Friday, June 17, 2016

Shang Hai Ren Building By Bjarke Ingels

Architecture in China never ceases to amaze us—case in point—the REN Building. Copenhagen’s Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) proposed this eye-catching design over a year ago to coincide with Shanghai’s “Better City, Better Life” 2010 World Expo . The building takes its form from the Chinese character for person 人 (”ren”) and combines two buildings (one symbolic of mind and the other symbolic of body). We love the poetic inspiration that reflects both site and cultural sensitivity.

“The first building, emerging from the water, is devoted to the activities of the body, and houses the sports and water culture center. The second building emerging from land, is devoted to the spirit and enlightenment, and houses the conference center and meeting facilities. The two buildings meet in a 1000 room hotel, a building for living.”

It’ll be exciting to see if the plans for the project are approved. Check out more views and an animated fly-through of the project below.

Dilemma in urban planning

Sub-urbanism or New-urbanism(old urbanism)?

The by product of sub-urbanism, negative spaces, mislocation of resources and most of all TIME.

New urbanism on the other hand couldn't provide adequate of positive space. Time or Space? can we somehow get a balance between 2 by technology? or by creative urban planning and design? can compact city give amber of space and time? Or, can the ecology system cater the population growth?

When architects are focusing on carving the art of buildings, how many are attending to the solution for population, economy, time and space.

will there be a module or formula to form a guideline for the future development?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tokyo Olympic Stadium 2020 Huge Helmert in Town


Zaha Hadid has been asked to redesign her winning proposal for the new Tokyo National Olympic Stadium due to its high cost and enormous size. Although the 80,000-seat stadium was approved by the country’s government six months ago, Japan’s sports minister Hakubum Shimomura has asked the architect to downsize the project in order to better suit the urban context in which it will be built.

Read more: Zaha Hadid's Spaceship-Like Olympic Stadium in Tokyo May Be Scaled Down | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building

Zaha Hadid beat out high-profile architects such as SANAA, Toyo Ito and Azusa Sekkei when she won the competition for the Stadium back in November 2012 with a futuristic stadium that will not only derive some of its energy from geothermal sources, but also harvest and recycle rainwater. The new National Stadium will be located in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park, near Kenzo Tange’s 1964 Olympic Stadium.

Earlier this month Japanese architects including Fumihiko Maki, Toyo Ito, Sou Fujimoto and Kengo Kuma organized a symposium that called for the project to be scaled down and adjusted to better fit the site’s urban scale. The architects expressed their concern over the impact of such a huge development, though they carefully stressed that their intervention is not a personal attack on Hadid. Minister Hakubum Shimomura said that the 300 billion yen ($3 billion) budget for the construction is too massive and agreed that the design needs to be revisited to better fit existing urban conditions.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Tunnel-Shape Market Hall

Rotterdam’s new Market Hall creates a 100,000 sq meter public market space covered in an arch of ten floors of 228 apartments. Of those apartments, the majority will be for purchase, but 102 of them will be available as rental properties. The bottom two floors will house restaurants and shopping, while underground, there will be a supermarket as well as a parking garage with 1,200 spaces. The archway will be protected from the elements on the front and back by flexible suspended glass facades.

The design for the Market Hall is a result of new laws from the Netherlands that require public markets to be covered, and also that certain rooms for a residential dwelling must have natural daylight. Each apartment is situated so that rooms and living spaces are situated on the exterior of the archway with views out to the city, while the kitchen, dining and storage is on the interior, with lots of insulation to block the noise from the bustling market below. One hundred stalls will be available for the sale of fresh foods daily and the interior surface of the archway will feature changing pictures projected from LCD screens.

It’s so exciting to see a great mixed-use project like this actually get started and will be even more exciting to see the end result. Hopefully there are a few of these apartments available for vacation rentals and we can stay there when we visit Rotterdam.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Making an O-gui (tortoise) pond.

