John Wardle

"To each project, irrespective of type, we bring an interest in the personal and collective histor...

Vo Trong Nghia

"In areas with many rocks I will design works with stone; in areas with pretty coloured clay I will...

Gregory Burgess

"In a way our buildings are ourselves. Their gestures to the world reflect our human responsiveness...

David Salmela

"Design is about making great things happen in any situation, regardless of the constraints.” A...

Jun Aoki

"Selves are nothing more than chains of accidental occurrences." Architect: Jun Aoki Project:...

  • John Wardle

    Sunday, 01 December 2013 00:00
  • Vo Trong Nghia

    Friday, 25 January 2013 00:00
  • Gregory Burgess

    Thursday, 13 December 2012 00:00
  • David Salmela

    Wednesday, 17 October 2012 00:00
  • Jun Aoki

    Thursday, 20 September 2012 00:00

Sayings Worth Quoting, Quotations Worth Sharing

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"Design is to produce a design to design a design."

-- John Heskett, American design historian.

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What defies defining, but exists everywhere?

By Alice Rawsthorn

LONDON: What is design? It's a seemingly simple question, that's very hard to answer. Think about it, and you'll realize why.

The word itself has several uses. It's a verb and a noun, which can mean design as in the practice of design, but also the process of doing it, as well as the end-result. Confused? No wonder. A sentence coined by...>>> Read More

 
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"How much of your history should you hold onto, and how much should you leave behind?"

--

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Many would anticipate that the 2008 Beijing Olympics will go down in history as the most watched Olympics ever aired. The television coverage of the opening ceremony itself was the most viewed ever on global television networks. With millions of viewers tuned in to watch the astounding fireworks burst into the night sky amidst the backdrop of the iconic Bird’s Nest stadium – although it was faked for TV coverage – it is apt to say that the Bird’s Nest was also the most watched architectural masterpiece in history on a single night!

Bird's Nest - (Photo source: kenyee, Flickr.com)

Cube - (Photo source: chrissuderman, Flickr.com)

Long after the game is gone, millions of tourists would flock to the city in drove allowing themselves to be mesmerized by the Beijing Olympics architecture. Though the Cube and the Bird’s Nest are built for a specific reason, their raison d'etre will exist beyond its utilitarian function: they will become a monumental statement and an architectural emblem of the nation’s prowess. However, in every gain, there is a loss as the saying goes.

Beijing's Hutong - (Photo source: Ian Masterson)

For the past 20 years, more than 2 million people have been displaced from their homes to give way for the Olympic Games: three quarters of the displaced people were in China. Soon, the hutongs of Beijing will disappear with modernization. Its fate now lies in an invisible “Hand” – to borrow the term from Michael Meyer’s latest book, "The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed." Is this the price to pay for development in the name of modernization?

 
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"It was and is remarkable to me to see that one month of Measured Drawing is able to achieve what decades of national education and years of National Service seemed to have failed to deliver..."

-- Prof Dr Mohamad Tajuddin

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Measure a building, understand a culture

ARCHITECTURE INSIDE OUT
By Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad Rasdi

AFTER more than half a century of Merdeka, we are still calling for racial tolerance and unity.

In response to those calls, perhaps, the Government instituted, among other efforts, the National Service (in 2003) to forge – or rather, force – this racial unity. I do not know what other Malaysians think, but my simple and informal research into and conversations with those who have attended these camps reveals little progress. And let’s not forget those deaths that took place in National Service camps. >>> Read More

 
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"The construction process is no longer linear and it no longer proceeds solely from the bottom up."

 

-- Stephen Kieren and James Timberlake, "Refabricating Architecture: How Manufacturing Methodologies are Poised to Transform Building Construction."

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If we were to compare the current state of technology or the state of affairs with the advances in the design and fabrication of cars, airplanes, and ships, the architectural industry seems to be trailing behind these respective industries, as far as project factors of time/cost/quality are concerned. The latter manage to reduce the fabrication times along with production cost and waste without compromising the quality; constantly embracing change in an ever-demanding market by extending the act of design beyond the assembly line.

While the architectural industry has grown ever more wasteful and environmental unfriendly, the engineering industry has succeeded in blurring the boundaries between thinkers and makers - seamlessly integrating substance with intent. That makes me wonder: Why isn’t architecture susceptible to transformation and progress?; Why are we still putting aesthetics above anything else?

Mean time, MoMA is currently holding an exhibition entitled, Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling.”

Richard and Su Rogers. Zip-Up Enclosures No. 1 and 2, 1968-71 Model. On behalf of Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners. (Image source: Slate.com)

Recommended reading: Instant House - Would you buy a home that was made in a factory? By Witold Rybcznski.

 
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Chinese art market in a bubble?

By Johnni Wong

Multi-million US dollar prices for contemporary Chinese art by superstar artists like Zhang Xiaogang,Yue Minjun and Zeng Fanzhi are unlikely to crash but emerging artists may find their works tougher to command higher prices. >>> Read More

 


 

Yue Minjun is a familiar name in the art world. His works, mostly oil paintings, are easily recognized at a glance and his paintings are perhaps the most recognizable image in contemporary Chinese painting.

Human figures with broad laughter on their face - his notable signature - are a self-reflection of himself in various settings.

(Image source: Arario Gallery)

PS - An art museum dedicated to Yue Minjun's works is currently being built in Sichuan Province, China (an earthquake in May has taken a toll of hundreds of thousands of its inhabitants). The oblong sphere-like structure is the brainchild of the Beijing-based architect, Pei Zhu. The museum once completed,will be a technological feat par excellence however as far as its derivation of concept is concerned, it just fall shorts of expectation!

 
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(Photo source: Ed Chew)

Though petrol price has soared to the highest level, we have yet to see the downside of the hike. But signs of an impending slowing economy and rising inflation began to dominate the construction scene. The photo above is a testament of the effect of political and economical uncertainties plaguing our country of late. Construction works at the site came to a halt for the past 2 weeks and workers were seen moving out from the site in throng. With price fluctuation of raw materials in the market – MYR 4,200 per tonne* – of late, no contractor would dare to tender for jobs, if they do, it is akin to performing a hara-kiri.

By the way, the haze is back!

* Steel price was MYR 3,000 per tonne a month ago.

 
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Quoting Eli Broad, a businessman-turned-philanthropist:

“I like to say that cities and civilizations are not remembered for their businesspeople, lawyers, and accountants. But you sure remember the artists and architects—and the architecture.”

A well-respected profession we are indeed and one of the few professions that would leave a concrete legacy for the future generations. Don't you think that we are the envy of the many?

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Ultimate Collector

Eli Broad wields his vast fortune like a blunt instrument—buying art, hiring architects, and shaping L.A. through a mix of civic vision and force of will.

By Jade Chang

“A building is a portrait of the person you’re working with,” says Renzo Piano, who has designed enough world-class museums for exacting clients to qualify as an expert on billionaires. “When I made the Beyeler in Basel, that is a portrait of Ernst Beyeler. When I made the Menil Collection in Houston, that is a portrait of Dominique de Menil. It’s the dream of the client. And this is a portrait of Eli.” >>> Read More.

 
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Quoting Jacques Herzog:

“Look at your shoes and T-shirt: where do they come from? Should you be trading with China?”

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Why would anyone in the right frame of mind want to shrug off an opportunity? The only starchitect that I know of that has yet to set foot on this land of the dragons is none other than Daniel Libeskind. There was an article written about him and his refusal to join the exclusive club which I have posted earlier. Mean time, here's a nice caricature of the dynamic duo of Herzog de Meuron.

Source: FT - Men in the News: Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron

 
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