Thursday, October 02, 2008

And while we're at it...

Man + Environment
Archifest Design Forum
16-17 October. Drama Centre, NLB.

Featuring Richard Hassell, Andrew Maynard, Jo Noero, Ken Yeang and more.

More here.

A little bit of publicity...

...for the event organisers.

More at the main Archifest website.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Really Ar? 2 - "So This Is Masterplanning!"

Hi good people,

WE ARE BACK WITH REALLY AR!!!! As you would already know, Really Ar? is Re:act’s design sharing session where we invite designers to talk about their recent projects. This sharing session is open to anyone who might be interested in architecture and design and through this we hope to encourage meaningful discussion of real issues and new ideas! The theme for August’s Really Ar? is “So this masterplanning!” Come find out more this coming Tuesday, 5 Aug 08, 7.30-9.30pm at Night & Day Bar, ( 139 Selegie Road ).

Presenting 3 Speakers:

1. Philip Tan, Surbana

2. Prasoon Kumar, HOK

3. Yu Sern Hong, 5+Design, LA

Special Presentations:

1. Elaine Tan, URA - on AUDE Programme-

2. Chong Keng Hua - on [re:act] Initiatives

We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Pecha Kucha Beijing, 18 May 2008

It is barely an hour after the event when I decided to blog about it here, before I forget what this largely unmemorable series of lectures was about.

Pecha Kucha, as the name suggests (you can find the background of how this name came about on the web, I’m pretty sure, as it has been widely publicised..) is chit-chat in japanese. The lectures i just sat through (figure of speech, really, since I was standing the whole time due to the lack of seats *poor planning!*) was simply it - random chit chat. Nothing rigourous. Not even remotely. Not most of it anyway. Most of the speakers (except, maybe Neville Mars and Gregor Hoheisel from Graft) could hardly get past advertising their wares. There was even a Chinese Architectural Magazine Editor who presented “How to become a Famous Architect” during the lecture as one of the guest speakers. You may say, “Hey, I’ve heard something similar circulating on the web!”. Guess what, you probably have! It was something lifted wholly off the net, added to it some low resolution images (probably downloaded randomly from the internet too).. Speaks volumes about the quality of Chinese Architectural Magazines or media.

The Pecha Kucha concept is to allow each speaker 20 seconds for 20 slides. This works out to about 6 minutes and 40 seconds for each speaker. As I mentioned earlier, most speakers could hardly get into their work in depth.. Some speakers had to resort to presenting something totally irrelevant to what they do. For example, a fashion designer started talking about how happy and free spirited Swing (the dance) has made her, and how she would like to bring that to Beijing. Totally free-spirited, I would say, but it wasn’t really why I was there at Pecha Kucha for in the first place.

Some advice for the organisers: While we could probably talk to the presenters in greater depth after the lectures, it would be a good idea to manage the lectures in such a way where some depth is explored during each of the 6 minute 40 seconds. In this way, all those who came for the event could bring something memorable away from the event even when they don’t manage to catch the speaker after the lecture. Perhaps the choice of topics could be more specific, and included in the event listing, so that visitors like us can know beforehand what to expect. I really don’t appreciate standing for more than two hours only to listen to a pirate display her loot as the last speaker.

Next Pecha Kucha in Beijing will take place sometime before the Olympics. Let’s hope it gets better!

Some interesting links:

Extracted on 18 May 2008 from

Thursday, May 15, 2008



In my library account stands the records of books borrowed from the architecture library. It shows the book code which would point the exact location in real space where you can find it. Yet its physical location- the architecture library- is no more.

The librarians extended my loan till June.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Dean and team during this morning's briefing

Briefing today. The leadership team is all about "the show must go on!"
Photos from today. Walked around the building. Accepted the truth. Prayed for hope.



(For the headlines on the event in the Dutch news, click RTL)

I entered the faculty of architecture at 9.10am, got to the 5th level and there was water all over the floor. The lifts were not working so I walked up all five floors. I walked to the tap and got myself a cup of water.

After approximately 5 minutes, the alarm sounded. I was still carrying my cup of water while going with the flow of people leaving the building. We were all herded to the carpark- that was when the fire at the 6th floor became visible.

The fire looked small, so at that time people were more struck by wonder than worry. The email sent out by the faculty administration announced that the fire started from a "short circuit caused by a faulty water pipe" at the 6th floor.

