Archive for background

Zaha Hadid, the woman behind many fantastic architecture.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2015 by vincentloy

Zaha Hadid is a name no one will not recognize in the world of architecture. Her name always appears in whatever discussion I had with my colleagues about design projects. Her name also appears frequently in architecture-related news or articles since she and her office have been actively producing a lot of striking designs. Well, I guess she is the most famous now among all the present star architects. Well, how did she get there and how did she manage to climb to the top of the profession so successfully?

Let’s talk about a bit of her background. She is an Iraqi-British architect and would be turning 65 by end of this month.  She was born in Baghdad and grew up in one of the city’s first Bauhaus-inspired buildings during an era in which “modernism connoted glamour and progressive thinking” in the Middle East. She studied mathematics at the American University of Beirut before moving to study at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London.

Zaha Hadid Architect

In 2004 she became the first woman recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, the world’s highest honour awarded to architects annually. On the other hand, she had also received Stirling Prize in 2010 and 2011, and RIBA Gold Medal in 2015 (these two prizes are the most prestigious British awards for excellence in architecture). In 2008, she ranked 69th on the Forbes list of “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women”. In 2012, she was also made a dame. Her architectural design firm, Zaha Hadid Architects, employs more than 350 people, and is headquartered in a Victorian former school building in Clerkenwell, London. She is also currently a professor at the University of Applied Arts Vienna in Austria.

Her buildings are distinctively neofuturistic, characterised by the “powerful, curving forms of her elongated structures” with “multiple perspective points and fragmented geometry to evoke the chaos of modern life”. She has been one of my idol architects because her designs are mostly very iconic, striking and usually stood out among the rest. She challenges the typical forms and structures, she gives new depths and dimensions to her spaces, and she ‘carved’ out things that we have never seen before most of the time. I believe that is what makes her works always being regarded as groundbreaking design. Here below are ten of her completed works that I admired:

Hungerburgbahn Station, Innsbruck, Austria.

hungerburgbahn_-_zaha_hadid__03

Bridge Pavilion, Zaragoza, Spain.

5-zaragoza-bridge-pavilion-by-zaha-hadid-architects-2008-zaragoza-spain-luke-hayes

Guangzhou Opera House, Guangzhou, China.

guangzhou_opera_house-19

Galaxy SOHO, Beijing, China.

photo-22

Riverside Museum, Glasgow, Scotland.

1760976_ZHA_Glasgow_HC_5_ready

Heydar Aliyev Center, Baku, Azerbaijan.

Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center by Zaha Hadid06_0

Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan, USA.

50a2aa0ab3fc4b4ec200003d_eli-edythe-broad-art-museum-zaha-hadid-architects_12-34b-57a

Jockey Club Innovation Tower, Hong Kong, China.

zaha-hadid-innovation-tower-designboom-01

Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Seoul, South Korea.

Zaha-Hadid_Dongdaemun-Design-Plaza-Seoul_VSB_01

Wangjing SOHO, Beijing, China.

Wangjing-Soho-by-Zaha-Hadid-photo-Cristiano-Bianchi_dezeen_784_3

These projects above are only the ones completed as she do has a lot of designs not materialized since they are mostly too ambitious and some simply couldn’t accept due to the technical difficulties, high cost, and excessively extravagant appearances. For the most recent example, her winning design proposal for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium is scrapped by the authority due to the above reasons I mentioned earlier. (image below)

7_7tokyo2020

Also, actually, Zaha Hadid had designed a skyscraper in my city, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It’s called Sunrise Tower. Another futuristic looking design with two giant holes puncturing the building’s facade. (image below) However, the developer named other architect to design and Zaha Hadid’s first work in Malaysia could not be materialized. Too bad.

sunrisetower-2

I’m now thinking that it must be very good to work in Zaha Hadid Architects’ office. It’s like you are in a very distinguished design office and whoever ask you, ‘Who are you working for?’, and then I’ll say ‘Zaha Hadid’. Their reaction must be ‘Wow!’. I’m dreaming. Well, it’s like everyone knows her. Yes…even some people who are not in anyway involved in architecture knew her name. How I wish I can be as famous as her in architecture field in the future.

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

 

Advertisements

The still on-going Hong Kong protest, ‘Umbrella Movement’.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2014 by vincentloy

I’m not a Hong Kongers, and I should not actually meddle into the current conflict between Hong Kong’s citizens and China that resulted into nearly a month long protest on various major streets in the city of Hong Kong currently. But since this protest has already attracted worldwide attention, I have my stand to say regarding the situation over there that I wish to share it in my blog here. Besides that, eventhough I’m a Malaysian, but I do find myself quite attached to Hong Kong as I do speak Cantonese and that I’m very familiar with their dramas, films, music and celebrities.

