Friday, 5 November 2010

A Malaysian Hand in Edinburgh

Site Images

- Stunning View of Edinburgh Castle
from Grassmarket
- Existing Staircase connecting the site
- Inspiration (Grand landscape)
- View of historical city from top of the site

After analyzing the site, few key responses were made such as:
- Keep the building away from disrupting the amazing view of Edinburgh Castle
- Preserve the accessible part, and utilize the inaccessible side of the site

- Black corrugated metal was chosen as facade material to respond to the grand landscape that holds Edinburgh Castle. However to stand out in the city full of historical buildings, metal is chosen to be used to show the contrast between new and old buildings.
- Inspired and responding to the surrounding landscape, the facade is broken down into fragments imitating the surface of the rock, and be part of the landscape
View from street: steps for people to gather, interact and socialise.

View from the main entrance towards the double volume restaurant with Edinburgh Castle as backdrop.
Double volume was given to the space because it is a space where most people will hangout, eat and enjoy the live band performance.

View from second entrance

- Ramps stretching stretching through the steep slope to provide access
- Irregular width of the ramps to provide pockets of spaces for more activities and interaction
- Ramps also helping to allow people to use the inaccessible space of the site

View from street



I'll be discussing some techniques for your Final Review panels

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

The Last Lecture

Received from Lick Huck--Thanks Bro..

Would like to share it.....

"This is amazing, (Randy Pausch) died of pancreatic cancer in 2008, but wrote a book ‘The last lecture” before then, one of the bestsellers in 2007. What a legacy to leave behind…
In a letter to his wife Jai and his children, Dylan, Logan, and Chloe, he wrote this beautiful "guide to a better life" for his wife and children to follow.
May you be blessed by his insight.



1. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
2. Don't have negative thoughts of things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
3. Don't over do; keep your limits.
4. Don't take yourself so seriously; no one else does.
5. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip.
6. Dream more while you are awake.
7. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need...
8. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner of his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
9. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.
10. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
11. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
12. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn.
Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
13. Smile and laugh more.
14. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.


15. Call your family often.
16. Each day give something good to others.
17. Forgive everyone for everything.
18. Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
19. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
20. What other people think of you is none of your business.
21. Your job will not take care of you when you are sick. Your family and friends will. Stay in touch.


22. Put GOD first in anything and everything that you think, say and do.
23. GOD heals everything.
24. Do the right things.
25. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
26. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
27. The best is yet to come.
28. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
29. When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it.
30. If you know GOD you will always be happy. So, be happy.

While you practice all of the above, share this knowledge with the people you love, people you school with,
people you play with, people you work with and people you live with.
Not only will it enrich YOUR life, but also that of those around you."
(end of email)

Sunday, 3 October 2010

An MSc It Is!

On 1 Oct 2010, after a short Q&A session, the Board of Examiners for Higher Degree, Faculty of Built Environment, University Malaya awarded me the Master of Science (Architecture).

Excerpts from the examiners' reports....

"...this is the first time that a research of this kind (has been) conducted in Malaysia. Its findings constitute a significant contribution towards a knowledge gap in the history and theory of architecture in the country." (Prof. Ezrin Arbi)

"...the candidate has produced an original work with the purpose of establishing a relationship between architects' design preoccupations and architectural excellence. ...the dissertation should be able to stand alone with the qualitative evidence and argument that had been produced for examination." (Dr. Khairul Anwar)

It was a nice birthday present! I am humbled and elated, grateful to God for sustaining me, and most of all thankful to my lovely wife for starting me on it and pushing me on right to the end.

Thanks to everyone who encouraged me in their own special way!

The acknowledgment page in the dissertation reads as follows.

Foremost, I’d like to thank my supervisor, Dr. Naziaty Mohd. Yaacub, for her guidance and encouragement throughout the research, writing and presentation of this dissertation. It was a witty meeting of minds!

I am grateful to my friends and fellow practitioners, Ar Dr Lim Teng Ngiom and Ar Anthony Too for agreeing immediately to my request for pilot survey respondents and for furnishing this research with their thorough and meticulous answers.

My six sample architects deserve my sincere thanks for sharing their time, thoughts, drawings, and, in fact, their life experiences as architects to help illuminate the theoretical path of this investigation. They are, alphabetically: Ar Chester Chen, Ar Hau Woon San, Ar Datuk Kamil Merican, Ar Patrick Ngan, Ar Serrina Hijjas, and Ar Zafar Rozaly.

