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30UNDER30’s Jess Wang on transforming the future of architecture through knowledge sharing

30UNDER30’s Jess Wang on transforming the future of architecture through knowledge sharing


Australian Design Review (ADR) recently revealed the 30UNDER30 Architects and Innovators of the Built World for 2023/2024. To celebrate, we are getting to know this exciting multidisciplinary cohort, the passions that drive their work and what makes them tick creatively.

BVN architectural graduate Jess (Yue) Wang is committed to humanising the built environment by making cities and neighbourhoods inclusive, accessible, sustainable and inviting.

Wang believes design is undergoing a major transformation to meet goals of social impact, optimum sustainability and climate-responsiveness. She says this change starts with open and honest discussions and knowledge sharing. Wang has a particular interest in making spaces pedestrian and transit-friendly, which is what led her to join BVN and become involved in projects such as the Canberra Hospital Expansion and the new Sydney Fish Markets. 

Jess Wang at Verge Art installation project Sydney University Student Union
Jess Wang at the Verge Art installation project, Sydney University Student Union
ADR: How did your love for architecture originate?

JW: It’s actually quite hard to pinpoint a moment or singular source. My interest in architecture sprouted at quite a young age, as I attempted to make sense of the space around me via sketching, drawing and diagramming.

Over time, this developed into a more critical and analytical lens, which led to studying architecture. I’d say my love for our industry flourished through this deep dive. Understanding the powers of space, and the multitude of different ways it can empower, or constrain us, has been a fascinating journey and a source of inspiration to make a positive change.

An original sketch by Jess Wang. The pen sketch relates to her love of architecture growing from her love of drawing and the environment around her.
Original sketch of Puffing Billy by Jess Wang, courtesy of Jess Wang.
ADR: What does sustainability mean for you?

JW: Let’s take this back to its etymological root: the idea of supporting, upholding, or enduring something. It is the pride of a city flaneur to witness the growth of their favourite neighbourhoods, an upcycled toy made from your dad’s wooden train set, or a team of horticulturalists working towards a better rain garden system. I think sustainability is a mindset.

Collectively, we all share a single community and a united future, so we are responsible for its maintenance and future prospects. This involves various means and disciplines – from environmental benefits and social values to optimising processes and workflows. In the end, it’s all part of a holistic approach.

ADR: Is there a particular project you’ve worked on that has been the highlight of your career so far? 

JW: Working on the new Sydney Fish Markets over the past three years has been a clear highlight. I enjoyed the complexity of this project, specifically the integration of a public and retail precinct with a highly complex commercial operation that is built within the Sydney Harbour. It is a truly unique typology.

It has been a steep learning curve from joining the team as a graduate to now leading my own packages, but the opportunity to collaborate with experienced and supportive co-workers across multiple offices has been really rewarding.

ADR: What drives your work and what do you hope to achieve in your architecture career?

JW: Humanising our built environments is at the front and centre of my passion. I hope to create and advocate for spaces that are inclusive, diverse, and empowering. We live in a vibrant, dynamic community and our work should reflect this. Architecture should honour its geological and sociocultural context while accommodating future possibilities.

Photograph of Sydney Fish Markets, under construction. A BVN architecture project. Photo credit BVN office and Martin Siegner
The Sydney Fish Markets, under construction. 3XN in collaboration with BVN & Aspect Studios. Photo credit BVN office and Martin Siegner.
ADR: How did it feel to make it into Australian Design Review’s 30UNDER30?

JW: I was in China for the Lunar New Year with my extended family, so it was quite the surprise pre-celebration. As a gift to say congratulations, we went out for hotpot. I feel very excited and honoured to be part of ADR’s 30UNDER30 — and just like the classic winter feast, I look forward to experiencing this melting pot of ideas and diverse backgrounds. I look forward to getting a taste of everyone’s favourite topics and passions, and to cooking up a storm through our design conversations.

But, most importantly, I’m thrilled to be immersed in our shared joy for our built environment and the betterment of tomorrow.

ADR’s 30UNDER30 Architects and Innovators of the Built World stream is brought to you by major sponsor Neolith, alongside Miele, Interface and Tongue & Groove. The program is also supported by practice partners BVN, HDR INC, SJB, Richard Stanisich, Williams Burton Leopardi, and Billard Leece Partnership. To find out more about the final 30, including their places of work and discipline areas, head to the 30UNDER30 page.


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