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2016.06.04 Sean O’Malley & Zheng Xiao


Q1:What’s your opinion on development and construction of China.


China is probably gone through some of the fast and growth in world history .And China has done remarkable things in very short time. But also, because that fast growth, it's also many challenges. Our goal is to try to improvethe quality of life for the people who live here .At the same time we all kind of finding our way .China is finding its way ,we are trying to help them .


Q2:In your projects, how to express the importance of local culture?


Sean: I think that’s extremely important. Sometimes the local culture is lost in new development. One of the challenges is how to bring culture back. We try to do a lots of research to understand the local culture as much as possible, we also work with local partners here in China, who help us with understanding the people who they are, where they come from.


Xiao: For me, I am the Chinese but I have been living US for 15 years. So I seen the culture is a little bit lost .Wuhan, Shunde, Guangzhou all have very unique culture. We’realways thinking what the culture means. I become outside in the US, sometimes my client say we actually see the culture maybe a little bit clear than when you are in China, I think that’s kind of an advantage .We see things moreclear。


Sean:  We also benefit from the fact is a 1/3 of our staffs is Chinese in Los Angeles at office, that helps as well.



Q3: SWA projects all over the world, compare with other countries, what’s the limitations of designing in China?


Actually I think it’s just the opposite. Compared other countries China is the most expressive design ,allows greatest freedom in design in China. we’ve been working with a lot of local builds and contract. We spend a lot of time when we work on construction sides. At China construction is a challenge but design is not. I think the Chinese are very open to new ideas and new design .I think that’s very positive thing.


Q4: Among all the SWA projects, which one is impress you the most?


That’s tough question because there are so many good ones. I have to say one of the projects I really like is Buffalo Bayou Promenade. Which is the largest investments in public parkland ever carried out by the City of Houston, SWA was retained to create a master plan and subsequent full landscape architectural services through two miles of some of the most challenging urban conditions: overhead freeways and utilities, steep slopes, limited access and critical flood water elevations. The project converts a once neglected eyesore—intimidating to pedestrians and detrimental to flood control efforts—into 3,000 linear feet of urban parkland providing a gateway to downtown Houston and adding over 20 acres of park space to Houston’s inner city. The project features naturalization of extensive native landscaping, hike and bike trails, public art, dramatic artistic lighting, 12 new street-to-bayou entryways, stairs and ramps reconnecting people to the bayou, a major north-to-south pedestrian bridge, way-finding, and interpretive signage.


Q5:Designers are increasingly concerned about lighting design ,what changes will it bring to the city in the next few years?


Xiao: I think nowadays technology change so fast .lighting design is not about the light things. It’s about art. We have been working on several projects , good lighting designer also bring good ideas . Landscape doing daytime and nigh time is totally different. So lighting design I feel it’s gonna to more important.


Sean: You might be using your phone to change the lighting when you go by.


Xiao: We do have the project in Suzhou, that lights changes when people approaching , It’s more interactive . It’s also important for urban life .



Q6: Why did you choose to corporate with Wuhan Landscape Architectural Design Institute ?


First of all we built a couple projects together already .This group is one of the best in China. We feel very fortune to working with them . We share a lot of values. we learn a lot from them .And because they are the local ,they know the local people the best.




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