When a standard aquarium can no longer sustain the growth of my 3 pet tortoises, making a bigger habitat for them is necessary. With 4 years experiences in architecture study and 5.5 months of work practice in local award-winning architecture firm, I gained enough courage to design and build a habitat for these 3 living creatures. I gathered a team of 3 to carry out this project, Han – a civil engineering student, Wei – an international economics fresh graduates, and me – the archi student.

The Brief and Site

Though this project is small, it was never easy even during the design stage. Firstly, an in-depth study into the ‘client’ is important especially when the ‘client’ can’t explain what it needs. From daily observation and some wiki-research, the conclusion for the project brief is like this:

1.) A favourable swimming area approximately 1 metre in width and 1 metre in length, with about 1 foot depth.

2.) Adequate dry area for sun-bathing activities.

Making a pond at the garden will be a disaster if it looks ugly. Failure in the design of the pond would make my parents question their investment on my studies, and would tarnish my pride as an architecture student. And so, I started carefully with a site analysis identifying the site which is only exposed to direct sun-light in the morning (7.30am to 10.00am) to avoid over-heating from tropical climate. Besides, the site would become a focus point for visitors. The pond will become a sculptural element that welcomes the arrival of guests.

Texture and Colour

In order to make the pond shine out in the surrounding vegetation yet give a sense of belonging to the surrounding nature, rough and stone-like texture was the decision. In addition to this point, the brownish grey colour of the pond is in contrast to the green surrounding making it hard to ignore. A layer of aggregates lying on the ground crafting the changes in texture is to bridge the raised pond to the soft turf.

The form and its philosophy

Like many functionists’ design, the pond was started with a rectangular block where the simplest and experimented building techniques are applicable. However, such simplicity renders the new generation of engineering students jobless. I proposed to create a post-modern architectural sculpture emphasizing on inconsistency, irregularity, and most importantly celebrating individuality and deconstructivist for the pond. Part of the pond is elevated for the purpose of experimenting pre-cast slab and the controlled ‘ruin’ in structure. Han, the engineer-student proposed 3 column points and using ‘bbq net’ for the reinforcement, less aggregates in the thin slab (50mm) to achieve the ‘ruin’. The result proved that his calculation was perfect.


From this project – making an O-gui pond, I realized that architecture is about making artwork for one’s pleasure. It is not necessary a discourse for grand narrative like many modern buildings, but it is necessary for architecture to be a story – narrating the man, site and structure.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Architecture Students don really appreciate their uni life!

If you are architecture students you've probably experienced:
-the taste of wood glue
-changes in your vocabulary: homework to project, ball to sphere, etc
-you don't understand how somebody can spend less than $20 at the supplies store
-you hate people telling you "go to sleep" or "do you still have a lot of work?"
-your friends and you don't have the same concept of work "oh, well do it right before class"
-you've slept more than 20 straight hours on weekends
-you can easily discuss with authority the effects of caffeine on different drinks
-no matter the effort you put in a project, somebody will always say “why don’t you add this�? or “why don’t you change this here�? or “i think that…but…yeah, its ok�?
-you’ve heard all your ipod songs in a week
-you aren’t seen in public without bags under your eyes
-whenever you get invited somewhere, it is followed by “or do you have a lot of homework?�?
-you’ll dance ymca with a choreography without a drop of alcohol in your system
-you write down a quick message with rapidographs, lead holders, markers and ink
-you constantly make up excuses for courses that are not design related why you didn’t do your work
-you have more pictures of landscapes and places than of people
-your worst nightmare consists of not finishing a project
-someone once called you “lazy�? and you wanted them murdered
-you can live without human contact, sunlight, food, but if your plotter’s ink runs out… chaos!!!
-when somebody lends you a Bic pen you look down at it
-you don’t care about sports cars, your favorite car is the one where you can put in your model and your huge computer
-you design spectacular things without the idea of the cost
-you have the modern mark: a blister in your palm’s hand for the constant use of your mouse
-everybody tells you how they admire your work, “but there is no money for it�?
-you’ve gained the ability to sleep in whatever surface: pencils, keyboards, backpacks, your studio mates, food, etc
-you always have the idea that your project will always be recognized
-when you finally have free time to go out you keep thinking “who was the idiot that designed the restaurant’s bathroom?�? “who designed this menu?�? or “who designed this [chair, table, lighting, fork, etc]�?
-you've been at many sunrises, yet you've never seen one
-you need to read all this in a facebook group to realize how weird your life is

