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Interview - Rose, Andy, Elvis from the


The Terra Chronicles

The Terra Chronicles

"The Terra Chronicles proposes a network of vertical
monuments for life on Earth, continuously built up through the decades
into the great beyond".

The idea behind this project is to create an archive of all living species on earth, by storing their DNA and data samples within a fibre unit that would recreate the ecosystem and genetic history of these species. This technology would actually be of use already to protect endangered species.

To put it into more simple words: thanks to the Terra Chronicles, we would have the certainty that if something was to happen to our species, we would have a back up that would allow us to restore life on earth of somewhere else. 

We interviewed the team behind this ambitious project: 


Above all, tell us about yourself in a few words: Where do you live, study or work at the moment?

Rose: I live in Philadelphia, and am a second-year graduate student of architecture at the University of Pennsylvania.
Andy: I also live in Philadelphia, studying in same studio as Rose at Upenn
Elvis: I currently live and work in Shenzhen, China.

What does your project mean to you?

R: The Terra Chronicles represent hope for me, hope that all the organisms of this earth should leave their mark, that we would know their stories, and for them to have the potential for a future in space.
A: The project is also an opportunity for us to think about the crisis that people in the future may encounter. At the same time, we are optimistically expecting the solutions for the crisis.
E: The project gave me an incredible chance to design not only with architectural knowledge, but also with imaginations that we don't often use in school. It helped me realize more potentials that architecture could possibly achieve in the future.


What challenges did you face during the creation process of your project?

R: Some challenges faced during the creation of this project was the juggling of heavy school work with the advancement of Terra Chronicles. Other challenges had more to do with coming together with the other teammates to discuss and allocate tasks.
A: Yes, especially Elvis was not at the same place with Rose and me. Video chat is not a very efficient way for architectural discussion.
E: The concept of “space architecture” has very different scale and location comparing to the architecture that we are practising nowadays. The most challenging part for me was the process of defining architecture language that would be tangible and appropriate for the future, while conveying our concept clearly to the public.


How does it feel to try to be one of the most visionary architects in the world?

R: I don’t credit myself to be visionary, only that as a team, we had in mind a goal we wished to address with our project. We saw a possibility for a future and worked to bring it forth from our minds to paper.
A: For me the word “Visionary” is suitable to depict what we did: we were imagining what may happen in the future. We set a situation and found a problem basing on our experience, analysis and imagination, then tried to solve it. It is interesting to work “in future”.
E: While feeling honoured for wining the award, I'm also very excited to see other visionary entries and get to know what other participants concerned about. For me that is much more rewarding than winning a prize alone.

Do you think the Foundation played a crucial role in your project’s advancement, visibility?

R: Yes, the Foundation has hosted a beautiful awards ceremony, featured us in numerous exhibitions and publications. It has done much in making us visible.


Why participate in such a competition? Would you do it again?

R: The reason I chose to participate in this competition was because I thought it wasn’t meant to ground us in the conventional senses of architecture, but instead allowed us the room to be creative and projective.
A: As architecture students, we’ve learnt a lot about architecture theories, analysis method and software techniques. However, we need a relatively free situation to practice. Such a competition provided a great platform for us.
E: I saw this competition not only an architectural one, but also one that allowed us to showcase a better future that we believed in. I'd definitely like to do it again when the time comes!


What’s the next step?

R: The next step would be to graduate from my program, but in the meantime perhaps participate in a few more competitions.
A: I will definitely be together with Rose.
E: As a recent graduate, I wish to combine my architectural skills and experiences together to address tangible social issues through work and movements - as well as participating in more competitions of course!


A word of advice for this year’s participants?

R: It is very important to have a vision for what your project would like to accomplish. Purpose makes everything else fall in to place.
A: Like the last sentence of our video: in a time of destruction, create something.
E: Follow what you are interested in, and there are much more beautiful things through your imagination.