I am indebted to Professor Ch’ng Chwee Lye (Professor of Public Health, University of Texas) and Dr Veronica Ng (Associate Dean, Taylor’s University) for their insightful comments and leads.

I am also indebted to my research assistants who backed up their hard work with enthusiasm: Billy Chua, Goh Kai Kheng, Zoe Huang, Richard Lee, Ong Meng Jin, and Tang Li Qun.

And most especially, I thank my wife, Jane, and our children, Zoe, Matthew and Mark, for their grace to permit me the space and time to make this possible.

Sunday, 26 September 2010


Following is the abstract from my MSc Dissertation, entitled, DESIGN PREOCCUPATIONS OF PAM AWARD WINNERS IN POST-MILLENNIAL MALAYSIA.

Site Response, Building Program and Appropriate Technology emerged as the top design preoccupations of Malaysian architects in the first decade of the new millennium. This prime research-observation was culled from selected winners of building awards instituted by the Malaysian Board of Architects. The winners were made to answer a list of questions which was structured from preliminary investigations that comprised literature reviews and a pilot survey of the predominant ideas of a couple of distinguished architects who were academician-practitioners (one an award winner himself). The Questionnaire, Interview and Site Observation were primary instruments, and while collected data revealed design approaches and theoretical premises that were varied and dexterous, the commonality, ranking and precedents of design preoccupations were clearly discernible. Samples included an eco-friendly interpretive center in the equatorial forest, a complex street mall in a provincial town, and a showroom for luxury condominiums in the city suburbs. The research suggests that there is a strong case for a theory that Site Response, Building Program and Appropriate Technology are prerequisites that anchor an architect’s exploration of personal design preoccupations in the pursuit of excellence; and concludes with a set of recommendations for sharpening the process of design, assessment and review. Design architects and the profession in Malaysia are the main targeted beneficiaries. While the research, completed in 2010, was subject-centric—investigating the point of view of the sample architects—the researcher capitalized on his own experience of 20 years in private practice, and 4 years in simultaneous teaching.

- July 2010

Thursday, 23 September 2010


(Latest Update, 30 Sept 2010: We welcome Sam Chia Her Sheng and Jeevitha Manimoly to our Unit, and bid farewell to Julia Joanna who had to accommodate her other classes. Names added below...)

Here we go again--one more Unit for the last run.... before we all set off on the new seasons in our lives... (mine will be in the southern hemisphere.)

A Warm Welcome to the following who've landed in my Unit in Dipl Studio 4:




We have only 7 weeks to ace everything. Be prepared to work unusually hard (Yes, Jacky, Oh God...), try the untried, with your feet firmly planted on Design Preoccupations of Post Millennial Malaysian Architects.

We should be able to do it if we start yesterday.

See you all on Tuesday!

Friday, 10 September 2010

Tuesday, 31 August 2010


(Updated note, 10 Sept: Nothwithstanding the blurp below,
the trip is now
17-20 Sept @ RM1,100

Join the Taylor's SABD trip to Ho Chi Minh City!

(That's Saigon, Vietnam, for some of us...)

It's about Architecture...

It's about F O O D ..... :)

. . . with your friends . . .

Tutors of Studio 4 are right this moment finalizing the trip with the travel agents! Obviously we are trying our level best to keep the cost alap. Depending on availability of places, and the now fast increasing response, the trip will be
23-26 SEPT (4D 3N) at approx RM1200,

23-25 SEPT (3D 2N) at approx RM999

We will decide on ONE option once your feedback (and the agent's full investigations) are received.

Places are limited! So please indicate your interest by
contacting Alina Choong or Keith Tan by Thursday 2 Sept 2010.

The itinerary (being planned by Alina and Keith right now!) will center on

It will include a visit to the architectural office of the American firm, O2, to check out the workings of expats exploring insertions into an Asian context.

Obviously there will be plenty of attempts at feasting on the architectural (and culinary) heritage of that rich, and once-troubled, city.

Take a Break - Go Vietnam !

Pic 1, 4, 5, from the website of O2
Pic 6 & 7 shows halal Ho Chi Minh (google images ho chi minh food)
Pic 3 (google images ho chi minh food)
Pic 2 from.....
World's Best Street Food

by JJ Goode


The dish: Banh mi

Where to find the best: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Word on the street: It takes almost no time for the peddler who sets up her tiny cart and knee-high charcoal brazier every weekday at 5 pm at 37 Nguyen Trai Street (in District 1) to turn you into a banh mi lover. As soon as you order, she swiftly assembles a sandwich that, despite its colonial French exterior (a stubby baguettelike loaf), is Vietnamese through and through. Peel back the newspaper wrapper and bite: Your teeth crash through the bread (a touch of rice flour makes it exceptionally crispy) and into still-warm morsels of grilled pork, a crunchy spear of cucumber, sweet-tangy shreds of pickled carrot and daikon, cilantro, and a smear of Vietnamese mayo. Add a squirt of hot sauce, and this might be the best sandwich you've ever had. Or at least the best one you've ever had for 30 cents.

