UN Studio + Cox Architecture won the competition to design Australia’s tallest building.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 18, 2018 by vincentloy

A competition to design Australia’s tallest building in the city of Melbourne made headlines recently as it has drawn entries from some of the world’s best known architects. BIG, MAD, MVRDV and OMA architects have made it into the shortlist but it was UN Studio + Cox Architecture‘s scheme that has won the competition as announced recently. This international design competition calls for a mixed-use development at Southbank, Melbourne by Beulah International developer and is set to break ground in 2020.

Their scheme which is nicknamed ‘Green Spine’ features a pair of twisting towers where greenery will burst through the facing facades of both towers as they rise and twist towards each other. The skyscraper is then crowned with a publicly accessible botanical garden. The taller tower will reach 356.2 metres and become the country’s tallest building (currently Q1 Tower in Gold Coast is the record holder with 322 metres in height). This taller taller houses the residences while the other shorter taller (252.2 metres high…still tall though) contains offices and hotels.

Plenty of public spaces, school, cinema, library, restaurants, bars and shops filled the base of the tower that spreads out from the terracing facade above to meet the ground. The natural materials forming the greenery and outdoor spaces blends harmoniously with the glazed facades. I do like this winning scheme. We already have twisting sksycrapers in many parts of the world and it would be nice to see Melbourne having one too.

Here below are the other 5 shortlisted designs:

‘Urban Tree’ by MAD Architects + Elenberg Fraser – A 360-metres high ‘mountain village’ surrounded by foothills, with a hotel shaped like an illuminated cloud near its peak. The tapering tower will have its glass facade pierced with trees.

‘Lanescraper’ by BIG + Fender Katsalidis Architects – Two 359.6 metres high interlocking blocks with voids created between that contains public spaces and lanes of different themes (Melbourne is famous for having many happening lanes on the ground and BIG attempts to have them on the sky in this scheme).

‘Propeller City’ by Coop Himmelb(l)au + Architectus – A 335-metres high tower shaped like a tri-blade propeller and is topped with a penthouse with its own private landscape garden and pool.

‘Stack’ by MVRDV + Woods Bagot – A single tower of 359 metres high that features different textures to its facade to represent the various stacked neighbourhoods. The center of the tower has a hotel’s pool with an underwater glass window.

‘Vertical City’ by OMA + Conrad Gargett – A skyscraper with a simple form and a higher emphasis to the foot of the tower that features a colourful take on the traditional vaulted markets and arcades found in Melbourne. A vertical city will be built between arches supporting a rainbow-coloured facade.

References:

https://www.dezeen.com/2018/08/15/unstudio-cox-melbourne-australias-tallest-building-architecture/

https://www.dezeen.com/2018/07/27/big-mad-mvrdv-oma-unstudio-and-coop-himmelblau-shortlisted-melbourne-skyscraper/

https://edition.cnn.com/style/article/australia-tallest-building-intl/index.html

 

 

 

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Not many good series to catch this year.

Posted in Miscellaneous on August 11, 2018 by vincentloy

Over half of the year is gone and it’s time to evaluate on how TVB series are performing this year so far. Not good as expected. I have watched 7 series and none of them stood out. Only two are considered good and they are ‘Daddy Cool’ and ‘Succession War’. The others are almost reaching to the point that they can be categorized as awful and boring. After the ending of ‘Succession War’, I couldn’t find any more interested new drama to watch. ‘The Story of Yanxi Palace’ has Charmaine Sheh in it but it’s a China’s production (not into it) while ‘The Stunt’ has a very weak cast and I don’t want to see Shaun Tam again that fast after ‘Succession War’.

I have no choice but to fill my evening’s time with past dramas released early this year. I went for ‘Who Wants A Baby?’ series and I had finished its whole 20 episodes in less than 4 days. The series starred Chris Lai, Ali Lee, Rebecca Chan, Angelina Lo, Tsui Wing, Samantha Ko, Stefan Wong, etc and is about the hardship and struggle of a mum (Ali Lee) and her husband (Chris Lai) in raising a newborn daughter from an unexpected pregnancy that totally changes her previous way of life. The family dealt with a lot of issues like financial burden, stress of taking care of a newborn, conflict with in-laws, etc.

