Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Lines in Steel

I am an architect, I draw lines. Sometimes, they get built.

The initial pencil drawing of the scheme

The completed building sits on a high verge with views of Singapore across the Causeway

Whenever possible, we delineated the various elements of the building with a shadow recess, a drop or a gap
The over-sailing roof modulates and unifies all the spaces and gives the building its final form.

The 2-storey amenities block is linked to the offices by a series of bridges over a ‘street’.

The roof turns down to become a rain screen for the street, the amenities are in the concrete structure.

The original idea used the gentle slope of the roof as a ramp to a look out station
The western facade is shielded with sun louvres to minimize heat entering the work space
An exploded axonometric showing the different components that make up this building, rainwater is collected for use in the toilets

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Taking a turn around the room

This antiquated phase gave me the idea for this photo-montage; a panorama of faces collected almost 30 years ago. Judging from the number of people, it must have quite a big occasion; were we on our way to a concert, was it the Bach recital in the old church near our house? No one remembers, we can't even recall the year.

Dez and Freddo reckon it must have been1988, though Cardie thinks it's closer to 1989 on account of Rosa being there. She left for Europe after graduation and worked for Forster’s; I think we were all a little in love with Rosa.

Next to her with long curly hair is Simon who is now in politics (and without his curls), I remember his deep voice and slow drawl-y way of speaking. Marcus was from a year our junior; a very good student and photographer, I don't know him very well and can't remember his friend's name. Sitting next to Sam is Iain who left us two years ago – I like his sense of humour and generosity, and I remember that Sam had a soft spot for him.

Annette who is talking to Sam was studying to be a journalist and once interviewed me for a school assignment. I think it was about the relationship of one's cultural background and eventual personality or character. In it she said that I had a propensity to tell a good story. (I had to look up 'propensity'.)

Next to her is Nicola (?) - a good pastry cook, her specialty is Florentines which she secretly calls "vomits" on account of their splattered shapes, I think and certainly not their taste because they were heavenly. I tasted them once when she made them for a garden party at Dianne’s, during which I met her and Annette.

Cardie is an unusual combination of cool and edginess – perhaps a precursor of grunge? I remember him as being half asleep most of the time yet able to come up with wonderful design schemes. He and I were workshop partners for the Silver Medallion Award. Min (real name Marie) nearly got us beaten up once when she re-wrote the menu of working-men’s pub; changing ‘fried lamb brains’ to ‘shit-for-brains’; ‘calamari and chips’ to ‘calamari and foreskins’, etc. At the time, I think she was going out (to use another old fashioned term) with Freddo who once said ‘..no man, don’t call him a cunt – cunts are nice things’. In Australia, Freddo is the name of a chocolate treat in the shape of frog. Tim next to him is more restrained and last seen converting an old church in Geelong into centre for restoring old timbers – I wonder if he is still doing that (I should write to him).

Dianne is precious, she unknowing perhaps taught to me to put myself in another person’s shoes and see the other point of view – something that I am still learning to do well. She visited us when we got married in Kuching and came along for our honeymoon in Penang.

So, this was my circle of friends and acquaintances in Geelong who have in some way shaped my thinking and my attitude towards people, life and work, or at the very least given me stories to tell -  even if they are 30 years too late.

One question though – Dez, where were you?

Friday, February 27, 2015

A morning at Segu

The Segu Bungalow has been featured in this blog before, so I won't dwell on it except to mention that recently Tom Walker gave a talk there and Louise (who lives there) asked if I could frame one of my Segu sketches as a memento for him. I could not decide which view to frame for Tom, but Yasmin saved the day by stitching all my little vignettes together into a scroll.

Prints of this series are for sale at the Zinc restaurant on Jalan Tabuan, owner James Lo will donate proceeds to the Friends of the Sarawak Museum.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sketching with Sean

More of my work takes me to Kuala Lumpur these days and since Sean and Sara are studying and living in KL now - work combines with family life in a nice symmetry that I enjoy. When I was recently invited to introduce our practice to a client there, I use it as an opportunity to invite my favourite young man to breakfast and maybe a bit of sketching. Perhaps with me offering some fatherly advice on ink and wash (and life). We agreed to meet in the morning at 8 in order to give him time to travel to me by public transport.

View of KLIA2 from my window seat
But work first. I flew budget to KLIA2, the long journey and the waiting time gave me time to fill a few pages of my sketch book. My contact person in the client's company was a former trainee, now an architect working with this large property developer. Again, I was pleasantly reminded of life's symmetry - this young person whom I mentored and gave tips to about architecture is now (10 years on) giving me tips about my presentation to her bosses. The meeting was long but enjoyable and I felt a rapport with the people there, we agreed to put some thoughts on paper for one of their projects.

Seanie trying out my water brush
Sometimes, I visualise the outcome of an event; the sequence of conversation, the exchange of words and looks, a facial expression, a gesture. Sometimes the actual event turns out much like how I imagined it. I thought that the hotel breakfast would be mediocre and it was; that he would arrive a little late and flustered as he is prone to do when he arrives late; that he would eat little and talk even less until prompted.

Sean's sketch of a parapet detail
Then later as he cooled down, he also warmed up to the task of telling me about his recent field and listened to my suggestions about doing quick sketches and trying different media. While he concentrated on his sketches, I made the most of the hotel's buffet service and made us cups of tea with honey and toast with butter and jam.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Planting seeds

Sometimes in the midst of the mundane and tedious; comes a reminder that we are doing the right thing, that we are on the right track and the seeds we sow are bearing fruit.

This one came in the mail.

This is good tonic.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Poetry in life

An excerpt from Patricia Beer's 'Ballad of the Underpass'

An underpass. The tunnelled road
Is short, the village is so slight.
Today I drove right underneath
The tombstones in the fading light.

‘Now I have really GONE ABOVE,'
My mother said, 'though not to Heaven,
Nearer the light, nearer the air.
Set free by half the worms of Devon

My bones hang over you and twitch
Under the rain. Tall as a tree
You used to stand there looking down
And now you must look up at me.'

Tuesday, January 27, 2015