Sunday, January 25, 2015
Monday, January 12, 2015
This is an excerpt from 'Like father, like son' - something I wrote discussing the proclivity of architect's children to follow in their parents' footsteps.
In a recent article in the Architectural Record by Laura Raskin writes; - “Architects begets architects, so it seems. Eliel Sarinen had Eero Sarinen; two of Frank Lloyd Wright’s, John and Lloyd became architects. Walter Gropius’s father was an architect.
To add to her list - two of I. M. Pei’s four sons are architects, Nick and Glenn Murcutt. Not just the sons either, Moshe Safdie’s daughter, Taal is an architect. In Kuching, the children of Dato Sri John Lau, Mike Boon, Chiew Chung Yee, Juliah Sabri and Chang Jih Ren are following in their parent’s footsteps.
So, is architecture in your blood?
Some geneticists believe there might be some basis in this thinking that since we inherit human variation such as hair and eye colour from our parents – there is a genetical context for creative talent. Furthermore, there are theories that artistic talent is more heritable than scientific talent and since architecture is a curious mix of art and science – children of architects may be more likely to become architects. But that is just a theory. (Architects are more likely to marry architects – but that’s another story)
Many others think that it is the environment – in Raskin’s article, Taal Safdie was ‘breathing architecture’ – a heady mix of job-sites, client dinners and office flurry, from a very young age. She spent part of her childhood living in Habitat ’67 – the Montreal apartment complex designed by her father. I have met steel fabricators and carpenters who would have made brilliant architects had they been exposed to the ‘right’ environment when they were young.
The reasons for a child’s tendency to follow the parents’ profession are probably a combination of both nature and nurture. Although in Asia could there be a third factor - parental pressure? On second thoughts, this is unlikely since our profession commands too little pay for way too much work. No self-respecting Asian mother would want that for her child. Sam has been nudging Sean towards dentistry “shorter hours, more money, fewer arguments about fees” – she is an interior designer.
Ultimately, architecture is more a lifestyle than a profession – the love of what we do daily may play a part in sub consciously determining our children’s’ profession.
Friday, January 2, 2015
I have been keeping a journal since I was in university. The first was more like a scrapbook than a journal, it contained my thoughts, notes to myself, lecture notes, sketches of design ideas for studio, photographs, receipts for the tax-man, notes from Sam. Since then, things have become a little more structured (but not too much) there is now a journal for my thoughts and observations, which sometimes takes the form of a sketch; there is a journal for work, jottings of ideas and sketches from discussions with my colleagues and students. And lately, there is one for each project that goes on site, for sketches to explain ideas with builders and for them to share theirs with me.
Not everything goes into these journals, there are plenty of strays ones on butter paper, back of blueprints and letters that have disappeared in between files, books and magazines, or simply been throw away.
I have just completed a sketch journal with unbleached paper which I like for its 'tooth' and the stitched spine means that the sheets do not come loose and it opens flat. I selected some pages from it to share here.
|Floor construction details for SSR Surau|
|Open House roof steel|
|Car porch storage|
|Ideas for landscape at G House|
|SSR wall details|
The tidiness of the sketches depends on how busy I am on that day, although the OCD part of me likes to draw a 1:25 hard-line detail once in a while.
|Idea for a hotel restaurant|
|The proposed layout of a newsletter which I help edit.|
Friday, December 12, 2014
La Maison Bleu
Built by Cheong Fatt Tze “one of China’s last Mandarins and first Capitalists” this flamboyant masterpiece of 38 rooms, 5 courtyards and 7 staircases was acquired in 1990 with the aim of restoring it from its dilapidated state into an authentic original form. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has an eclectic style typical of 19th Century Straits Settlement architecture: a Chinese floor plan combines with Gothic louvred windows, Chinese qian-nian porcelain works with Stoke-on-Trent floor tiles, and Scottish cast iron works with Art Nouveau stained glass windows. It is said that the aura and “Chi” of the man pervades the whole building.
For architects and lovers of our building heritage, it is re-assuring to see that the restored building has found a new use and earns its upkeep as a heritage hotel and events venue. It has recently expanded its repertoire to include fine dining in the upstairs front rooms - done thoughtfully and sensitively, this form of adaptive reuse will guarantee the preservation of our heritage buildings for generations to come.
Old man Cheong would have approved of this.
Saturday, December 6, 2014
Saturday, November 29, 2014
Last week, Urban Sketchers Kuching shared their sketches of heritage buildings with the Sarawak Heritage Society in an exhibition at the old courthouse.
|The exhibition took place at the old Courthouse|
|They did a nice profile for our Urban Sketchers group|
|This lady bought my sketch as a pre Christmas present|