This year, the theme for the festival is Craft. Throughout ages, part of architecture’s obsession is with the bespoke. Working alongside artisans, architects develop deep understanding of materiality and techniques that often reflect the genius loci. This discussion is timely and relevant as the practice and the construction landscape is rapidly evolving.
If the broadest definition of craft is about precision that demands laborious attention and skilled handwork, where would we locate it within the realm of architectural production or construction in an age where expediency and efficiency are privileged?
While we wish to focus on the role of craft in the discourse of architecture, the theme has the potential to encompass far more. The maker culture that leverages highly on open source and technology hacks the longstanding artisan mode of production. While the cut-paste approach democratizes and demystifies what used to be only exclusive to a few, it does raise questions on issues of equity and ethics.
We wish to engage the fraternity, the academia, the agencies and the public in this discussion and the understanding of craft. At the very least, the festival wishes to honor and recognize those among us that have dedicated a lifetime in perfecting their craft of Architecture.
Craft has always been an intrinsic part of architecture since time immemorial. Though it may not solve world problems, craft does indeed make us happier.
Welcome address by Mr Seah Chee Huang - SIA President
Archifest Welcome Speech by Festival Director, Mr Alan Tay
Keynote Speaker 01, Mr David Nelson (Foster + Partners)
Q & A Keynote Speaker (30 mins)
Session 01 Speaker 02, Mr Jack Pitupong (Supermachine)
Session 01 Speaker 03, Ms Varna Shashidar (Palinda Kannangara Architects)
Session 01 Speaker 04, Mr Chan Soo Khian (SCDA Architects)
Session 01 Speaker 05, Mr Kevin Mark Low (small projects)
Q & A Session 01 (30mins)
Session 02 Speaker 07, Mr Rodney Eggleston (March Studio)
Session 02 Speaker 08, Mr Justin Hill (Kerry Hill Architects)
Q & A Session 02 (30 mins)
Closing Address by Festival Director Alan Tay
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David Nelson is co-head of design sharing design responsibility for all Foster + Partners’ projects. He sits on the practice’s Design Board that has full responsibility for design within the office. It has the authority to instigate, change and redirect design as deemed necessary. While David’s involvement is important in the early, conceptual design phases of a project, he ensures continuity and quality at every stage of a project, as well as encouraging the sharing of expertise across the project teams on various issues, such as urban design and sustainability. David is a Senior Executive Partner, and guides the studio strategically as a member of the Partnership Board.
He studied three-dimensional design at Loughborough College of Art and Hornsey College of Art, specialising in furniture and industrial design, before gaining a Master’s degree at the Royal College of Art Environmental Design School. In 1974, he received a travelling scholarship to study town planning in northern Italy. Reflecting this education David also oversees the studios Industrial Design team. He joined the practice in 1976, working on a number of important early projects, including the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts and the Hammersmith Centre. In 1979, he joined the team working on the design of the Hongkong and Shanghai Bank, eventually sharing design responsibility for the project. He was made a Director in 1984. He returned to London in 1986 and became the director responsible for a wide range of projects, including the American Air Museum at Duxford, Century Tower in Tokyo and many other projects in Asia, Europe, Australia and the USA.
He has worked on many projects including the New German Parliament in the Reichstag, Berlin. He has also overseen a number of transport projects, including Bilbao Metro in Spain, North Greenwich Transport Interchange and Canary Wharf Underground station in London. Other projects include the Petronas University of Technology in Malaysia, Stanford University Laboratories in California, the McLaren Technology Centre and Production Centre in Woking, the new Supreme Court in Singapore, the Florence High-speed Railway Station, Deutschebank and Lumiere Residential in Sydney, Australia, Central Market and Masdar City in Abu Dhabi and the Apple Campus in California.
He was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the RIBA in 2002.
Foster + Partners is a global studio for sustainable architecture, urbanism and design, founded by Norman Foster in 1967. Since then, he, and the team around him, have established an international practice with a worldwide reputation. With offices across the globe, we work as a single studio that is both ethnically and culturally diverse.
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Jack Chaowakul Pitupong
Pitupong was born in Ubonratchathani, a small town 600 Kilometers east of Bangkok, Thailand. He moved to Bangkok when he was 11 for further education. He earned his degree in Architecture from School of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok and moved to Singapore to work for a year. In 2003, he got his Master degree in Architecture from the Berlage Institute of Architecture, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. In between his graduate study, he worked with Nox architect in Rotterdam for a year.
