Dec 14, 2007

Archifest 07 forum

A Design Festival was recently held in Singapore to celebrate the wonders that were created by present day designers. In conjunction with this event, convention centers, shopping malls, hotels and offices throughout the whole island was reserved to exhibit works from the design field namely fashion design, graphics design, interior design, industrial design and photography. However, the most emphasize field of design was the Architecture field. A forum consist of 13 very famous speakers, coming from every corner of the world, ranging from project managers, practicing architects and researchers gave a very educational, eye opening and encouraging lecture.

The forum title “ASPIRATION TO REALISATION” began with a welcome remark from the SIA president, Tai Lee Siang and Director Blue Scope Steel Malaysia. The first Keynote Speech was by Manabu Chiba which speech was titled Architecture and Urban Design in High Density, in which he showed works that he had completed in the High Density environment of Tokyo, he is a great artist that put much thought into spaces that are used by the occupants. He has also managed to create a comfortable living space that is sandwiched between a contemporary building and a nostalgic old squatter. Manabu’s presentation and works showed a great play of space and circulation as well as creating new within old in terms of architecture and its site context. Other principles that he had practiced are such as verticality versus horizontality.

The presentation was followed by Ma Yan Song’s MAD in China. Ma presented his ideas on the buildings he designed such as the Marilyn Monroe and Jonathan F Kennedy in Canada, his presentation was continued with some of the ideas that were presented for competitions and other future projects that are led by Ma. The inspiring lecture was followed by engineer Max Fordman’s very educational lecture on Building Services. The topics that were discussed in this presentation are very much related to Natural Lighting, Natural Ventilation in which promotes sustainability as well as environmentally friendly alternatives in constructing future buildings and architectures. After that was Angelene Chan’s presentation on her experiences in building the Dubai Mall, which is set to be the largest Mall that will be completed next year. The fluent and impressive talk delivered by Chan took us on a wild ride of this massive Masterpiece. Chan is the director of DP Architects, which is a leading architecture firm in Asia; shared the concepts on how the ideas and approaches came to realization. Beautiful models and renderings that is right down to detail were shown, she also encourages people to work in the architecture field as there’s a great need of manpower in her current team.

After a quick lunch, the forum resumed with a very cute and entertaining couple whose name are Takaharu and Yui Tezuka, audiences referred their presentation was inspiring, but as a whole, it was very playful and funny to be at least. The fun journey derived from their works on Roof House and Fuji Kindergarten. The principles practiced in these two projects was simple yet magnificent, they portrayed their architecture to be more “open plan” and also “naturally lighted”. This dynamic duo put much emphasis into the occupants need. The following speaker was Ma Qing Yun from China, his topic was City of Expiration & Regeneration , he talks a lot about circulation of space and presented some of his works which he had completed in Shanghai and other parts of China. His lecture was interestingly thought provoking, before wrapping up his final thoughts and ideas, he asked whether a city has a life span. What happens when the city expires? Should it be regenerated? How should it be generated? Tear down the buildings and rebuild them?

Seah Chee Kien from RSP Architects continued the forum by presenting the works from the past, present and future that is produced by his firm. Some of the renowned works that were recently completed are such as the La Salle College of Arts, and another on-going project was a competition which they recently won, the site of this complex is situated in the heart of Orchard Road, which is to cater a space for youngsters. Their flawless design was able to steal the judges’ heart and defeated strong opponents such as DP Architects. Chris Luebkeman from ARUP, UK delivered an interesting lecture which was the result of his research on what the future install for us, and how will architecture deals with the challenges ahead, and how architecture can contribute the community in an environmentally friendly way. It was also rather disturbing to know how much human consumes and that we are running low on resources, he also introduced the global footprint calculator which calculates how much land a person needs in this planet and how much it can afford. To try it out on your own, please log on to Before ending the 1st day of the forum, multi-award winning firm, SCDA’s Chan Soo Kian presented his slides and videos of the works under his belt. In his presentation, he showed marvelous forms and patterns that he manipulated in order to bring in daylight and natural ventilation. One of SCDA’s work located in Kuala Lumpur is OneKL Residence; a high class residency which is situated just next to the Petronas Twin Towers. Another famous building which they had renovated is the Mint Museum of Toys, which is located in Bugis, Singapore.

On the following day, Kerry Hill kicked start the forum which he showed works that he and his firm has finished in all over the world, from Tibet to India, Singapore to Australia his works seem very ecological. Most of the buildings that were presented were hotels and resorts. Following on is Hitoshi Abe’s presentation on “Architecture from Boundary Surface”. In my opinion, this architect’s works are simply amazing, the forms that he explored while building a bridge, which gives a visual illusion that the bridge seems to be swaying. He showed a couple restaurants that he renovated, the first one was a French + Japanese cuisine restaurant; the interior was a curvy wall painted with bright orange, which again created a very dizzy effect to the customers. The second one was also a restaurant which was very dark, the aesthetic value in the interior exist within the play of light on the walls; the effect of the lights on the wall resembled a view of sunlight penetrating into the thick trees.

After a long gruesome wait, local architect Kevin Mark Low presented his “small projects” which he explain how he works right down to the paper he uses. His presentation was full of energy and anticipation; his slides showed that he emphasize a lot on details, even furniture that he designed. One of the projects he showed was the Louvrebox House, he took this example to show his play of “openness” through removing doorframes for the sliding doors. Kevin Low ended his presentation with these last words:-

The last speaker was Sonny Chan which lecture titled “Aspiration to Realisation 4 decades +”. In this final presentation, Chan talked about the works he had completed throughout the years of his career. Works that were included are such as Hard Rock Hotel located in Bali, house in Emerald Hill; it was indeed the perfect presentation to wrap up this educational forum, as Chan shared his achievements and up and downs as an architect; along with the development of architecture throughout the years.

All the lectures were carried out in a very different approach; Tezuka and Ma Yan Song’s presentation were remarkably funny and entertaining, Angelene Chan’s presentation on the Dubai Mall was awesomely eye-opening. Kevin Mark Low’s presentation was incredibly helpful; all in all, it was a great experience that allows me to learn more. Hopefully I would be able to give my speech up there one day : ) For more information, please refer to

Day 1 (from left) Seah Chee Kien, Manabu Chiba, Max Fordman, Takaharu Tezuka, Yui Tezuka, Chris Luebkeman, Irwin

Day 2 (from left) Kerry Hill, Sonny Chan, Kevin Mark Low, Hitoshi Abe, Ma Qing Yun

posted by s-uper-chii

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