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Alumnus Marries Love of Words With Love of Architecture in New Book

A book about Chinese architectural design by Sylvia Chan, a graduate of the JMSC’s Master of Journalism programme  – Writing In(to) Architecture: China’s Architectural Design and Construction Since 1949 – is due for publication in March.

Sylvia Chan (MJ 2007)

The bilingual (English and Chinese) volume will be published by Muse Books in Hong Kong.

Chan, a Hong Kong native, studied at the JMSC in 2006-2007. After graduating from the JMSC, she worked as a reporter at the trade publication Cargonews Asia for half a year and then joined Muse Magazine, a leading arts and culture magazine based in Hong Kong, as a staff writer.

In 2010, she returned to academia, taking a master’s in Histories and Theories of Architecture at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London.

“Writing In(to) Architecture is actually my thesis for the MA course,” said Chan.

“The book is about the evolution of architectural journalism in China from 1949, when the PRC was established, until the present,” she said.  “In a nutshell, the book explores the relationship between journalism and the actual design and construction.”

She said she was interested in exploring how the general public can influence architectural design by contributing to the discourse on architecture.  Architectural writing provides a platform for the general public to participate in debates on architecture, which are otherwise dominated by architectural professionals, she said.

Chan found her studies at the JMSC useful when it came to researching and authoring first her thesis and then her book.

“My studies at the JMSC deeply reinforced my research and writing skills, which have been extremely valuable both within and outside the realm of journalism.”

“The literary journalism course offered by the JMSC was certainly a source of inspiration for my book. Through the course, I realised how texts could simultaneously document and provide alternative lenses to look at social phenomena.”

She currently works as a communications officer at an international research-based architectural firm. She is responsible for promoting the firm in Asia and also serves as a researcher on architectural phenomena.