Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas present

 My Christmas present arrived by plane from KL

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

House Keeping

Sara's sketch of Mikey on the cover
Almost the end of another year, coinciding nicely with the completion of my trusty scribbling pad; one inch thick (and one year long) of unbleached slightly coarse paper, a trove of ideas and promises - some kept, other forgotten (until now).

Here is a cross section of what is inside -

some explanatory 'notes' for the builder 
single storey link between the family home and children's new house

(top) screen doors for the ramp house entry (bottom) breakfast venue earlier that same morning
formatting the local architects' newsletter INTERSECTION for Hui Joo
Here is the link -

folded steel stairs

possibilities for handrail

steel screen for a west wall of a house

internal railing to stop small children from falling out of the second storey window

front gate post + house number + mail-box

floor junction details

sharing ideas for a house with Peng Hui

'minutes' of meeting for a detached house

sharing ideas about an extended family house

sharing ideas with the extended family, and modifying layouts

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

In-flight Entertainment

Flying AirAsia from Kuching to Penang meant no in-flight entertainment - plenty of time to do some work then. PH and I met a client a week ago and we chatted about the design of his house - the following sketches are the "minutes of meeting". I will send this to the client to record our points of agreement and some suggestions for the points on which we dis-agreed.

working out the scale of spaces on the left before setting out for real on the right

The sketches are done with an Artline pen on recycled palm-paper (I like its tooth and off-white colour) and washed with watercolours.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Thursday, November 3, 2016


Sunday, October 30, 2016


I have heard so much about this little town with its hills and its lake, that I decided to take a slow trip home from our site meeting in Penang and visit Taiping.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Monday, October 17, 2016

Friday, October 14, 2016


This is a photo of my mother with her first born: me.

I'm guessing that the photo was taken in 1965. Shortly after that my parents moved to Sibu, where my father was stationed as part of the Special Branch of the RMP - Royal Malaysian Police (now Polis Di_Raja Malaysia). They stayed in Sibu for 5 years, during which time I lived with my grandparents. I remembered living there until my Primary School days (1971-2). As a result, I have fonder childhood memories of my grandmother and the times in her rambling brick and timber house on a hill off Tabuan Road.

I rememberr the long gravel driveway uphill lined with fruit trees

The double storey house has a lower floor built in brick, I remember playing on the swings underneath the first florr which was built in timber.

Fiery temper but generous to a fault

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Sunday, September 25, 2016

World Architecture Day Kuching

Here is the link to a highlight video showing the design workshop - please share.
WAD 6.0 - Highlight

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Visions of me

These different vignettes of me remind me of the various roles we (can) play in our daily lives, just by doing the things we do at work, at home and at rest. Sometimes the roles intertwine and the younger employees or interns become our borrowed children - fostered for a year or 6 months. And like our own children, they can infuriate us as much as they delight us with their 'unexpected' thoughtfulness. Nonetheless, they enrich our lives as how we try to enrich theirs.

In the past 6 months, I have become more certain of what I am able to do to enrich the lives of those under my care.

Friday, September 9, 2016


I sometimes sneak an early run to the office; get in 6 km before dawn. Then sneak in a few hours to start a conversation with a floor plan, or to end one with some construction details, or something in between. Something constructive...

But most times something gets in the way; someone calling for breakfast, playing with the office cats or like last Sunday - thinking about stuff..
...thinking about MW's new house which he hasn't even bought. But thinking about it seemed more interesting and important than the "paying" jobs - this is the result. The result of an hour of putting things off. Half way through my sketches reminded me of a building I visited with Sam in Madrid - the Caxia Forum. Herzog added to the existing building with an inverted silhouette of itself, built in aged steel perhaps to reflect its former brick walls. In this building, the lowest floor is carved out to allow the street to come into the building and give the massive block an appearance of floating.

(added later)
When MW found out about this blog entry, he asked if the title was a dig at him. I said no, and realised that his reaction was from knowing the sarcastic me. I told him that I was referring to myself - putting off real work for imagined work. I them added - it could well have applied to him, seeing how long he has taken to decide on buying a house...

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Time on my hands

 I drew these sketches of Fort Magherita for Friends of the Sarawak Museum (FOSM). They were going to use them for their launching of the new Brooke Gallery, I was very busy yet quietly flattered. * Incidentally - I also learnt that the fort was named after Charles Vyner Brooke's wife, Margaret.

So, I put to practice what I tell my interns and colleagues - meet the date line first by putting something in. Book the place, get the conversation started (or going) and then if you're able - improve on the original item. And keep the conversation going again after that. That method of meeting date lines helped me get through architecture school relatively stress-free.

Several days after sending in the above sketches, I found myself with some time on my hands. A rare occasion. Which I put to good use by applying ink and wash over the original sketches. It brings out the forms a bit better and I like how the wash blurs the hard lines of the ball point pen.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Lantern Hotel

a retrospective sketch of our dinner venue
We had difficulty deciding where to have dinner after attending a talk at the Woods Bagot Aged Care presentation. I suspect we were all (the 3 men) trying desperately to think of a venue nearby that is nice and comfortable for HL.  While we were shuffling our feet and not coming up with ideas - HL decided for us, she said '..I want to eat Hokkien Cha..'

Which explains the sketch above - next to a drain and in an alley near Petaling Street, the noodles were ok, the company good and the conversation better. And that's the important thing, isn't it?

'..the pork crackling on our noodles is collagen, not fat..'

view from my breakfast terrace at the Lantern Hotel
Later that night, I checked into the Lantern Hotel on Petaling Street. We heard that it has been extensively published, so decided to have a look-see. For a RM 100, the rooms are clean but small; the LWC walls are neat but thin; the support spaces innovative but the staff indifferent; the breakfast basic but the coffee Illy; the streets nearby lively but smelly.

my breakfast terrace - photo courtesy of Grace Teoh

the main atrium is lit from a sky-light

According to the architect, the emphasis on natural lighting and ventilation meant that all the 'public' and circulation spaces faced outwards, while the air-conditioned guestrooms face the internal courtyard. As a result, the rooms do not have an outside view. This was compensated by the 'public' spaces, with their cafe tables, and reading niches, very much like the busy street below.