A passion for design: Xiaohua Fei, founder X-urban Associates

Xiaohua Fei
Xiaohua Fei, MArch '00, is founder of X-urban architects an architecture firm in China.

Architecture is Xiaohua Fei’s passion. Thanks to his drive and education at Washington University, Fei was able to start his own architecture firm, X-urban Associates, in China.

In 1987, Fei, MArch ’00, graduated from Tongji University with a bachelor’s degree in architecture and a master’s degree in urban planning and design. Afterward, he went straight to work. But he began thinking he needed something more to further his career. In 1999, he went back to school, attending Washington University to obtain a master’s degree in architecture.

“WashU is a very well-known institution for higher education, and I had been dreaming about going to this school for a long time,” Fei says.

A master’s degree from WashU would give him the practical skills he needed to keep moving his career forward. During his time at the university, he says that the most valuable thing he gained was building strong relationships with his professors and classmates.

“The professors were humorous, which impressed me a lot. It’s been 18 years since I graduated, and I still maintain strong connections with my classmates and professors,” he says.

Fei excelled in his courses and founded X-urban Associates in 2001, right after he graduated from WashU. X-urban Associates specializes in public architecture and housing. The firm also excels at city planning/renovation, industrial planning and urban design. Fei’s work has been featured in Architectural Record in the United States, Via arquitectura in Spain, as well as numerous publications in China.

When asked what made him start X-urban, Fei says, “I already had the necessary working experience before coming to WashU, as well as leadership skills that were needed. It was just the next step in my career.”

X-urban has received various awards in China for outstanding design, architecture and more.

Additionally, Fei maintains a strong relationship with Washington University. He met with Heather Woofter, the director of College of Architecture and Graduate School of Architecture and Urban Design, when he visited Hong Kong on June 1, 2018, to discuss how his firm could enhance cooperation with the university, including hiring WashU grads.

“I am always designing, and I never feel tired of doing it because it’s what I love doing, and what I specialize in,” he says. “Working brings me happiness, so it never feels like work.”

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