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Yan Ren

Q: Where are you from?

I’m from Nanyang, a small, historic city in the central plains of China.

Q: Where did you go to school?

I received my bachelor’s degree in Architecture at the Southwest University of Science and Technology in China, and then moved to the states and attended graduate school at UC Berkeley after taking a gap year working and travelling.

Q: Tell me about your family.

I’m the oldest of two, I have a sister who just started high school. Both of my parents were born and raised in Nanyang. My dad is serving for the local department of building and planning inspection, but he studied forest protection in the college and later returned to his hometown where he met my mom. My mom just retired a couple of years ago, she used to be a technician at a chemical plant.

Q: What is the most interesting aspect of architecture to you?

Manipulating the space. It’s an art that empowers me to create space with rationale.

Q: What makes our office unique?

People, people, and people. I’m yet to meet all of the staff in person as most of our office is still working remotely, but all people I’ve worked with are smart, kind, and collaborative. I really appreciate the mentorship.

Q: Did you pick up any new hobbies during quarantine?

I wasn’t a big fan of water activities, but now I’m obsessed with kayaking... quarantine has made me more desperate to get in touch with nature.

Q: What are the top three things on your bucket list?

A ticket to the Mars (a serious face here), hike rim-to-rim in Grand Canyon, see my family when the pandemic is over.

Q: What are five features you would include in your dream home?

A giant horizontal window facing toward the lake, this is the first image that pops up in my mind, an outdoor tub under the canopy of a chestnut tree, a studio surrounded by water, not too much furniture. I want to keep it as simple as possible, and maybe a gaming room can only be accessed from a secret door…

Q: Where are you most excited to travel next?

I want to travel to the Faroe Islands. It’s been my desktop background for so long!

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