This isn’t the drama that will get you hyped or excited for the next episode. The story is all about baby upbringing and how the parents cope with it. No climatic points, no intense and heart-stopping scenes (unless you count in the plenty of moms screaming and baby crying scenes in this), and no plot twist, death or unusual directions. It’s just a simple drama with some warm and moving moments. Ali Lee did a good job portraying as the emotionally charged first-time mum while Chris Lai also contributed a solid performance as her husband. On the other hand, the veterans are really outstanding here such as Angelina Lo (she has been getting a lot of more important supporting roles in recent years) and Rebecca Chan (long time didn’t see her on screen). Their presence add spices to the story. So, in overall, it’s a mediocre series that will be forgotten very soon and will not get any attention in the awards season end of this year. Out of 10 points, I will rate ‘Who Wants A Baby?’ a total of 6.6.

So, who is expected to win TV King and TV Queen end of this year? There are news saying that the Singapore’s Starhub TVB Awards (usually held in October) and Malaysia’s TVB Star Awards (usually in November) are cancelled this year, which means that there is only one awards left; Hong Kong’s TVB Anniversary Awards. The reasons behind this decision are that TVB are now reducing its expenditure oversea and they found that these oversea awards are getting lesser popularity and lesser meaning to the winning artistes. If that’s the case, TVB should open their TVB Anniversary Awards’ voting to all oversea Chinese too since now they have no other platform to choose their personal best.

Nevertheless, the intense race for best actor and best actress are still on. However, so far, there isn’t any really outstanding performance I can remember this year. A lot of people are rooting for Alice Chan to win best actress from her Princess Tai Ping role in ‘Deep In The Realm Of Conscience’ but I disagree. There is still a huge room of improvement for her and I find that she tried too hard in her voice and facial expression in that drama that makes her acting unrealistic. Mandy Wong is a dark horse contender from her role in ‘Threesome’ and I couldn’t comment on this because I didn’t watch that drama. Ali Lee shown a lot of effort in ‘Who Wants a Baby?’ but I don’t think that is sufficient to be crowned best actress. Now, I would point out Selena Lee from her performance in ‘Succession War’. She nailed that role. Although it’s not a heavy role in a male-dominated series, but she did very well and making the usual kind-person role unusual and gives life to it. TVB should recognize her and reward her with at least the ‘Most Favourite TV Female Character’ if not the best actress (she has very low chance here) this year.

 

As for best actor, many are thinking of giving it to new face this year and that directs the attention to Carlos Chan who are praised for his performance in ‘Daddy Cool’. I think it is too fast to give him this big award. A ‘Most Improved TV Male Artiste’ award will be enough for him. There’s a long bright road ahead for him. Wayne Lai has won best actor three times and it’s kinda boring to see him winning again. Ruco Chan from ‘Succession War’? He is good in that drama but not a memorable work and also he has won once before not long ago. Steven Ma then…from his emperor role in ‘Deep In The Realm Of Conscience’? Well, it’s good to reward him finally but his performance is also nothing spectacular and the overall drama’s poor quality is obstructing his way to claim TV King title. I guess, we will have to wait for the remaining series to be released and so there will be more options later on. Currently, no one really deserves the best actor and actress yet based on the performances in the first half of the year.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

August’s first weekend back in KL.

Posted in Miscellaneous on August 5, 2018 by vincentloy

Currently, I have been heading back to KL twice a month ever since I started working in Singapore three months ago. That’s quite a frequent travel back home. Some people do told me that once you stayed here in Singapore a little longer, you will eventually travel back home to Malaysia in lesser frequency soon. I will see if that happens to me as well. There’s a high probability for that to happen because it is actually very exhausting to travel back home and return all within the short typical 2-days weekend by the long bus journeys. There is no worry for that if you are traveling by plane but that is super costly.

So for August, I am planning to head back to KL on its first and last weekend. And so here I am now back at my home, chilling in my bedroom after having a nice dinner and durian as supper. This is most probably my final chance of eating durian as the present durian season is going to end very soon. I have tried D24 last month and I’m having Musang King just now. I prefer D24 more because of its slight bitterness but I also like Musang King from its very yellowish colour and thicker and creamier texture. Whenever there is durian, I will enjoy it. The ‘king of fruits’ rules.

Weekend in KL is very short as the 2 bus journeys are already taking away a lot of time. I would prefer to get some of the things done or get to meet up with my friends in KL. However, I couldn’t do much in these short 2 days. In fact, I only have one day to spend in KL technically. I only can spend the weekend playing with my two little nephews who are getting naughtier and more disobedient as they grow, get a free haircut from my sister, check out my letters sent to my home when I was away, and had durian as mentioned earlier.

