From Hong Kong to London, via New York Tech
Charon Hu is a student of the world, inspired by spaces and places everywhere. When the Hong Kong native graduates from New York Tech’s Long Island campus this May, he will make England his next stop on his path to expand his architectural knowledge into areas and issues he became aware of during his undergraduate education.
As Hu weighs his options among acceptances he’s received from several prominent London-based graduate architecture programs, he hopes to learn more about how the built environment and other spatial factors can affect people’s emotions and moods. Several classes at New York Tech ignited Hu’s interest in this area—one focusing on suburban and urban planning and how people's lives are affected by the architecture around them, and another taught by Dongsei Kim, assistant professor of architecture, who helped Hu understand how space and architecture affect people’s subconscious. “These classes really helped me develop my interest in the psychological effects of spatial conditions, which in turn made me want to go to graduate school to keep studying,” he says.
Hu says his favorite class at New York Tech was a design class he took in his second year. “Professor Gertrudis Brens [a visiting professor in the departments of Architecture and Interior Design] was adamant about challenging our mindset of how to approach design. We worked toward forming a design narrative that mattered to us, rather than designing projects to look cool or stylish.” Hu says this way of thinking helped him expand his idea of what is acceptable in architecture: “It allowed me to feel more comfortable exploring unconventional subjects in my designs, which I still do!”
Hu says he’s particularly interested in the effects of space and architecture on places we can’t see or access. “There’s potential in the spaces in between or out of reach: the rooftops you can see but can’t get to, the gaps between two apartment buildings, the subway tunnels,” he notes. Hu is planning for his graduate work to let him explore this side of architecture even more.
Hu is currently choosing among several graduate schools in London, including the University of Arts London and University College London’s Bartlett School of Architecture, “because I’m interested in experiential-based design, I’m most passionate about pursuing new experiences. I’m excited to be studying in London and to be in a new city. I hope I’ll be able to gain new insight into my professional curiosity, but also new personal perspectives.”