Pitupong came back to Bangkok, Thailand in 2003 and founded a cross-disciplinary design studio with 5 other friends called “This design” in Bangkok. He designed very wide range of projects from concerts, interior designs to architectures. He constantly joined the artist group, called “Soi Project”. With them, he travel and does installation projects in other countries such as Japan, UAE and UK. In the same time, he lectured and taught in various schools of design in Bangkok.
He founded the design studio by himself in 2009, called Supermachine Studio. The office is constantly doing various types of design projects. In 2010 and 2016, Supermachine Studio was chosen to design and build lighting installations for iLight Marina Bay Singapore where they exhibited “Animal Tree” and “Dandelion”.For entertainment biz, he was commission to be a design director of one of the biggest outdoor music event in Thailand called Big Mountain Music Festival. The event successfully drawn more than 60,000 people in its 6th time in 2010. He is on the process of doing its 8th edition in 2016.
Supermachine studio’s projects have won international awards including; “Harbormall” won 2010 “World of color awards” among with projects from architects around the world. (Solutia is one of the world’s leading color film makers) “BUSAC” won “Best Educational architecture” from Archmarathon 2014, Milan. And “The Labyrinth, 10 Cal Tower” won “Emerging architecture award 2015” from Architecture review magazine, London.
Pitupong was one of the speakers in many international forums including; “Archifest‘2010” in Singapore, “Datam KL 2011”, “Jakarta architectural triannale 2012”, “Alaska design forum ,2014”.
Supermachine studio is a multi-disciplinary design studio founded and based in Bangkok in 2009 by Thai architect, Pitupong chaowakul. Before that (in 2003) he founded another studio called Thisdesign with 5 other friends. Supermachine studio’s projects are extremely diverse, their projects includes small objects like bottle openner, installations & exhibitions and bigger scale projects like shopping malls and large outdoor music festivals. Supermachine studio consistent interests are in the creative processes and experimentations in design.
Supermachine is Pitupong Chaowakul with Kasidis Puaktes, Theerayut Somtua, Sujinda Khawkam, Hutsama Juntaratana, Rachanone Thaikaew, Katanyu Aungwatanapanich, Krit Peraphan, Napapat Lasavanich and Kamolporn Wiriyachaisang.
Palinda Kannangara Architects
Varna Shashidar works with Palinda Kannangara, her partner on projects of ecological significance. She is an Indian Landscape Architect with a regional landscape practice that focuses on the creation of contextual landscapes. Varna graduated with a Bachelors of Architecture from RVCA and obtained a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. Her interest lies in the intersection of the built and the natural world, and in the ecology and aesthetics of the everyday South Asian landscapes. She is a partner in Palinda Kannangara Architects.
Palinda Kannangara Architects is known for an experiential architecture that hinges on simplicity, and connection with the natural environment. The firm’s work has been recognized for contextual sensitivity, crafted material use and a minimalism reflective of the Sri Lankan ethos.The firm works across the island of Sri Lanka on diverse projects residential, staff housing, book buildings, hotels, pavilions, temples, retreats and energy projects.
The firm has been the recipient of several prestigious national and international awards in its 14 years in practice. Their own Studio at Rajagiriya is one of the winners of the RIBA International Awards for Excellence in Architecture 2018.
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Kevin Mark Low
Kevin Mark Low studied architecture and art history in the United States from 1983 to 1991. Working alone since smallprojects was born in 2002, he lives, writes, designs and teaches primarily in Malaysia, the country where his architectural work originates. Engaged in the search for questions regarding things we believe we already have answers for, his work is plural in outcome, focussed on addressing necessity, relevance, and the specificity of context in the process of design.
With each project undertaken, big or small, he is interested in how elements and issues, both large and small, only ever find meaning in the intimate junctions where they meet, and how the big picture is less about finding radical solutions, than a radical way of framing questions. His work on office buildings, houses, master plans and mailboxes, cemeteries, park toilets, low cost housing and furniture have been published in the book, smallprojects (oro group 2010), distributed internationally, and in architectural journals in Europe, Asia and Oceania.
smallprojects was born in 2002. Its work involves house, building and utility design.