So, how is this protest came about? When Hong Kong’s sovereignty is transferred from Britain to China in 1997, it is agreed by all parties that the socialist system of mainland China will not be practiced in Hong Kong, and that Hong Kong will remain under its capitalist and democratic system. It’s a ‘One Country, Two Systems’ policy. This also allows for universal suffrage to Hong Kong in their election for the Chief Executive, the head of their government and China shall not interfere on it for at least 50 years. However, in late August 2014, the government of mainland China had implemented a new rule that Hong Kong citizens will only be able to vote from a shortlist approved by the pro-Beijing committee. This which will be practiced from 2017’s Chief Executive Election onwards is against the past system of which Hong Kong citizens can nominate their own preferable candidates.

The protest named Occupy Central, spearheaded by large group of students (teenagers and young adults) whom demanded for universal suffrage, started as boycott of classes in the beginning. However, by late September, the protest gained momentum as thousands of people marched on major streets in Hong Kong to voice their objection. They had since encountered police forces and dealt with violence like batons, tear gasses, pepper sprays, fights, etc. Now, it’s already almost the end of October and the protest and clashes are still on-going. I do watched some recordings of the protest and I truly understand the crisis over there.

Image:

First of all, I’m in support of this protest which is now famously called the ‘Umbrella Movement’ or ‘Umbrella Revolution’ (as the pro-democracy activists are using umbrellas as defense against police forces the past few weeks and this had been widely accepted to be their symbol of strength, unity and opposition since then). Their objective is clear and simple; just return to the previous political system and everything will be back to normal. That’s it. The current Chief Executive of Hong Kong, C.Y. Leung agreed for talks with the protesters but insisted that the order from government of mainland China will not be repealed. Then, there’s no point. You are not solving anything eventhough you agree to hold talks. But if I’m the protesters, I would still go for the talks to at least see where we can go further from there to voice their objection.

Protesters carrying umbrellas brave pepper spray used by riot police as tens of thousands of demonstrators block the main street to the financial Central district outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong

Hong-Kong-police-use-tear-gas

I’m also not blaming the police forces too. They are just doing their job and I believe they didn’t mean to harm the citizens. On the other hand, the protesters are peaceful, but in such conflict, clashes are inevitable no matter what. I agreed to their protest but this is taking too long as the government side did not take quick action. The consequences; many roads blocked, inconvenience to many people, downfall of economy, degrading of the city’s peaceful and successful image, impact on tourism, etc for the city. Nobody wanted these, but people’s voices shall be heard as the first priority. I hope this crisis will be over soon with positive outcome to all parties. I’m in support of universal suffrage for Hong Kong. I’m in support for Hong Kong democracy.

Hong Kong people, we hear you. From Malaysia.

Remembering Robin Williams (1951-2014)

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2014 by vincentloy

Quite shocked and saddened by the first news I heard this morning; the sudden death of a popular Hollywood actor and stand-up comedian, Robin Williams. He was 63. I have just recently saw him on the teaser trailer released not long ago for the film ‘Night at the Museum 3’ set to be released this coming Christmas. He was back on the big screen as President Theodore Roosevelt’s wax character in the movie. Didn’t expect that one to be his last film.

thumb-400

Robin Williams was a successful and an award-winning actor. Before he ventured into film career, he starred in several TV series back in 1970s and 1980s. I was not even born yet, hence not having any knowledge of his earlier roles in television career. He had also established himself as a popular stand-up comedian, having organized a number of stand-up comedian tours from 1970s till 2009. He had also involved himself into singing and theaters career and also contributing a lot in charity work. Wow…he was such a diversified star.

Perhaps, we got to know more of him from his roles in multiple films. His notable roles in films such as ‘The World According to Garp’, ‘Good Morning, Vietnam’, ‘Dead Poets Society’, ‘Awakenings’, ‘The Fisher King’, and ‘Good Will Hunting’ for which of the latter, he received Academy Award (Oscars) and Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actor. He was also frequently nominated in Academy Awards for Best Actor; three times from 1987 to 1991 eventhough not winning any for this category. However, he had won Best Actor-Musical or Comedy for his role in ‘Good Morning, Vietnam’ at Golden Globes Award. A great achievement indeed.

