I.M. Pei, one of the world’s most famous and greatest architects, dies aged 102.


Ieoh Ming Pei, or simply known as I.M. Pei is a name no stranger to anyone in the architecture field across the world. I’m certain there are a lot of people not within this field do heard of this name before too. He is the man behind some of the world’s most recognizable buildings in the world.

He is one of the earlier architects that I have researched before in my undergraduate study years ago. I have read some architecture books that present some of his best works and I’m very inspired. I did wrote a blog post about this legendary architect two years ago too, in conjunction with his 100th birthday (link: https://vincentloy.wordpress.com/2017/04/28/i-m-pei-an-architect-who-just-celebrated-his-100th-birthday/).

This time around, I’m writing about the news of his death and the huge legacy he left behind in the world of design and architecture. He passed away yesterday at the age of 102.

Here’s come a quick biography; I.M.Pei, a Chinese-American architect was born in Guangzhou in 1917. In 1935, he moved to United States to began his architectural education. His career lasted for over 60 years and he had designed over 70 buildings across the world. Some of his most famous works are as follow:

Mesa Laboratory, Colorado, USA (1967)

Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, New York, USA (1973)

John F. Kennedy Library, Boston, USA (1979)

Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas, USA (1989)

Bank of China Tower, Hong Kong, China (1989)

The Gateway, Singapore (1990)

Louvre Pyramid, Paris, France (1993)

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Ohio, USA (1995)

Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar (2008)

Macao Science Center, Macao, China (2009)

Some awesome buildings, right? His design style is very obvious; his emphasis on strong geometric patterns enable him to create some very distinctive buildings ranging from museums to skyscrapers around the globe. He has won various awards and honors in the past; AIA Gold Medal in 1979, 2010 Royal Gold Medal from Royal Institute of British Architects, 1983 Pritzker Prize, 2003 Henry C. Turner Prize, 1992 Presidential Medal of Freedom, etc.

R.I.P, I.M. Pei. You have been a huge inspiration to me and I hope to be just as half as successful as you are (that would be great already).

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

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Jewel Changi Airport shows the world how an airport can be super awesome.


Jewel Changi Airport is a mixed-use development at Changi Airport in Singapore that comprises of indoor gardens, attractions, a hotel, aviation facilities, and a mall of over 300 retail and dining facilities. The main attraction of this ‘mall-in-airport’ complex is an indoor waterfall which is the largest in the world at 40 metres tall. Pictures of the majestic waterfall has been circulating on the internet for some time now since its preview opening earlier this month (11th April). Jewel officially opened to the public on 17th April 2019 (10 days ago).

I have to be there to witness the awesomeness of this structure, and this weekend is the perfect time for it (I was back in Malaysia on last weekend and hence I have to wait it out till this weekend to visit it). I also heard that the crowd last weekend is insane. I went there this afternoon and there are still a lot of people. I’m in disbelief and shock after seeing hundreds of people queuing for certain stores or restaurants there (Shake Shack, Pokemon, A&W, etc).

It took me over an hour to take various pictures of Jewel, particularly its central iconic waterfall (of course) from various angles and positions on different levels of the mall. The canopy park on the highest level is not opened yet (will be opened on June). I left Jewel quite early as I don’t like huge crowd (I have to skip the evening light show…have already watched it online from videos by others). I have seen what I wanted to see and here are some of the amazing shots I have taken:

Jewel Changi Airport certainly shows to the world how an airport can be super awesome and different. You do not only put a mall into it, but you create something unique to turn it into a spectacular destination. The glass-dome structure and the indoor gardens do remind me of Gardens by the Bay. It looks like Singapore is really good on such thing. By the way, Jewel is designed by Moshe Safdie, the same architect behind the iconic Marina Bay Sands. My first impression of it; it’s like entering Jurassic World! Such a beautiful building!

20 coolest buildings in Singapore.


I saw several Youtube videos of people listing their most favourite, coolest or iconic buildings in Singapore just now and it escalates my interest to compile a list of my own too. I have been staying in Singapore for about a year now and I’m really fascinated with some amazing buildings over here. Singapore do really know how to build icons with impressive design and architecture. After a bit of research, here are the 20 coolest buildings in Singapore (based on my personal view). I have visited 13 of them so far and I planned to visit the rest soon. (the list here is not in particular order).

1 – Marina Bay Sands

Quick info: An integrated resort of three hotel towers topped with 340m long SkyPark, casino, shopping mall, Art & Science Museum, Helix Bridge and convention centre. It was billed as the world’s most expensive standalone casino property at S$8 billion, including the land cost during its opening.