The company is run by Kevin Low who returned to Malaysia and culture shock after nine years in the west with a bachelor's and master's degree in architecture and a minor in art and architectural history. Kevin has, over various periods in his life, been professionally involved in writing, environmental sculpture, illustrating, teaching and copyrighting. He has presented papers on building technology at Harvard University and lectured in the architectural department at MIT. While in the United States, Kevin worked in architectural practices both on the East and West coasts and studied closely with the Aga Khan Foundation, earning awards of research grants and fellowships to Italy, North Yemen, Spain and Bangladesh. He joined GDP Architects upon his return to Kuala Lumpur where he stayed for the next eleven years, running the r + d and special projects division.
His work while at GDP architects included project branding, budget hotels and high end condominiums, a refurbished warehouse for a corporate office, various housing types, guardhouses, garden memorials, mailboxes and master plans; the last one being the master plan for Sentul in Kuala Lumpur.
Kevin currently divides his time between architectural and product design, concept master plans, teaching architecture at University Malaya and providing design concept services to clients and other consultants. He still designs mailboxes. And unusual houses for unusual clients with an emphasis on what he calls the garden house.
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Kerry Hill Architects
AR JUSTIN HILL MSIA, FRAIA
Registration number with BOA 1074
UEN no 200608194D J
ustin Hill comes from Tasmania and has lived in Singapore since 1981. He is a Director of the Kerry Hill Architects practices in Singapore and Perth, Western Australia. He graduated from the University of Adelaide in 1979.
He has been involved in theatre internationally for many years, both as a practicing architect and as a noted stage designer, and is a co-founder of Theatreworks [Singapore] Ltd.
For the Australian Institute of Architects he is currently a nationally elected councillor, and has served on a number of juries including the 2014 National Architectural Awards. In 2016 he won the biennial Australian Tapestry Workshop Design Prize for Architects. His tapestry, ’22 Temenggong Road, Twilight’ was completed early this year.
Kerry Hill Architects is an award winning Architectural and design practice established in 1979 by Kerry Hill. From its first studio, in Singapore, the practice has evolved over the last 40 years with a project base growing from its original south-east Asia location to most continents of the world. Its second studio was founded in Perth, Western Australia in 1995, in response to its increasing involvement in Australian based work.
Together the two studios comprise approximately 75 predominantly professional staff, with half of these in each location. The practice has three Singapore based Directors and two Associates, with a further two Directors and one Associate based in Perth. A further Director represents both studios, and cohesion between the two locations is strongly cherished and maintained through the sharing of projects, and through interactions at all levels.
The practice offers a full range of Architectural services, from master-planning to project delivery, and prides itself on this continuity through the life of a project, which underpins every successful building outcome. It also carries out Interior Design services for all of its Architectural projects.
extensive experience with resort and city hotels, commercial developments, schools, the performing arts, recreation facilities, residential architecture and restoration projects.
The practice received the Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2001, for The Datai resort in Langkawi, Malaysia. In addition, the firm has received many international and regional design awards for completed projects, many of which have been widely published in the architecture and design media.
SUTD (Singapore University of Technology & Design)
Sam Conrad Joyce is Assistant Professor and Director of the Masters of Architecture course at the Singapore University of Technology and Design, in the Architecture and Sustainable Design pillar.
He explores the intersection of technology driven research and design practice, having prior worked at Foster + Partners Architects and Buro Happold Building Engineers working on projects such as the 2014 Olympic Stadium, Louvé Abu Dhabi, Apple Campus, Bloomberg London HQ, and Mexico City Airport.
Sam heads The Meta Design Lab, an interdisciplinary research group comprising of architects, structural engineers, cognitive-scientists, UX experts, and programmers. It seeks out conceiving, developing, and testing new interfaces to design processes; specifically how A.I. and Big Data can help find novel design solutions, with that goal that humans and computers should be collaborative co-creators.
The Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) is Singapore’s fourth public university, and one of the first universities in the world to incorporate the art and science of design and technology into a multi-disciplinary curriculum. SUTD was established in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and seeks to advance knowledge and nurture technically-grounded leaders and innovators to serve societal needs. Also in collaboration with Zhejiang University and Singapore Management University, SUTD, a research-intensive university, is distinguished by its unique East and West academic programmes which incorporate elements of entrepreneurship, management and design thinking. Graduate opportunities include the Master of Architecture, the Master of Science in Urban Science, Policy and Planning and various SUTD PhD programmes. www.sutd.edu.sg
Image courtesy of Foster + Partners
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Rodney Eggleston is a director of March Studio. Established 2007, March Studio represents a new generation of architects in Australia who have been educated in a digital environment but embrace the fundamental elements of making and innovation to realise their projects. The outcomes are highly crafted projects born and refined through the utilisation of a digital and computational process, but also embedded in a thorough knowledge of materials and construction.