There is not even a time for movie as watching movie here in Malaysia is so much cheaper than in Singapore. Talking about movies, the recently released animated film ‘Incredibles 2’ had just grossed over US$ 1 billion in worldwide box office. The movie is the 36th film to cross the 1-billion milestone and is only the 7th animated film to do so. So far, it has accumulated over US$ 1.005 billion. It rides on the success of creating nostalgic emotion to all the adults now who once watched the first ‘The Incredibles’ animated film back in 2004 as a kid (me included). However, I still have not watch this sequel yet. I’m not going to miss it anyway. For this year, 4 films have joined the 1-billion dollar club and they are; Black Panther (US$1.346 billion), Avengers: Infinity War (US$2.044 billion), Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (US$1.248 billion) and ‘Incredibles 2’ (US$ 1.005 billion).

On the other hand, I have been following the updates of the Malaysian badminton team in the on-going Badminton World Championship in Nanjing, China. We only have our independent shuttler, Liew Daren left in the competition after all the other Malaysian players crashed out in earlier rounds. However, he lost out to Kento Momota from Japan in the semi final match today mostly due to the injury he had yesterday. Anyway, it’s already a huge achievement especially for him. He is an instant Malaysian star for a short moment though.

FW729480_KL17_270618_AXIATA-lpr.jpg

It is too bad that our best hope, Lee Chong Wei couldn’t participate in the championship this time due to health complication. He has never win World title before (same goes to Olympic title and Asiad title). That’s just very poor luck for him in all these years in his career.

 

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

 

 

First Merdeka month in the ‘New Malaysia’ era.

Posted in Miscellaneous on August 1, 2018 by vincentloy

It’s August now. Malaysia will be celebrating its 61st anniversary of independence end of this month. This year’s ‘Merdeka’ (Malay word which stands for independence) is very unique as this celebration will be the first under the Pakatan government. The first ever independence day celebration since the ‘New Malaysia’ era that began after the historic May 9th election this year. I felt proud to be Malaysian ever since and to show my patriotic spirit this month, I am decorating my blog’s header with Malaysian flags depicted in balloons.

What do balloons do? They rise up. And so I’m wishing that Malaysia will rise up to become a developed nation very soon under this new administration that we have long been waiting for. Let’s learn from the mistakes observed in the past 60 years, and strive to greater height from now on after this much anticipated change of government. ‘I am Malaysian’ should come first while equality for all races should be observed. Not a single race should be left behind. It is not right to say that a particular religion or race is being threatened now as the changes implemented recently are just to balance things out and protect the rights of others too. There is no place in this world for racism and hatred. Peace is one utmost criteria for growth and prosperity of a nation.

Hopefully one day Malaysian currency will rise up to match that of Singapore so that I can return to my country while earning the same value. It is a very hard task since ringgit is very far behind and is very volatile unlike the stronger Singaporean dollars. That is why I’m working in Singapore now (but my heart is still with Malaysia with a glimpse of hope especially after the general election this year). Crossed a bridge and you get 3x for the money. Decades ago, RM1 equals to SGD1. Now, SGD1 equals to RM3. Such a huge difference. Hopefully, the gap will be narrowed down soon.

Talking about my work here in Singapore. Time flies. I have already worked here for 3 months. My probation is over and now I’m a confirmed employee. There is a long way ahead for me to excel in architectural industry especially when the structures and systems here in Singapore are quite different to what I have been exposed to back then when I was working in Malaysia. There are a lot of things for me to learn. I’m taking one step at a time without adding too much pressure to myself.

By the way, I’m seeing a lot of Singaporean flags everywhere now on the streets and buildings. Malaysia is celebrating Independence Day end of this month (31st August) while Singapore will be celebrating the same on 9th August (also this month). Singapore left Malaysia in 1965 to become an independent nation due to huge difference in ideologies and racial population. A wise decision indeed; look at how advanced, developed and famous Singapore is now. We have a lot to learn from Singapore. But hey,…Singaporeans, don’t be too proud. I’m sure Malaysia is catching up (although it takes time), and we are the one giving Singapore most resources. Alright…no more comparison.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

 

 

Ending the weekend with final episodes of TVB ‘Succession War’.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 29, 2018 by vincentloy

Saving money is the priority this weekend after a heavy spending on Universal Studios last weekend. I already had an outing yesterday plus a movie and so for today, I will just stay at home most of the time. That’s the best way to keep the money in the wallet. End of the month is near and I can’t wait to get my hard earned salary. I have been spending the day mostly being online on Facebook and YouTube, taking a nice rest in preparation for busy weekdays ahead as usual, and had just watched the exciting final two episodes of TVB drama ‘Succession War’.

