Sean Shen, Xuanru Chen & Yu-ying Tsai


“Architecture is a creative discipline, while creativity tends to blend with idealistic and individual passions” so say, Sean Shen, Xuanru Chen, Yu-ying Tsai. When the trio decided to be architects, they wanted to create their own practice as this would be the only way to achieve their collective vision. So in 2017, after several years working at ISOZAKI ARATA’s studio in Shanghai, they established ZJJZ.

This young group sees that in the digital era dominated by data streaming, architecture is often presented in photos, videos and media descriptions. For an eye-catching building, it may help the architect receive more attention and resources, however, the short-lived revelry on social media somehow makes them feel sad and empty.

Shen, Chen and Tsai view architecture and its significance in an environment in a more natural manner. The trio sees architecture as a structure that coexists with people and nature, and they are keen to reveal the relationship that can be established by architecture among people and between man and nature. They explain that sometimes architecture is hidden in the natural terrain, but it draws the attention of occupants to different directions. However, at other times, the architecture of ZJJZ may stand out as a distinct object because it can offer different stimuli to the environment and the people in it.

The trio see architecture as romantic and full of possibilities. The possibilities not only lie in the shaping of architecture itself, but also in the infinite likelihood that people will join in activities in architectural spaces. If a building can become a memorable moment for someone, or a unique scene after it is used in a certain environment for long or short periods of time, it will have fulfilled its mission.

The team at ZJJZ see architecture as a way to express themselves, it is a bridge between them and the rest of the world that can be shared, experienced and viewed by many people. This provides profound satisfaction for the architects at ZJJZ.

The road to having an independent practice is challenging, however Shen, Chen and Tsai hope to be able to create designs in a dignified manner without losing their sensitivity towards the world or the courage to ask questions, while retaining the love for design. The architects at ZJJZ will constantly try to establish themselves and create through their own perspective.


Photography: Headshot courtesy of ZJJZ; Dafa Canal Tourist Information Center by Laurian Ghinitoiu; Mountain Restaurant & Bar by Laurain Ghinitoiu; The Mushroom – a wood house in the forest courtesy of ZJJZ; The Seeds by Fangfang Tian.