Monday, July 26, 2010
This concept sketch is for a small cafe by the Rejang river in Sibu; the focus of which are two decades-old rain trees. The building was designed as a series of structures, seemingly suspended from the branches of the trees; transient and impermanent. And yet with enough presence to address the street and the river. Last year, this little building was awarded a Prize by the National Architect's Institute - we felt like the proud father of a child protege playing his first piano recital. But in reality, architects cannot be real parents for long; we hand over our 'children' to their foster parents - the clients - and wish for the best.
This year, the client has completed the total destruction of the building's original intent through a series of additions; apparently to improve the business of this little cafe. The most damaging is the roofing over of the open-to-sky terrace on the first floor; shutting off the view of the sky and the trees' canopy - this was the only part of the buiulding where one could truly sit under the trees and listen to the wind conversing.
The owner chose to open several other doors along the street front to induce customers to walk in - thus compromising the building's mystique and privacy. Of course architecture is not the cause of poor business, the source of which lies in the kitchen; but our product is physical and visual thus making it an easy choice for a scapegoat.
NOTE: These photos show the building before the client's renovation