Sunday, November 24, 2013

there's quite a bit on my plate

Sometimes when I have too many things on my mind - I like to write them down, and sometimes when I have too many things to do all at once - I make a list. Just to see how much trouble I am in, instead of doing the tasks themselves. Some people may call this procrastination but I enjoy the pleasure of striking items off the list when I have done them.
Since making the list, I have transplanted the basil and pruned the guava. We have also bought some chilli plants and put them in our planter box - all this gardening is aimed at growing things we can eat instead of decorative plants.
Since making the list, I have also sketched out Robin's renovation plans and emailed them to him. (see below)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I am very pleased with my time spent in Penang - busy the whole three days that I was there. 

I traveled there with Alfred, Sofia and Eng Hooi - we arrived at noon on Friday just in time to collect our Penang Bridge Marathon race packs, and eat a ChaKuehTiaw lunch at Lorong Selamat before heading to my first task. 

WORK - site meeting to resolve construction issues for the Ramp House, a three-storey house designed as a series of landings connected by ramps and in between these landings is an urban forest designed by Pe Yang. The photo shows the first ramp which is in concrete, the rest will be built in steel and clad in timber.

arrival ramp from entry to dining room
SHARE - on Saturday morning, after a quick hotel breakfast with Alfred and Eng Hooi, I headed to the PAM (Malaysian Architect's Institute) Centre to give a talk titled "do what you like", sharing my thoughts about the sustainability of our profession, doing 'bread and butter' work to support our design 'explorations' which sustain our creative interest and therefore the lifespan of our practice. I also talked about the importance and my enjoyment of working with and nurturing architecture students. Despite the potential seriousness of these issues, you can probably guess from the title that there were many light-hearted moments in my presentation.

I told them the story of the ramp house

It is always enjoyable to give talks in Penang, the venue is intimate and people are genuine and inquisitive. They always take me out for a nice lunch, with good company.

after the talk, I chatted with Ar. Jong, Datin Teng and Ar. Boey
RUN - at 3:30 a.m. Sunday I started my fourth Penang Bridge Half Marathon. It would have been a nice birthday present (the next day) if I had better-ed my personal best of 2:29. But I didn't, and to quote dear Sara after her Additional Math paper, - "it's in the past, I don't want to talk about it".

Penang International Bridge Marathon - I did the Half

For the rest of Sunday, we were 'gallivanting gourmets' Alfred, Eng Hooi, Frances, Larry and I strolled from cultural spot to food destination; sampling history and folklore with chendol and curry noodles (more in upcoming post).

FLY - We took off from Penang at 7:10 a.m. on Monday - I left my sketch book in my luggage which explains why these two sketches are done on the AirAsia barf bags.
Early flight home with fishballs from Ah Chiat, my favourite cab driver in Penang

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Sister Flora wanted a garden shed for the Home Of Peace (HOPE) - so my students and I devised this steel structure for the elderly folks who live there.

11 a.m.

11:30 a.m.
12:00 noon.
Lunch time

1:00 p.m.
3:00 p.m.

3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Patsy from the LoV Gallery wanted the Urban Sketchers Kuching to submit our sketches for her exhibition on 'artists' in Kuching. Reluctant to cut out my sketches I promised her some new originals instead. AS usual, I ran out of time - between work and teaching, running and gardening, spending time with family and playing with my cats, so I decided to combine two of my hobbies. I fold a piece of A3 into my running pouch and bring my Artline pen before I head out for my morning run and while waiting for Sam to meet me for breakfast, I finish a quick sketch of my surroundings.

This might be the beginning of a new routine, there is an efficiency that I dearly need in my life.

Saturday, November 2, 2013


From the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, we move to Sarawak Museum where we are designing a gallery to exhibit the life and work of Alfred Russell Wallace whose theories about evolution pre-date Darwin's.The 'site' is in one wing of the Sarawak Museum and this temporary gallery would last 2-3 years targeted at the general public especially children.
We were interested to explore a different way of exhibiting the artifacts while keeping in view the educational intent, flexibility and cost effectiveness.

We thought to create a series of rooms using his 'moth-nets' as a homage to the man and also to prolong the journey through the relatively small space. The displays will be then printed or mounted on the 'walls' which can be actual fabric or some form of semi-rigid translucent panels.

We will design some new furniture and props to complement the existing cabinets - one of the ideas was to re-create Wallace's jungle room where the moth-nets were used. Wallace's moth-nets were essentially three bedsheets hung like a three sided room with a hurricane lamp in the middle to attract insects which, we then collected

section of the gallery

the 'walls' hover above the ground and sway gently when people walk by

view of the gallery entrance

We made a 1:50 scale cardboard model to convince the client as our scheme was 'not even close to the original brief' and thankfully it worked and our ideas were accepted.