Architect: Moshe Safdie

Year opened: 2010

2 – Reflections at Keppel Bay

Quick info: A residential complex of 6 sleek curving towers and 11 low-rise villa apartments.

Architect: Daniel Libeskind

Year opened: 2011

3 – The Hive @ Nanyang Technological University

Quick info: Also known as the Learning Hub, the building consists of 12 eight-storey towers arranged around a naturally ventilated public atrium. The towers that contain corner-less classrooms taper towards the base. Building popularly called as the ‘dim-sum basket’.

Architect: Thomas Heatherwick

Year opened: 2015

4 – The Interlace

Quick info: A 1000-unit apartment complex with design that looks like 31 bricks irregularly stacked upon one another, resembling Jenga blocks. It was named World Building Of The Year in 2015 World Architecture Festival.

Architect: OMA & Ole Scheeren

Year opened: 2013

5 – Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay

Quick info: A performing arts centre near the mouth of Singapore River. Nicknamed the ‘durian building’, the design consists of two rounded space frames fitted with triangulated glass elements and sunshades.

Architect: DP Architects & Michael Wilford & Partners.

Year opened: 2002

6 – School of Art, Design and Media @ Nanyang Technological University

Quick info: Campus building with sloping green roof. Another similar building to this is the Marina Barrage’s visitor centre.

Architect: CPG Consultants Pte. Ltd.

Year opened: 2006

7 – Golden Mile Complex

Quick info: A fine example of brutalist architecture. A high-rise commercial and residential building in a stepped-terrace structure.

Architect: DP Architects

Year opened: 1973

8 – The Colonnade

Quick info: A residential tower that also resembles Jenga block; boxes protruding in and out between exposed round concrete columns.

Architect: Paul Rudolph

Year opened: 1985

9 – ParkRoyal on Pickering

Quick info: ‘Hotel-in-a-garden’ concept. Extensive greenery incorporated into glass-clad hotel building in the form of elevated terraced gardens.

Architect: WOHA

Year opened: 2013

10 – Sky Habitat

Quick info: Two stepping residential towers with bridging sky gardens.

Architect: Moshe Safdie

Year opened: 2015

11 – The Pinnacle @ Duxton

Quick info: 50-storey residential development of 7 towers connected by the world’s two longest sky gardens (on 26th and 50th floor) at 500m length each. All seven towers are the world’s tallest public residential buildings. Conferred the 2010 Best Tall Building (Asia and Australasia) award by Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH).

Architect: ARC Studio Architecture + Urbanism, RSP Architects

Year opened: 2009

12 – Oasia Hotel Downtown

Quick info: A distinctive looking hotel building due to its red aluminium mesh cladding with different tones and acts as a backdrop for creepers. Open spaces carved out from the tower to create public spaces on the sky. Awarded Best Tall Building Worldwide in 2018 by CTBUH.

Architect: WOHA

Year opened: 2016

13 – DUO Twin Towers

Quick info: Two expressive sculptural towers with honeycomb patterned facade.

Architect: Ole Scheeren

Year opened: 2018

14 – Marina One

Quick info: Mixed-use development (two residential towers and two office towers) enveloping ‘The Heart’, a podium with courtyard that features extensive greenery and landscaping. A perfect example of ‘do not judge a book by its cover’ statement applied to a building. Highlight of the complex is not on its external facade (typical massive, box glass buildings) but on its contrasting fluid internal perimeter.

Architect: Ingenhoven Architects

Year opened: 2018

15 – Jewel @ Changi Airport

Quick info: A shopping mall with indoor gardens and the world’s tallest indoor waterfall by the airport. Newly opened.

Architect: Moshe Safdie & RSP Architects

Year opened: 2019

16 – SkyVille @ Dawson

Quick info: Highlight of this residential complex is the public, external, shared spaces interwoven through the cluster of towers from ground to roof. Fine example of great passive and sustainable design as well as community living.

Architect: WOHA

Year opened: 2015

17 – Gardens by the Bay

Quick info: Futuristic looking nature park spanning 101 hectares on reclaimed land. Main features are the two cooled conservatories (Flower Dome and Cloud Forest, the former being the largest glass greenhouse in the world, they are both column-less) and Supertree Grove (tree-like structures with elevated walkway).

Architect: Conservatories by WilkinsonEyre and Grant Associates, Supertree Grove by Grant Associates.

Year opened: 2012

18 – Kampung Admiralty

Quick info: Singapore’s first integrated retirement community project. Named 2018 World Building Of The Year at the 2018 World Architecture Festival. The scheme builds upon a layered ‘club sandwich’ approach. A “Vertical Kampung (village)” is devised, with a Community Plaza in the lower stratum, a Medical Centre in the mid stratum, and a Community Park with apartments for seniors in the upper stratum.

