Monday, June 24, 2013

Learning from DATUM KL : 2013

Most years, I look forward to DATUM: KL as an opportunity to refresh my thinking about architecture and design, and to catch with old friends and meet new ones. At this year DATUM it was more useful for the second reason, as most of the speakers failed to deliver the goods. 
Razin's Surau Nusa Idaman
Razin was one of two Malaysian architects speaking this year, he began in a relaxed manner and mentioned Dr. Tan Loke Mun and DNA as memorable examples of earlier Malaysian speakers at DATUM. Although his houses and own studio were good examples of home grown architecture - he did not hit his stride until he talked about his Surau project and by then, he had reached the end of presentation.

Madhura's Royal Bakery in Colombo

Sean and I are familiar with Madhura's project, having met the man and visited his Long House in 2006. I have photos of Sean then 11, jumping up and down on the trampoline in the garden and listening to Madhura brought back good memories.

DCM Indonesia
This type of corporate presentation is the dearth of design conferences, when the entire portfolio of the office is wheeled out and described rather than explained. They seem to be fond of using bright colours to dress up their buildings; their Kindergarten project had similar treatment but still looked like prison albeit a nicely painted one.

OAB - Office of Architecture in Barcelona

Hiroshi Sambuichi
Two of the worthwhile speakers this year were Borja Ferrater and Hiroshi Sambuichi; the Spanish architect spoke for an hour on projects ranging from landscapes to houses to institutional buildings. His scale had scope and diversity unlike DCM's commercial repertoire - he spoke about the importance of 'risk' to test design limits in their projects. I knew about Carlos Ferrater's work (Borja's father) but not the extended family involvement in the practice, which uses small external offices to support them in various stages of larger projects.
The Japanese speaker presented through a translator which slowed the delivery somewhat, but did not dilute the purity and intensity of his buildings; based on transient stages of water, wind and the earth.
Not only good for the people, but for the Earth - was something I remembered from his presentation.


  1. It's amazing to see how you able to came out with these sketches during the conference. Awesome! I wish i could do that too. Need more practice