It is a historical drama that starred Ruco Chan, Shaun Tam, Selena Lee, Elaine Yiu, Natalie Tong, Angelina Lo, Yoyo Chen, Jonathan Cheung, Stephanie Ho, Matthew Ho, etc. The drama revolves on the last 28 days of the life of Qing dynasty court official Heshen, who is known for being the most corrupt court official in Chinese history.and focuses on the Emperor’s attempt to eliminate him. The drama has 28 episodes, and each episode reflects one day of the storyline. That’s a cool approach and it helps to get the story fast-paced and not lacking any depth, thanks to the multiple helpful flashback scenes.

Ruco Chan is very convincing as Heshen while on the other hand, Shaun Tam who is portraying as the emperor is doing very poorly in this drama. I have never seen him in any dramas before and so I think he is inexperienced. All he do in this drama is to forcefully show his very angry face in every scenes. One same facial expression (and the deep ‘Batman’ voice) for almost the entire drama. An emperor can still convey his power and fearfulness through many subtle ways, but Shaun Tam is just not knowing how to do that or is not given any useful advice by the production team. I hope he do knew all these criticism and improve on his acting skill since we will be seeing him in more dramas in the future.

The girls in this drama are just taking on minor and supporting roles but they too shine due to their great performances and story arc that binds the whole series together. Selena Lee is beautiful and excellent as the imperial noble consort. She has improved a lot over the years and I can say that by now, she is a best actress material. Too bad, this drama isn’t focusing on the females and she will not get any recognition or awards from her role here although she nailed it very well. Elaine Yiu and Natalie Tong are also great in their respective roles that are very similar (helping Ruco on his mission with all kind of sacrifices while being his lovers). Also not to be missed out is the fantastic performances by the veterans such as KK Cheung as the retired emperor and Angelina Lo as the dowager noble consort.

The number of good TVB dramas every year has been decreasing rapidly. ‘Deep in the Realm of Conscience’ is a poor drama and I was surprised by the huge rating and critical reception it gets especially from mainland China. On the other hand, I’m shocked that this ‘Succession War’ receives very low audience viewership and isn’t getting the popularity that it deserves. I personally think that ‘Succession War’ is so much better than that boring ‘Deep in the Realm of Conscience’. The former is very engaging and delivers exciting storyline in every episode up until its aired finale just now. The only bad thing from ‘Succession War’ is Shaun Tam’s acting. Other than that, everything is good. Even my dad who seldom watch dramas is praising it. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Succession War’ a total of 8.1. The best TVB drama of the year so far.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Movie review for ‘Mission Impossible: Fallout’ and ‘Extinction’ (2018)

Posted in Miscellaneous on July 29, 2018 by vincentloy

I am a movie fans; I usually watched about 100 films every year. More than half of 2018 is gone and I have only watched about 30 movies. I should have gone past 50 by now or at least should be around there. Looks like my passion on movies have gone down a little this year or that I’m so preoccupied with work that I have to put movies aside. Nevertheless, in this last weekend of the month, I have watched two new movies and here’s my reviews;

‘Mission Impossible; Fallout’ is the sixth and latest film in the ‘Mission Impossible’ film series. The film is popular for its iconic soundtrack, extreme actions and Tom Cruise portraying as the main character called Ethan Hunt. In this latest installment, Ethan Hunt and his team have to track down stolen plutonium while being monitored by a CIA agent after a mission goes awry. Besides Tom Cruise, the movie starred Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Sean Harris, Michelle Monaghan, Alec Baldwin, etc. I’m keen to watch this movie because it scored an incredible 97% in Rotten Tomatoes. It is still a good solid action film but I don’t think it deserves that superb rating. Anyway, this movie is an improvement to the previous one (Rogue Nation). I can’t remember anything from ‘Rogue Nation’ and that means it is not really good as the film was only released 3 years ago. I do remember many scenes from ‘Ghost Protocol’ (2011) instead, especially the Burj Khalifa tower scaling’s scene.