Branko Stankovic & Jason McGee posted this... I thought it was awesome!

top 10 reasons why to date an architect

1. all night long, all night strong.
2. we are damn good with our hands.
3. if we can commit to chipboard, relationships should be easy.
4. you should see the things we errect.
5. use to doing things over and over again.
6. finishing early never happenes.
7. we know the true meaning of interpretation
8. creative positioning.
9. work well in groups
10. entry and passage are always exciting.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Past In the Present

Part 1

Modernism or known as international style after 1940s, contributes to the death of
identities, history and social lifestyle of a nation in architecture. Modern houses look similar
from all over the world, thus the culture and identities of different regions and nations are
hardly to be seen in modern buildings.
On the other hand, traditional architecture is speaking for one nation about its culture,
climate, and social lifestyle. For instance, pitch roofs tell about tropical climate and courtyard
let know the social lifestyle. Traditional means the norms we been practicing in a long time. It is
the style of living been passing from one generation to another. In short, it is the root of us.
In addition, poetic in space is lacking in modernism because the structures, spaces and
form have no relation to our root. It is just like something imported from Europe that is totally
no connection to our national identities, history and lifestyle and therefore modern
architecture does not touches ones heart. However, traditional architecture would have the
trail of culture, history and identities of a nation that modern architecture does not have.
Unlike the modern houses, the traditional courtyard house integrated with “Feng Shui”
elements makes the place full of stories and that is the poetic in space.
Modernism style emphasizes on clean lines and simple forms that create a new kind of
aesthetic which is not responding to the local climate. Thus, the building will need active system
to achieve comfort. For example, as tropical climate has high density of rain water, flat roof in
modernism does not keep away rain water causes big issue of water leaking into the building. In
another word, it cost more to sustain a modern building compare to sustaining a traditional
However, there are several strengths in modern architecture that can be learned and
integrated into traditional architecture to extend its limitation. For instance the technologies in
modernism allow larger scale buildings, and shorter period for construction. Therefore, we
should allow modernism to integrate into traditional architecture and lets traditional
architecture keep evolving to conserve the nation’s identities, history and social lifestyle.