The fire could not be controlled and continued to ravage the rest of the building. At approximately 5pm or so, part of the building collapsed. At 5.18pm, D.J. van den Berg, President of the Executive Board, released an email statement saying that "no conclusive statement can be given about the exact cause of the fire". Fortunately there were not casualties in the fire.

This is the closest I've been to a headlines tragedy. With the initial wave of sensationalism worn off, I now feel a sense of loss. Loss for people whose works have gone up in flames. Loss of a place that I had some emotional attachment to. Loss of an entire faculty. As I type this I can still see, from my window, smoke billowing from the destroyed building.

At home home now, I turn to my bible for some key to the event, and chance upon Deuteronomy 5:4 "The Lord talked with you face to face on the mountain from the midst of the fire." This gives me a sense of awe of how powerful God is. Am also reminded of the verse from 2 Corinthians 4:18 “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” The temporal nature of the material world and its systems is quite often overlooked until it collapses. It has collapsed this time- literally.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


left to right: Salomon Frausto, Sanford Kwinter, Peter Trummer

Sanford Kwinter was in Berlage to launch his 20-years-in-the-making book= Far from Equilibrium. Looking every bit the mad scientist that he was, Kwinter captivated with his sincerity and self-deprecating attitude. If you've ever tried to read his book Architectures of Time, you will realise that everything you've thought was deep and complex writing was really only surface treatment.

The book, written within a 20 year time frame, where much of the essays which were published in the ANY magazine in the 90's, was produced as a reminder that today's culture was a production of the past, whether a past that had happened or not- radical an-amnesia, he calls it.

I crept up to him in the cafeteria and asked for him to sign the book. He was nice to initiate some conversation. Despite my belief that I could make small talk with anyone, the fact that Kwinter listened to everything I said made it a tad intimidating, yet surprisingly refreshing.

I pored over his book and was pleasantly surprised at various fun things in it- change in font size, secret essays hidden within flaps. Good buy.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Pecha Kucha Beijing 2008

Thanks Jan for the cover! Pecha Kucha Beijing will be held on May 18, 2008 for those who are interested.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Friend Ren Horng Yee, who presented at Pecha Kucha, with me and Ilmar, my classmate

View from the front row

Lesley Moore

Pecha Kucha in Rotterdam! There I was, yesterday night. (Yoda like...)

Having been to Rojak's and having been very impressed with jing's photograph's and boo jun feng's the changi murals, i must say pecha kucha rotterdam came across as quite a disappointment.

The evening had a foreboding start, and went on with a sequence of designers/artists who were either not able or not keen to share their work in a passionate and meaningful way. Some designers were downright bad. The selection of presenters could have been more stringent.

All was not gloom and doom however. The evening had its nice bits that overall, made the night worth it. The casual dutch atmosphere (as you can see in the photo) was one thing I thoroughly enjoyed. You can't find a more "bo chap" attitude in Singapore. The Rojak session that I attended was super-charged in quite a heady manner, what with the hosts making innuendos throughout the session; Pecha Kucha Rotterdam on the other hand felt like a really casual gathering of people with two less-than-competent-but-still-heartwarming hosts speaking in their second language, English.

The saving grace of the night was-besides my good friend Ren Horng Yee's presentation of his final project, and no this is not just a disclaimer- the works of a two-person design firm Lesley Moore. It puzzled me for some time where the name came from, since their names were not Lesley and Moore. The name of the firm is actually a pun on the phrase "Less is More"! They told me that Goethe was the one who first said it, so let's remember that, and not attribute it solely to Mies.

I was already immediately impressed by the fact that they do the layout of Mark magazine. They spoke about a series of really respectable works- a font inspired by escher's multidimensional staircase, a huge digital clock that was lit up in an analog fashion by friends turning the fluorescent lights on and off, a stencil typography that was formed by two basic shapes. A fantastic piece of work was a short clip they did for Dave Clark called White Noise. The concept is white powder exploding and arranging to form text, the white substance being an allusion to the white noise we see on screen. Conceptually very fierce!

Had a discussion with Ilmar during the break. I asked him what makes Dutch design Dutch. He observed that Dutch design has 3 characteristics:

1. Couldn't-care-less attitude
2. You have to make a joke out of everything
3. There has to be some subliminal message in the design
4. No sense of aesthetics (my addition)

I find these points really befitting Dutch designers.

The day ended with a nice chat with Karin and Alex from Lesley Moore.

Netherlands 1.06pm, signing out!