March Studio's work is characterised by a meticulous attention to detail, and often an innately creative, though very pragmatic approach to problem solving. Their work for Aesop, in particular, has a long history of material efficiency, often using surplus packaging or recycled materials en masse to stunning effect. As Aesop has expanded internationally, March has been invited to work on their stores in Zurich, Paris and New York, and Eggleston has become adept at designing fittings and fixtures which efficiently minimise shipping and handling - considering cabinetry size and shape in relation to the limitations of transport palettes and install logistics. Efficient design at its best.
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Chan Soo Khian
Soo K. Chan is a practicing architect based in Singapore. He is the founding principal and design director of SCDA, a multi-disciplinary firm engaging in architecture, interior, landscape and product design. Mr. Chan is the recipient of several awards, including the inaugural Singapore President’s Design Award, Designer of the Year, the SIA-Getz Architecture Prize for Emergent Architecture in Asia and three RIBA Awards. A graduate of Yale University, Mr. Chan is Professor of Architecture (Practice) at the National University of Singapore.
SCDA’s portfolio ranges from master planning, resorts and hotels, high-rise luxury residences, commercial and institutional buildings, and private homes spanning Asia/Oceania, Africa, Europe and America. SCDA has more than 120 employees with offices in Singapore, Shanghai and New York. Mr. Chan is currently working on three residential towers in NYC, including 118 East 59th Street, 515 West 29th Street, and Soori High Line.
Mr. Chan is both the architect and developer of Soori High Line. Soori High Line marks Chan Soo Khian’s third global Soori-branded offering, joining his line of Soori Living furniture for Poliform, and the award-winning Soori Bali. Soori Niseko, a ski resort in Japan, is currently under development.
The projects designed at SCDA refer to the fundamental elements of architecture (light, space, transparency, materiality, and order) and aspire to humanist qualities of serenity, and beauty. Spaces are composed to be experienced sequentially, through choreographed processions that re-center and re-align the perceptual ‘axis’, terminating in landscaped vistas or open spaces. The approach is phenomenological and is about the emotional response of the user to the space. The figure of the architectural forms, often a series of rectangular boxes, define equally important courts, gardens and other external spaces set against the walled boundaries of the lots. Building lots tend to be fairly rectangular, and when not, differences are usually taken up by shrubs or landscape as poche. This organisational strategy allows for the concept of inversion. This can be interpreted architecturally as the building and outdoor court spaces (grounds) being given equal importance and weightage. This strategy has been applied to projects such as the Heeren Street House in Malacca, the Emerald Hill House and the Sennett House, among others, where the diagram of the expected open spaces (grounds) has been used to generate the building form.
Interstitial spaces between a building and its perimeter, often created by zoning bylaws as setbacks, are claimed to become defined view courts. Corners of rooms are often cut to destabilise the space propagating it outwards towards the garden or courts while allowing for possibilities of refocusing the spaces centrifugally towards internal courts in the more urban typologies. Large sliding doors that disappear into pockets blur the interior zone to the fully exterior surface. Liberated from notions of representation and the vernacular, massing and façade is built on archetypal elements, of volume, light and surface. Walls are treated as separate planes allowing for physical material separation between walls. While this vocabulary provides possibilities to re-interpret and transform the spatial essence of a given vernacular, it is also able to incorporate the rudimentary elements of place-making, through considered interpretation of local craft, culture and climate.
This process of understanding by rote the basic building blocks of the architecture is not unlike the training in architecture in the Beaux-Arts. One must not confuse a consistent design language with a familiar style. I must stress that this approach has not in any way diminished the ability to layer a process and concept-oriented approach with the design practice; while the spirit of the spaces are classical, the details are universally modern. Increasingly, as practice becomes globalised, the applied design vocabulary has to absorb nuances of climate, culture and place. Working with a clean design language allows for the reconciliation of issues of universality versus regional specificity.