Architect: WOHA

Year opened: 2018

19 – Lasalle College of the Arts

Quick info: A cluster of sculpted blocks arranged around a central public social space defines the form of the campus.

Architect: RSP Architects

Year opened: 2007

20 – National Stadium @ Singapore Sports Hub

Quick info: A multi-purpose stadium that features a domed roof structure with retractable roof (the world’s largest retractable dome). It also has configurable seating on the lowest tier to make it the only stadium in the world that is custom designed to host football, rugby, cricket and athletics events. Has maximum seating capacity of 55 000.

Architect: DP Architects

Year opened: 2014

So which one are your favourite buildings? Or is there any spectacular buildings that I have missed out? Feel free to comment.

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

 

 

 

Arata Isozaki is the recipient of Pritzker Prize 2019


Before the news broke out, I’m quite certain that not many of us in architectural profession have heard of this architect named Arata Isozaki. After he won the Pritzker Prize 2019 (Pritzker Prize is the highest honor given out annually to architect), he immediately becomes famous (been seeing his name frequently in all the shared news of him winning the prestigious award recently for this year). He is the 49th architect and the 8th Japanese architect to win the prize.

So, who is Arata Isozaki? Born in 1931 in Oita, a town on Japan’s Island of Kyushu, Isozaki’s path into architecture was profoundly affected by the world events of the time. Isozaki was just 12 years old when Hiroshima and Nagasaki were decimated in World War Two; his own hometown was burned to the ground during the war. “When I was old enough to begin an understanding of the world, my hometown was burned down. Across the shore, the Atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, so I grew up on ground zero. It was in complete ruins, and there was no architecture, no buildings and not even a city…So, my first experience of architecture was the void of architecture, and I began to consider how people might rebuild their homes and cities.”

He graduated from University of Tokyo, majored in architecture and engineering. He worked under Kenzo Tange (another famous architect who won Pritzker Prize in 1987) before establishing its own firm in 1963. Despite designing buildings both inside and outside Japan, Isozaki has been described as an architect who refuses to be stuck in one architectural style, highlighting “how each of his designs is a specific solution born out of the project’s context.”

Some of Arata Isozaki’s notable projects are:

1 – Qatar National Convention Center, Doha, Qatar (2011)

2 – Nara Centennial Hall, Nara, Japan (1998)

3 – Krakow Congress Center, Krakow, Poland (2014)

4 – Himalayas Center, Shanghai, China (2013)

5 – Museum of Contemporary Arts, Los Angeles, USA (1997)

6 – Toyonokuni Library for Cultural Resources, Oita, Japan (1995)

7 – Art Tower Mito, Ibaraki, Japan (1990)

8 – Museum of Modern Art, Gunma, Japan (1974)

9 – Domus: La Casa Del Hombre, Le Coruna, Spain (1995)

10 – Allianz Tower, Milan, Italy (2014)

I didn’t know much about him but just by looking at some of his projects, it’s adamant that he is not bound by a single architectural style. Different design style to different context. That’s a statement I agree to. Designing is all about responding to the context although each outlook varies significantly. Arata Isozaki is now 88 years old and I wish congratulation to him for being this year’s recipient of an award that all architects in this world dream of winning.

References:

https://www.archdaily.com/912581/the-definitive-works-of-2019-pritzker-prize-winner-arata-isozaki

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arata_Isozaki

https://www.dezeen.com/2019/03/05/arata-sozaki-wins-pritzker-prize-2019-architecture/

https://www.archdaily.com/912450/arata-isozaki-named-2019-pritzker-prize-laureate

(Images in this post are from various online sources)

 

The ‘106’ and ‘118’ towers.


Whenever you see a postcard depicting city skyline of Kuala Lumpur, you will see KL Tower on the left and Petronas Twin Towers on the right with other shorter buildings occupying the rest of the picture. If you have been to Kuala Lumpur years ago and happened to be returning to the city recently, you would notice a dramatic change to the city skyline; there are a lot more new buildings being constructed in the city making it denser than before. The most noticeable would be one massive new tower now situated right in the middle of the view usually depicted in the city postcard as mentioned earlier.

