Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Running Happy again

It feels as though I might be finally free of the calf injury that had sidelined me for two long months - on Sunday I did a slow run of about 6 K from home to the waterfront. In 'celebration' the group of us went for a local breakfast of rice porridge near the temple. The recovery from this injury has taught me that while running is an important part of my life, there are other avenues to occupy the void abstinence from running created.

It also taught me that it is a battle fought and won in relative solitude.

Temple on Carpenter Street

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Bye Josie

We met Josie on the 18th November some 12 years ago. We were at the Kuching 3rd Mile wet market wanting to buy some ingredients for a birthday (mine) dinner that night when I noticed her walking about in the bottom of a deep planter box. She seemed cheerful enough so I picked her up and put her into my shopping basket as my birthday present.

We have had her for 12 years during which she demanded little of us as a family; except to be part of our family. She was robust and willful, until a year ago when she lost the use of her kidneys. The doctors gave her a few weeks to live. Sam is equally willful (and robust) and started a regiment of daily drips and injection - first self administered at home and later at the doctors. By then, Josie had suffered a stroke and lost her sight - she was skin and bones. Every morning, Sam would drive to the doctors with Josie in the back seat for her hour long drip - this went on for several months.
Sam and Josie (who was blind by this time) on the way to the doctor.

I have only driven Josie to the doctors only once and even then, had Sara to help with carrying her in and out of the car. On the 22nd of last month, Josie left us - one year after the doctors thought she would not make it - her willfulness shone through until the end.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Archiprix S.E.A Workshop

National Library of Singapore

Students’ Workshop – 3 parallel workshops led by Prof. Tay Kheng Soon, Yip Yuen Hong and myself was a good opportunity for students from 6 different countries to bond, share ideas and provide solutions to de-construct the Tropical City (Prof. Tay), to design a tropical habitat (Yip) and to convert common spaces in HDB flats into communal spaces (me). Graphic communication bridged langauge barriers as I was reminded of the true objective of such an event; to promote discourse amongst architecture schools in the region.

Tay Tze Yong assisting in the student workshop

the workshop in progress

Tony Liew briefing the students

our workshop with curious onlookers from the other groups

Tito putting it all together

Prof Tay remembers me as "the architect from Sarawak"; I am well pleased.

Yuen Hong looks in on the workshop

our group with the finished products

Friday, December 14, 2012

Archiprix S.E.A. 2012

On Monday, I sat at a jury panel of three headed by Dr. Erwin Viray from Kyoto Institute of Technology, accompanied by Yip Yuen Hong from ip:li architects, Singapore and listened to the presentation of 14 design schemes from South East Asian universities and colleges. 
The following are notes and sketches taken during the one-day presentation at the National University of Singapore.

the 3 bald men in the front are the jury members; students and tutors from 11 regional Universities took part.

Dr Erwin Viray commenting on one of the presentations.

entrant from National University of Singapore

Duong from Hanoi Architecture University

the winning team from Sarawak; Tay Tze Yong is the tutor (standing between R and I)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The corner of Kuching GPO and Carpenter street

 This is one of my favourite places in town; the Kuching General Post Office located at the corner of Carpenter Street and Jalan Tun Haji Openg. This building of architectural significance was designed  by Denis Santry of the architectural firm of Swan and McClaren in Singapore and was completed
in 1932. It served as a police station and stables for the white rulers before assuming its role as the General Post Office for Kuching. Other significant buildings in the vicinity include the Pavilion which house the textiles museum and the Round Tower; recently dwarfed by the insensitive and unimaginative insertion of a massive commercial complex next to the Pavilion , facing the GPO.



Saturday, November 24, 2012

November Sketch Crawl

These are two sketches done during the recent sketch crawl, of the Brooke Dockyard at the end of Jalan Gambier. It was been de-commisioned for some years now but architecturally and structurally it is still imposing - I would love to be able to get inside to sketch and photograph it.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Recycled Timber Bench

This is my sketch of the day describing an idea to use re-cycled eaves ceiling timber for a bench at the end of the patio. For some of our smaller projects, the communication is quite informal and the contractor and client would review this and give their comments on whether to proceed (client) or to propose amendments (contractor).

Monday, November 19, 2012

48th Birthday

This year, the Penang Bridge Run coincided with my birthday so I started the day in my favourite way; a 21-KM run with 30,000 people. 

Sam and I were nursing injuries so we had to walk to 21 but if we had run, we would not heard the kitten mewing at KM 17 and Sam would not have hurdled two highway dividers to rescue the little bugger. 

Sam walked the last 4 K with the kitten mewing loudly (hungry, not scared) in her running vest. It would have made a good birthday present but it would have been impossible to bring it into Sarawak. 

It now resides on the USM campus.

Sam and I (and the kitten) about to cross the finish line

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Duomo Siena

I started this sketch standing in between the striped column bays of Siena's Duomo (also known as Santa Maria de Assunta) - and now as I put on the final touches, it seems surreal that two months ago we were in Italy visiting the buildings that I have only ever encountered in books and lectures. I started so many sketches that I am still discovering them in my sketchbook; prolonging the enjoyment of my first trip to Europe.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Garden Studio

Recently Sam and I decided to set up a small studio to teach architectural drawing; a dying trade in our part of the world. So I decided to make use of a small portion of our garden for a studio.

The drawings for this project are done when there is time in between work and play and between projects and tutorials. I am showing them here to demonstrate to our students friends that the design process does not stop after the project goes on site, nor do the drawings need to confirm to conventional paper size and draughting techniques such as CAD.

The butter paper sketches were for the aluminum and glazing contractor to use as a reference to measure up on-site and order the material and products required.

The other drawing is a 'parallel projection' of a SketchUp section for me to add details for the steel fabricator to understand how I want to install the Breezeway louvre windows. I am installing them vertically and up close against the brick lace wall. I find it easier to add the enlarged details by hand.

It is not neat and pretty, but it does not have to be for things to work.


This is a view of the study just below the apex of the roof; I imagine a loft with a spare bed would fit in well. The washing facilities are at the far end; I plan to put in a small cooker for coffee and such.

The floor screed goes in early next week after that the glazing and plumbing.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Kuching October Sketch Crawl

This Month's sketch crawl is in conjunction with a walking tour organised by the local Architect's Institute to welcome delegates to the ICOGrada Graphic Design International Conference in Kuching.

image courtesy of the VirtualTourist

We started at the Court House with Peggy in charge, which left me with plenty more time to sketch; even taking stage by stage photos (with Sean's help) to show how to frame first and add details later.