Part II
The identity of traditional architecture in Malaysia is the responsive to climate features.
For example, cross ventilation to remove heat and high pitch roof to drain rainwater quicker. In
addition, another identity of traditional architecture is the local materials like timber, brick and
concrete. However, presently modern materials such as steel and glass are to be seen
1.0 Reinvigorating Tradition
Reinvigorating tradition is defined as injecting new life and meaning in to traditional
architecture. Take the example of The Aryani Resort at Terengganu, designed by Senibahri
Arkitek, of injecting new life to traditional architecture.
The concept of Aryani Resort is to create a traditional Malay Kampong environment for
tourist to have the chance for celebrating the traditional architecture and knowing our national
identities, history and social lifestyle. The resort is likely a traditional kampong but different
events in it. This is to be said as turning a village layout into commercial purposes (tourism).
The essence of Malay Kampong layout can be seen in the central courtyard which
resembles the community space in a Malay Kampong layout. This courtyard is the core of the
resort where facility like swimming pool. That becomes the spot of gathering of this community
especially where this is the place for events such as traditional performances and recreational
(Figure 1 The central courtyard, Architecture Malaysia “Hotels & Resorts” 2006)
Aryani Resort comprises 20 rooms with 4 types villas to enhance the ambience of
traditional Malay Kampong. These villas are designed based on traditional style of Malay House
not only for the exterior look but also for the interior spaces for instance double volume space
for the ventilation purposes is the essence of traditional Malay houses.
(Figure 2 Exterior look of the Villa, Architecture Malaysia “Hotels & Resorts” 2006)
In conclusion, the architect breathes life into traditional architecture by adding new
meaning to it. Like Aryani Resort, put tourism, the new meaning into a traditional village.
2.0 Reinventing Tradition
Reinventing Tradition means to use a new language or style to present the essence of
traditional architecture. Dr Ken Yeang’s Roof‐roof house gives an example on reinventing
Roof roof house by Dr Ken Yeang presents the essence of Tradition that is responding to
local climate in the form of modern style. This approach can be seen in the layout planning
where its north‐south orientation protects the major space such as living area from the tropical
sun. Besides, the configuration of the space allow for the prevailing Southeast to Northwest
wind passing through and cool down the interior spaces.
(Figure 3 Section of Roof‐roof House explaining the responding climate features,
Kenneth Yeang 1984)
(Figure 4 Roof‐roof house prevailing winds diagram explains cross ventilation approach in
design, Kenneth Yeang 1984)
In another words, Roof‐roof house has the essence of a traditional architecture in a
modern building. The essence is the passive climatic features such as the cross ventilation and
configuration of spaces to avoid heating by the sun.
3.0 Extending Tradition
Extending Tradition is modifying traditional architecture to create additional meaning to
it. Kok’s Bungalow by GDP architects is an example of extending tradition.
The concept of blurred boundaries between indoor and outdoor is extended from
traditional Malay house can be seen in Kok’s Bungalow. The inner courtyard is adding blur to
the feeling of indoor and outdoor. 3
(Figure 5 Kok’s Bungalow‐the wide opening and inner courtyard, Architecture Malaysia
“PAM Award” 2006)
Deriving from traditional Malay houses, wide openings are to be seen in Kok’s Bungalow.
The folding glass wall allows for full ventilation to respond local climate. This is an obvious
evidence of extending the ventilation system in traditional Malay houses.
The courtyard is clearly the modifying of traditional Chinese courtyard house. There is a
small pond in the middle of the courtyard is functioning as an cooling agent to the house. The
courtyard brought in the sun light and rain water. More than that, it brings life to the plants
inside the courtyard.
In conclusion, Kok’s Bungalow has modified traditional architecture to suit into the
contemporary living while maintain the essence of it.
4.0 Reinterpreting Tradition
Reinterpreting Tradition means the integration of traditional elements into
contemporary style. Wooi’s Architect shows an example of reinterpreting tradition through the
selection of materials in Wooi’s Residence at Shah Alam.
Wooi’s Architect selected the 3 main traditional materials like brick, timber and
concrete added with modern glasses to extend tradition. The integration of brick piers and
diagonal timber struts that looks familiar is forming the sense of tradition to the house. Besides,
these diagonal timber struts supporting the cantilevered protruding first floor.
(Figure 6 Front View of Wooi’s Residence, Architecture Malaysia “Architects’ Homes” 2006)
The skins of Wooi’s Residence keep reminding the presence of traditional in the house.
For instance, the un‐plastered brick wall, timber ceiling with the exposing rafter seems like
talking the story of our tradition. Although Wooi’s Residence has the contemporary layout, its
skins still
(Left Figure 7 Bricks finishes at the entertainment area. Architecture Malaysia “Hotels & Resorts”
(Right Figure 8 Timber Ceiling with Roof Rafter exposing, Architecture Malaysia “Hotels &
Resorts” 2006)
In conclusion, Wooi’s Architect is integrating traditional materials into contemporary
building. The integration of traditional and contemporary tell stories of traditions for the next
(Figure 9 Traditional Materials in Contemporary Building,
Architecture Malaysia “Hotels & Resorts” 2006)
Reference List
AM, Architecture Malaysia “ Architects’ Homes”. 2006 p.27‐29
AM, Architecture Malaysia “Hotels & Resorts”. 2006 p. 48‐49
AM, Architecture Malaysia “PAM Award” 2006 p.21‐23
“Roof‐roof House” 2006. Retrieved on 8 April 2007, at