Saturday, September 30, 2006

upcoming Architecture lectures!

Kerry Hill
"Project Snapshots, 1996 - 2006"
3 Oct, Tuesday
LR423, SDE, NUS. 4 pm

Charles Benton
Professor in Architecture, UC Berkeley
"Sustainable design: building stories"
10 Oct, Tuesday
LR423, SDE, NUS. 4 pm

SIA (Singapore Institute of Architects) Gold Medallist - Tang Guan Bee
"Formless Form"
12 Oct, Thursday
Kenzo Level 2, Gallery Hotel. 7 pm
Registration required (with SIA)

Kelvin Kan
Architectural Designer/Engineer with Arup
"Uncover the Skin of Modern Architecture"
13 oct, Friday
LT13, NUS, 630pm

and... drumroll...

Frank Gehry
"Recent Projects"
16 Oct, Monday
UCC, NUS. 7pm
Registration required (with SIA)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Man builds his own cathedral

99.99999...% of buildings in the world are not built by architects' hands, said Nazrine Seraji, at her recent guest lecture in NUS.

Perhaps that's because constructing a building from scratch seems like such a mammoth endeavour. Something best left to the pro builders who know how to drive cranes, operate piling machines, recruit armies of workers from remote Bangladesh, to whom dropping millions of dollars on buying material is peanuts. Could we really build anything apart from the occasional wooden structure in a remote village somewhere?

Even as we speak, Don Justo, a devout old Spanish farmer, continues to meticulously toiling on his own cathedral. He has no plans, "only in his own head". His workers are his six nephews. He has no crane, he uses pulleys. He has no engineer, legal permission, funding, or support from the church. Most of his materials are recycled or excess from construction companies. Amazingly, the Romanesque-style cathedral is taking shape.

This is no little country church. It's got an 8000sqm footprint and is 40m high, with a dome like St Peter's in Rome.

Check here for the inspiring story and pix:

Don Justo's Self Built Cathedral

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Crossing Boundary

Just presented a paper in a conference with two of my friends (Ju-lin & Hanying). Interestingly it was not an architectural conference, but one on Tourism. It gathered researchers of various disciplines – mostly anthropologists, sociologist, geographers, and occasional mass comm researchers, to address the issue of rising tourists “Of Asian Origin” and “Rethink Tourism in Contemporary Asia”. Although we’re only one of the two delegates from architecture (the other one was a Prof from University of Philippines, who presented 3 beautiful islands), to my surprise many of the papers do talk about architecture. One local delegate even use the design of new Majestic Hotel as an example of new boutique hotel to illustrate how heroic/nostalgic “colonialism” was brought back to life (in a positive sense) through amalgamation of “post-modernism” and “globalization” (isn’t this what archi theorists talk about?). Sadly, none of these presentations made reference to any designers/architects involved, but merely reviewing the constructs without attempting to understand the mind of the constructors. Nevertheless, what strikes me is the relevance of architecture in other disciplines, especially today when boundaries converge. It's time to break away from our own little circle and start talking to other people. Well, think I'll join more non-architectural events in future.

Among the non-architects

Saturday, September 09, 2006

The world's hottest profession

HOLLYWOOD-- Late-breaking news: the architect is not in the proverbial bottle, as previously believed, but long since popped the cork and is making it big on the silver screen.

An article in the San Francisco Chronicle details how Hollywood can't get enough of architecture. They adore the manliness of the profession, the gorgeous drawings, and the heroic architect-types who are artistic, driven and oh, so passionate...

Excerpted below but modesty forbids me from reproducing the choicest quotes from the article. Read it here.

The perception of architects as cool is evident in "There's Something About Mary," when Matt Dillon pretends to be one in an attempt to impress Cameron Diaz....

"There are very, very few professions that still have a ring of heroism about them, and architecture is one of the few that does...And it's one of the last manly professions -- you are building something outdoors." [says film historian Robert Osborne]

"Passion for your work does carry over to a passion in real life," says John Powers, a practicing architect for 35 years... The notion of them as catnip to women appears often on celluloid.

"Architecture and the act of building have a lot of metaphorical power. Building something good seems admirable in itself, beyond what it pays as work. Architecture also has a bit of the common touch, which is important for a movie hero."

Friday, September 08, 2006

Running from Sci Arc

This is the funniest thing. I did not choose to go to Sci Arc because of their approach. Now Sci Arc is coming to me- Michael Speaks is coming to TU Delft! And this whole Design Intelligence thing is coming to TU as well. (courtesy of Sci Arc, OMA etc) Achtung!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006