International Union of Architects

Happy Places: Results from the 2019 UIA-HYP Cup International Student Architectural Design Competition


student design competitions

Architecture in Transformation

On October 24, 2019, the international jury for the UIA-HYP Cup International Student Competition in Architectural Design met at Tianjin University. This year’s focus, “Happy Places”, proved to be a stunning success and the international jury, led by jury chair, Benedetta Tagliabue, shortlisted 72 projects out of 877 submissions.


The theme of UIA-HYP Cup, organised by the School of Architecture, Tianjin University and Urban Environment Design (UED) Magazine and held annually on the Chinese mainland, is always “Architecture in Transformation,” but the specific focus changes every year.  For the 2019 edition, “Happy Spaces – Integrating Architecture and Landscape”, participants chose urban or landscape sites anywhere in the world, preferably at the periphery. Students were asked to imagine a unit that could constitute a whole.






The School of Architecture, Tianjin University, and Urban Environment Design (UED) Magazine 


The international jury consisting of Ms. Tagliabue as well as UIA Representative Cui Kai (PRC), Cameron Bruhn (Australia), Pirjo Sanaksenaho (Finland) and Kong Yuhang (PRC) selected 3 teams for the 2nd Prize:


  • Building the Bridge Beside the Wall by Yang Liu, Nie Lili, Wei Heyi, Hu Jinshan (PRC)
  • Negligible Tininess-Water museum by Lin YiHsin (PRC)
  • Above the Lost River by Wang Jiaqi (PRC)


The Jury also attributed mentions to twenty other teams. 



The winning project was “Living in Fog”, authored by Zhang Xiaoke, Liu Yaojia, Xin Zhiyuan (PRC). The design by the three students were inspired by an ink painting, "Xiaoxiang Wonderful View", by Mi Youren, a painter of the Southern Song Dynasty. The painting depicts smoke and rain on the southern bank of the Yangtze River. “People and the natural environment live in harmony in the hazy space, and the space is blurred by the smoke and rain. In the increasingly developed urbanization today, human beings and the natural environment are more and more alienated, and it is more and more difficult for us to find such a scene in the south of the Yangtze River.” The winning team expressed their hope that architecture would help recreate the happy scene evoked in the painting.