M.Arch Student Wins [mOOOtopia] Design Contest

Zijing Gao, a Master of Architecture student, has been awarded first place in the [mOOOtopia] Design Contest. The mOOO team, based in the United Kingdom, is an international organization of architectural designers that hosts competitions for young architects and designers. 

This year’s competition challenged designers to create a plan for new social and entertainment infrastructure in Macau, known as the ‘City of Casinos’ in China. The prevalence of casinos has led to a lack of social space for residents, and the designers were tasked with imagining spaces outside of the current gambling culture. More information on the prompt can be found here

Gao, whose work focuses on the intersections between health, architecture, and technology, won for his entry titled “Macau Waterfront Bath Palace,” which illustrates a structure for bathing and socializing. Gao drew from studies of Las Vegas to contextualize the role of gambling in architecture. Specifically, his project hypothesizes the relationships between bodies, scale, culture, automation, and emotion in architecture. He was inspired by the unique cultural and historical contexts of Macau, how Macau sits in the geopolitical and spatial relationships of Mainland China- Macau-Hong Kong-Taiwan, and how architecture can serve as a gentle, but firm tie of cultures and emotions.

The idea for Gao’s winning submission stemmed directly from the research that he submitted for Taubman College’s Saarinen Swanson Essay Contest in the fall 2019 semester. He was one of three winners of that college-wide competition.

The [mOOOtopia] contest was judged by architects from around the world, including Italy, Canada, Hong Kong, and London, and included representatives from leading firms including Zaha Hadid Architects, Snohetta, and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA).  

More information on Gao’s winning submission can be found here.