Monday, September 17, 2012


I used to dislike bricks. I thought bricks were such an old fashioned and obsolete material for construction, I thought of bricks as boring and outdated.

It was not until I was told that bricks are beautiful material with its beautiful colors. This simple statement was uttered by my teacher when I was in Singapore Polytechnic. Yes, it was just a purely simple statement of his opinion but it stroke me hard. The thought of bricks as obsolete was so obvious to me that I did not even consider it as possible for people in the contemporary period to regard it as beautiful. My obviousness was shattered, how could I see things so shallowly?

Then there came Louis Kahn with his conversation with brick:
You say to brick, "What do you want, brick?" Brick says to you, "I like an arch." If you say to brick, "Arches are expensive, and I can use a concrete linter over an opening. What do you think of that, brick?" Brick says, "I like an arch."

The significance of the conversation lies in our respect towards materials. We cannot just do whatever we like towards the materials, because materials, too, have feeling and pride. It is our task as architects to bring out the best in it, Our skill will determine how good the materials will be once constructed.

I had the urge to record this thought because I happened to come across an article at Domus about brick. I thought and daydreamed of how wonderful it will be if I have a chance to do a building with just bricks.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Visit to Construction Site

There are a lot to learn and a lot more not to, my visit to the construction site for the renovation of Turi Beach Resort East Wing has been very educational.

I thought of building construction a lot. I think of how can I carry out construction with my desired result. It is tough to control so many workers and most of them do not know how to read working drawing and they do not have the proper knowledge of how to construct correctly.
I set a role for myself that I should be a teacher to the workers, I should teach them on the proper way to construct. When the time has come for me have my own firm, I will be the architect and the trainer for the workers. I should establish a solid ground, starting with small and intimate numbers of workers then slowly build up the firm and proper construction worker.

Construction and design should stand together in Architecture. I have always considered the skill of the workers when I design, because it is pointless to design like Zaha Hadid or Frank Gehry without the capability to execute the design, it is utterly pointless for it is better to get things right than to get it nice but atrocious. Getting things right does not even mean it is not nice, the beauty of simplicity and the quality of good workmanship never fail the test of time.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Morning Sunlight

I had an epiphany while driving on my way to work this morning.
I saw the sunlight reflected by objects and I thought of my long gone childhood, the days of innocence, and my beloved hometown. I felt joyously sad when I remember the time passed for it really hits me to realize the impermanence of all things around me. Everything in our life is just one of many stops that we will go through. Hence, it seldom surprised me when one day I lost something: a book, a friend, a house, or any thing else. I will lament no doubt, but I will see it as something transient. In recognition of the transience, of the time passed, of the un-returned moment, I find solace in the present moment.

As people aged, they will have more and more comforting moment through their constant reflection on their life. Wisdom of age comes from the meditation of nostalgic moment and realization of the lost past events.
I had the realization that I am not old enough, I do not have much experience in life, not yet. Or perhaps I have the experience, but I do not meditate enough.
I am not sure on this because both are partially correct.

I waiting for the time to come when I know, not by analyzing or any deep thought, 'when I know' is just an intuition, inexplicable. I can comfortably know without any doubt, when I 'just know'.
I thought of the sunlight again, this time in the context of my hometown. I remember the moment between the late morning and early afternoon on the walk along the seashore, I looked to the sea, it was windy, the breeze took off the heat of the sun. The water sparkling, reflecting the sunlight.