, either. I have always believed that the disadvantaged groups possess great cultural values that yet have not been paid enough attention to. In my design, modern technologies combine with local construction method and material to bring a contemporary look for vernacular architecture. And, on top of all, it needs to be self-sustained, livable, as at the end it will be used by the locals.

Practicing in community architecture has helped me reveal the beauty of local values; and give me the happiness of the ability to connect people and support them. It also shows me the unlimited ability of architecture to raise happiness, for the architects, for the users, and for the building itself. This is the core value of our firm and myself: architecture is not merely buildings and space. It is happiness.