( Accessed 31.8.10)

Pic 8 from ....

Eco Factor: Sustainable residential community with green roofs and sky gardens.

Vietnam-based architecture firm DWP Architects has unveiled the designs of the “Everrich 2,” a new residential community under construction in District 7, Ho Chi Minh City. The 630,000-sqm complex will have 3100 apartment units ranging from 120 to 250 sqm each, with two floors of mixed retail and public space on the ground level.

( Accessed 31.8.10)

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Dip. Studio 3 - mosque

Idea of the mosque as an urban sanctuary space, a natural environment in an urban context. The sanctuary space is essentially a prayer hall which is a big open space open to nature, providing a small temporary solace from daily activity and spending some time to pray.
Street Façade: Exploring the transition to the internal sanctuary. The journey begins from outside street/pedestrian continouing to internal space. The trellis/louvres provide glimpses of inside space. Monolithic walls which stand out in the streetscape as an imposing structure attracts people to explore which also have gaps between the walls providing glimpses of interior space. The exploration of the space continues to a ramp.
The trellises providing shade also starting that transition to place of worship, starting the separation from the street . The walls and trees act as visual seperation. Trellis providing light and shade on main circulation space. The Sanctuary space which is the prayer hall is essentially a big pavillion space open to nature.
The whole architecture explores the closed internal space. Where tall, monolithic imposing façade expresses a solid mass impression from the outside, but a large open space on the inside. The sense of scale progress from a human scale entrance to a heroic scale on the sanctuary space.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Dip. Studio 3 - A hindu temple Project

Hinduism believes in the Duality of Existence,as the fundamental concept of the religion. Hinduism has a diverse system if thoughts with beliefs in both Pantheism and Panantheism. Where one believes that "God is Whole" and another believes that "The Whole is in God". They believes in multiple truth,instead of individual philosophy. And they are given the freedom to worship whichever deities they believe in, at the same time worshiping the one ultimate supreme being, Brahman, and also the religion as a whole.

The temple adapts the idea of the duality of existence.At one point, the temple act as a gathering space, where the Hindus gather and together they achieve a singular consensus of the religion as a whole. And at one point, the temple act as a space where the devotees find closure, and a direct exclusive contact between them and the deities. Traveling from one space to another, the user experiences a transitional journey, as an individual and as a part of the community. Like two drops of water on water, the wave ripples and interferes each other harmoniously.

The vehicular and pedestrian approach to the site creates an interesting relationship, by placing the temple at the contour. A stop-n-go motion for the vehicular and an extended walkway that leads the pedestrian to the site and into the temple.
Staircase leads the visitor down to the lobby, garland booth/information area can be found on the way.

Main lobby area, an area for community activities and celebration, also a space for the chariot to be placed, partially sheltered by the corridor above. The colorful glass panels on the wall suggests a direction, leading the devotees to the main praying hall.

The main intention of the praying hall is to provide every single devotees the freedom to worship and express towards the specific deity they believes in. As every deity has a specific orientation they faces, a wide centric space is designed where the statues of the deities are placed in the suspended structure in the middle based on their orientation, and every devotees will pray towards the center, directly to the deity, and indirectly to the structure.
In micro the structure acts as an collective statue where the devotees pray to and find exclusive closure.
In macro the structure acts as an icon, a direction, like the Gopuram structure in every hindu temple.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

A Mosque in Nature by Shazwi

Studio 3 Dip Final Presentation : A Mosque in Nature

Final presentation board

The idea is to make use of the nature as an element to make worshipper closer to their Creator. As they admiring the beauty of the surrounding, they will admire the power of the Creator that creates all the creature on this earth.

By taking advantage of the vegetation of the site, the form surrounds the nature and open towards the environment.

Stairway going to prayer hall (upper level) from the entrance

Ablution area and shoe rack

Prayer Hall

Nature creates spatial experience and becomes the ornament that decorates the transparent wall of the mosque.

Some of the facilities at lower level (Top: Cafeteria, Bottom Left: Female Toilet/ Ablution, Bottom Right: Imam's Apartment)

This mosque is actually designed to bring back the basic functionality and simplicity value of a mosque.