Friday, August 26, 2011

Back to Uni

Last month, I was invited to lead the Tropical Architecture Workshop at NUS (National University of Singapore)
This annual event is the first project for 150 third year students. My theme is based on the idea of a tropical ‘village’ where students have to analyze the simple activities of eating/cooking, sleeping/resting and washing. The brief called for usage of passive cooling devices and consideration of interspatial relationship and the possible development of prototypes.

I prepared this pictorial documentary of the 7-day workshop, choosing to focus on the activities that took place and relationships made rather than the products of the workshop. For me, the real lessons learnt during the 7 days do not always show themselves in the final panels. These are lessons in teamwork, discourse and disagreements followed by decision and delegation of work, ending in an articulate presentation of their ideas. Much of which was done in a seriousness and skill that belie their mere two years in Architecture School; resulting in a body of work that explored social issues, urban planning, ecology, industrial design and energy renewal. The most enjoyable (and impressive) aspect of this workshop was the students’ ability to explain (and argue) their ideas at a moment’s notice, and without much sleep one might add.

For me, these are the rewards: to work with smart motivated young people that point towards the future of our profession. 

These are some samples of the students' work

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The view from Traders Hotel

This is a belated continuation of the previous blog entry - a happy outing to KL; staying at the Traders, pampered at the executive lounge and receiving two gold medals at the PAM Awards. I enjoyed most the quiet morning at the breakfast lounge 35 floors up - finishing my sketches in watercolor.
These are two of them - I used watercolors from a Sakura Paintbox.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

PAM Awards

Traders Hotel lobby on Level 5
For this year's PAM Awards outing, Arlene, Leong and I decided to lash out and stay at the Traders Hotel - we planned to have a extra bed in the room for me. All was well until Leong and I tried to check in at 2 p.m.- we were told by the nice and apologetic Mr Lucas Chin at front desk that our room was not ready. I frowned and looked at my watch; prompting an exchange between the two of us.
L: ah, erm..may I offer you lunch?
me: (looking uninterested) We've had lunch (quelling a little burp of sushi)
L: ooh..haha..ah how about a drink?
me: We are a little pushed for time; we are attending an event next door..
L: Oh, I see. The Industrial Robotics Convention?
me: No. (trying to look mildly offended) - the Architect's Design Awards.
L: Oh. Did you win something?
me: I believe we did, yes..
L: Mr. Wee. Let me check again..back in a moment (he dashes off and returns in two minutes). Ah...Mr.Wee, I am very sorry but I can only offer you a room on the executive floor with views of the Twin Towers, ah..would that be acceptable?
me: (Yay!..executive floor!) well, it'll have to do
L: And Mr. Wee can have cocktails at the executive on the 38th floor at 5 p.m. - they are complimentary.
me: (wooohooo!) ..yes, yes, we'll see if we have the time.
L: more thing; the room has two single beds, not a double...
me: Hmm. that's ok (turning to Leong who's sitting down amongst the cushions and gesturing with my hands that the beds are apart and not together; he nods. And as I turn back to young Lucas, I catch the eye of the Indian receptionist standing nearby; she cocks her head and smile sympathetically at me)
PAM Awards Ceremony 2011
Such a nice view that I slept on the couch by the window

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

In Memoriam

Kok Ming took us on an 'Architecture of Death' tour - my favourite was the Kranji War Memorial. Set on a hill with manicured lawns - the Memorial is dedicated to the Commonwealth soldiers who died defending Singapore and Malaya against the invading Japanese forces during WOrld War II.
The two sweeping wings represent the Air Force, sheltering the "Army" columns engraved with names of the fallen, while the submarine's sail stands for the Navy.

Headstones at the Kranji War Memorial
While there - I was reminded of Kemal Ataturk's tribute to the ANZACs in Gallipoli, 
  "......You the mothers who sent their sons from far away countries, wipe away your tears. Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. Having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well."  It moves me every time I read it.