It is the Exchange 106 Tower. It is a massive 106-storey tall office tower on the planned new financial district of Kuala Lumpur called Tun Razak Exchange. It is still under construction but has already topped out months ago to its final architectural height of 445 metres. Previously, many people including media and even the developer informed the public that the tower will be 492 metres high and will become the country’s new tallest building (dethroning the 452-metres tall Petronas twin Towers). However, after some research and study on its sectional drawing, I can confirm to you that the building will be only 445 metres as accurately shown in the CTBUH’s Skyscraper Center database.

The earlier claim of 492m is actually referring to the height of the tower when measured from the sea level. Exchange 106 Tower is indeed only 445m tall and is 7m shorter than Petronas Twin Towers. Nevertheless, it is still a huge skyscraper and its dominant presence in the city now is of no doubt. The tower will still hold the record for being the first building in South East Asia to have over 100 floors. The skeletal framing of the tower’s majestic crown is completed and work is on-going now for the installation of specially-made glass cladding to the crown. The tower is expected to be completed by end of this year.

Petronas Twin Towers remain as the country’s tallest buildings but that won’t last for long. Another building planned to reach a whopping 644m is currently under construction in the city too. It is the Merdeka PNB118 Tower. This tower is currently rising pretty fast and is now already towering over that region occupied by historical and low-rise buildings. When completed in 2021 (most probably will top out in 2020), it will be among the world’s top 5 tallest buildings. A mixed-use tower of 118 floors, PNB118 Tower goes beyond the 600m-mark thanks to its extremely long spire on its top.

That’s how it will look like when completed (rendering of the project superimposed onto the current construction progress image).

Can’t wait to see them fully completed and looking forward to more new skyscrapers in Kuala Lumpur.

(Images in this post are from Skyscraper City forum webpages)

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


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

 

 

 

Malaysian Prime Ministers’ legacy in the form of skyscrapers.


It’s June 9th today and that means exactly one month has passed since the Malaysia’s 14th General Election. This election is particularly historic as it marked the first time in history of the country that the opposition won, defeating the ruling coalition that has been the government since independence 61 years ago. Datuk Seri Najib’s time as Prime Minister was over and he also resigned as President of his Malay-based party, UMNO. Tun Mahathir get to return to the Prime Minister he once held before for 22 years in the past, and this time he is representing Pakatan Harapan, and not Barisan Nasional. A lot of changes were immediately implemented, partly to fulfill the alliance’s manifesto and also partly to ‘cleanse’ the governing systems of the country.

It’s unfortunate that Najib is still roaming freely although he is supposed to be arrested for all the crimes and wrongdoings he and his wife had done, and all the troubles he had contributed to all Malaysians. Both of them of course denied all of it but hopefully the truth will prevail. So many cash, jewelleries and handbags found in their various homes and they claimed those are their personal items, gifts from the others, and money belonging to the UMNO party. What a joke! Dumb lies, one after another! Remember the 2.6 billion in his private bank account and he stated that it is a donation from Arab. He and his cronies should not exist by now already.

Pakatan government is doing a good job so far. If they have not been doing well, we will kick them out in the next election too. However, as for now, we should gave them time and chance since this is their first time on the federal level (except Mahathir) without any prior experience, and they have to continue on to resolve all the ‘shits’ (such as the sky high national debt) that BN had left in the past. Hopefully, we will be hearing more good news to all Malaysians. In this one month alone, we have already been greeted with a number of positive news like abolishing of GST, freeing of Anwar Ibrahim, commencement of full investigation on 1MDB scandal, etc.

Najib is no longer in power but his so-called ‘legacy’ is still highly visible in the form of a skyscraper in the heart of the city of Kuala Lumpur. The Exchange 106 Tower which will be 106 storeys and 492 metres tall when completed is nearing the topping out stage. The skyscraper is in the Tun Razak Financial District project under the scandal-hit 1MDB. The structural steel work for the crown of the tower is concluding and that means the tower is now reaching its final height. Some sources said it will be only 446 metres tall but some said it will be 492 metres. There’s a confusion there, probably due to the variance by different parties on where the height is measured from. I think it stands taller than 452-metres tall Petronas Twin Towers and so The Echange 106 will probably be 492 metres tall. Here’s some latest images of the tower.

Another much taller tower is also approved under Najib’s tenure as Prime Minister in the past. The PNB118 Tower which will be more than 600 metres high when completed is currently under construction too. But for this project, it is still a long way to go before completion.

These two projects are often seen as the way Najib left a mark on the capital just like the iconic Petronas Twin Towers during Tun Mahathir’s time as the fourth prime minister previously. I’m not against these new rising towers (only against the people behind it), but I do really sometime question the need of more supertall office sksycrapers in the city which is still considered small and already has plenty of vacant office spaces.

(Images in this post are from skyscrapercity.com)