Monday, June 11, 2012

PAM Awards 2012

conceptual site layout
sketch section
Years ago, we did a proposal for an office building in Bintulu - four storeys with a linear floor plan orientated north-south and communal spaces built in every floor. We planned to re-use some existing structures and connect them to the new building so that they have a dialogue and also to retain the site's personal history. The other existing buildings are demolished and in their footprint, we planted a communal tree court and plaza.

front elevation

entrance lobby

In July last year the project was completed, and last Friday - during the PAM* Awards presentation; our building won Silver award in the Commercial category. There was plenty to be happy about, as this project had more than its fair share of problems, and this is the 7th year running that our firm had won a prize at the PAM Awards. 

After the ceremony, I got to thinking that if this happened again next year and I am sure it will, I mightn't attend. There is little doubt that this recognition by our peers in the industry is important and it has given us the 'cred' that got us some new work in the recent years. But it is not giving me the satisfaction that I used to get out of it, which got me thinking about what gives me satisfaction in my work. Which got me listing the different levels of satisfaction that I derive from my work; a well resolved scheme, its' acceptance by the client, seeing my projects published, the list goes on. 

Since moving to our new premises, my work life has improved proportionately with the larger and more conducive space; making it easier to have a sense of community or family. (It is not a bed of roses all the time though, there are so many different characters at DNA that we are more akin to the cast of a sit-com than a family.)   

And then I realised that I am feel most satisfied and rewarded when working with the young students and interns in the office; several dozen go through our studio every year; some for as long as a year and others for a short as a week. They keep me going on a daily basis; organising a balance of work and assignments, portfolios, cardboard models, group work, site measurement, design discussions, sketch-crawls, talks; yes, it feels like a chore at times but we seem to learn from each other. I want to be a spokesperson for this profession that has been so good to me and my family. This is more meaningful in the long run and will impact more people than 'podium' finishes at the National Design Awards. 

Perhaps this is a sign that I am growing up... ..


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