In ‘Fallout’, I’m seeing lesser humor in the dialogue which is very much welcomed in the earlier films of this franchise. The car chasing scene in Paris is long but felt repetitive, lacks originality and delivers plain and mostly flat level of intensity. Only the helicopter scene at the end is worth complimenting. Tom Cruise is still very good in his role here while Henry Cavill is a great addition. There is a plot twist involving his character but I already expected it from the very beginning and hence I have to say that the twist didn’t work out for me. Spoiler ahead; I’m certain his role wouldn’t be just a new fresh supporting sidekick to Ethan and he would eventually reveal himself to be the main antagonist in this film. And yup, I was right. ‘Fallout’ is still a solid entertaining action film and I don’t mind seeing more in this franchise since the three recent ‘Mission Impossible’ films have been doing very well to the critics. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Mission Impossible” Fallout’ a total of 7.7. It is so cliche seeing bomb gets defused in the very last second for any action movie again and again. Well, we can’t run away from that as it is a must to get the audiences to the edge of their seat.

The other movie I have watched recently is ‘Extinction’. It is an alien invasion film by Netflix and starred Michael Pena, Lizzy Caplan, Mike Colter, Israel Broussard, etc. The story is about a father who has a recurring dream about the loss of his family while witnessing an alien invasion. The invasion eventually came true and he needs to save his family. Well, I thought the movie is going in that direction too but wow, I’m surprised by the plot twist here. Now, that’s a successful twist. Spoiler ahead; the alien invasion I’m mentioning just now is actually an invasion by the human while the people on Earth are actually androids. So here, we are seeing an opposite kind of situation. Usually it would be alien invading Earth. Now, for this film, it’s like the vice versa (human living off Earth invading human-like android/robot on Earth) with a bit of brilliant story added in.

The family forms a warm and strong storyline to the movie but I couldn’t stand the countless dumb decisions and crying by the the youngest little girl of the family. The director seems to have no other choice but to give all the necessary stupid actions to the little girl to keep the movie thrilling. The first half of the movie is boring but once the movie entered the second half, everything gets intense and engaging. That is where the plot twist is revealed too. Out of 10 points, I rate ‘Extinction’ a total of 7.8. It is not an ordinary sci-fi alien invasion movie. It has heart in it, and most importantly, it has originality in it.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

An exciting theme park experience in my first ever visit to Universal Studios Singapore today.

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 22, 2018 by vincentloy

I have been to the entrance of the Universal Studios Singapore at Sentosa Island for couple of times in the past but never had the opportunity to enter into the theme park. I remember I could only stand outside of the gate and had a peek to the theme park. Today is the day when I finally got to enjoy the rides inside and I’m super excited. I couldn’t remember how many years have gone by since I last visited a theme park. The normal admission price for an adult is SGD76 while a child ticket would costs SGD56. I’m visiting the park with four of my newly met friends in Singapore.

The entrance fee is certainly expensive and so I would want to cover all the rides that I wanted to in the park. We reached HarbourFront MRT station in the VivoCity Mall at around 8.40am and we walked to the island through the beautiful promenade. We immediately went into the park once it opens at 10am and the first ride we went to was the Battlestar Galactica. It is the world’s tallest dueling roller coaster and we went for both ‘Cylon’ and ‘Human’ coasters. It was super exhilarating and I’m really nervous as I have not been on a scary roller coaster ride for a long time. Our first two rides in the park were certainly giving us high adrenaline.

Before we came to the park, I have researched and discovered that queue for each ride would usually takes up to over an hour and this worries me because we didn’t purchase the super costly express pass. Fortunately, the queue today for most of the rides are not that long and we were able to cover all the rides that we have planned earlier. We went for the famous Transformers ride, Revenge of the Mummy ride (failed first attempt as the roller coaster experienced technical problem and had to close for some time when we were already very near in the queue…fortunately, it is opened back later in the late afternoon and I even went for the ride twice), Puss in Boots ride, Jurassic Park boat ride, Enchanted ride, Sesame Street ride, Shrek show, Madagascar ride, etc. Also not to be missed is the engaging Waterworld live action show and the hilarious-looking Jurassic World show.

There were some cool spots throughout the park for photographs such as at the lake giving a glimpse of a large chunk of the park, the Far Far Away Castle, the Battlestar Galactica roller coasters and the Hollywood street that greets visitors once they enter into the park. The park is quite small but is enough for a full day trip. We left the park at about 7pm and we were very satisfied. We had dinner at the Malaysian Food Street just outside the theme park before leaving the island and get back to our home respectively. The time at there will not be complete without a photograph of the famous ‘Universal Studios’ globe at the entrance of the park.

It was a tiring day but certainly a fun and a memorable one. Had a wonderful experience there and it’s worth 76 dollar from my point of view since I have covered most of the rides and shows (skipped some due to timing as well as certain rides are more kids-oriented). Really enjoyed the trip to Universal Studios Singapore today. I also realized that most attractions here will get you wet, but that for me is a good thing since the weather today was so hot.