His other more popular roles were voicing in animated films like ‘Popeye’, ‘Hook’, ‘Aladdin’, and ‘Happy Feet’ as well as acting in ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’, ‘Jumanji’, ‘The Birdcage’, and the three films in the franchise ‘Night at the Museum’. ‘Jumanji’, a 1995 movie about a board game turning to life is a very interesting film which is then followed by a sequel named ‘Zathura’. But too bad, Robin didn’t return in the sequel. I enjoyed his performance in ‘Jumanji’ very much. He was also doing very well as Theodore Roosevelt, a supporting character in the popular ‘Night at the Museum’ movie franchise. I’m going to watch its latest third installment this coming Christmas.

20140812084502-a2

Earlier reports indicate that he died from asphyxiation. He may have committed suicide in the midst of battle against depression. That’s a very unfortunate dark end to this highly talented actor. I felt so sorry and sorrow just to hear on that. Anyway, I sincerely thank you for all the happiness that you have brought to us through your films. May you rest in peace, Robin Williams (1951-2014).

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

 

 

 

Jackie Chan is now 60 years old. Blog’s post in honour of this superstar.

Posted in Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2014 by vincentloy

Jackie Chan celebrated his 60th birthday yesterday! Couldn’t believe he is now 60. It would be weird if you didn’t know who he is. He needs no further introduction but I’ll just summarize a bit of his background on this post which is dedicated in honour of this wonderful person. Jackie Chan is a Hong Kong superstar, taking the roles of an actor, action choreographer, comedian, director, producer, martial artist, screenwriter, entrepreneur, philanthropist, singer and stunt performer. He has received honourable stars both on Hong Kong’s Avenue of Stars and Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

Jackie Chan

His popularity on both East and West of the world is undeniable. He is famously known for his acrobatic fighting style, comic timing, use of improvised weapons and innovative stunts in most of his trademark films. He is also highly famous for bravely performing all the dangerous stunts required in a film by himself. I really respect his passion and sincerity into producing truly ‘honest’ films. No doubles. I had been watching many of his films (mostly action-comedy, martial-arts based and crime thriller) from my childhood years onwards. I enjoyed most of his films.

jackie_2223079b

And do you know that he had been in acting career from 1960s and had now appeared in over 150 films, a record-breaking figure. Some of his films that are still my favourites after so many years are ‘Project A’ movie franchise, ‘Armor of God’ movie franchise, ‘Police Story’ movie franchise (particularly the one he shot the film in Malaysia with Michelle Yeoh and also another one named ‘New Police Story’ with Daniel Wu as the villain), ‘The Myth’, ‘Rob-b-hood’, ‘CZ12’. Also not to forget some of his great Hollywood films like ‘Rush Hour’ movie franchise, ‘Around the World in 80 Days’, ‘ The Spy Next Door’, ‘The Karate Kid’, etc. He is also a Cantopop and Mandopop star, having performed many theme songs for the films he was involved in.

Everybody knows who he is. His celebrity status? Hmm…I think he is by far the most famous living Asian person, having had success on his homeland, Hong Kong and also abroad, over at Hollywood. He is now 60 years old and I really admire his strength and effort on continuing to act and produce films (especially those that require him to perform stunts). I have heard previously that ‘CZ12’ is going to be his last action films (I was a bit sad that time but I think it maybe a right choice looking at his age), but then he still went on with ‘The Police Story 2013′, his latest released work. Happy that he won’t retire anytime soon.

In honour of his 60th birthday, he held a special charity concert on last weekend at Beijing. Many famous artists like Jay Chou, Wang lee-hom, Nicholas Tse and Leo Ku attended the event held at Beijing Workers’ Stadium. I’m surprised that he is not holding the event of his big day back at Hong Kong. I think now he is focusing more on works at mainland China. Well, happy birthday to him! Will never forget his immense passion and contribution to world film-making. Truly a legend and an international superstar.

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

Pritzker Prize 2014 winner: Shigeru Ban.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2014 by vincentloy

Notable Japanese architect, Shigeru Ban has been named the recipient of Pritzker Prize for the year, the highest honour to a living architect presented out annually. He is the second Japanese architect in a row to receive the coveted prize, following on from last year’s winner, Toyo Ito. He is also the seventh Japanese architect, and overall the 37th recipient to have received this award. Congratulation to Shigeru Ban.

USA-ARCHITECTURE/PRITZKER

Now, here’s a bit of his background, and particularly his design approach that matters. The architect began his career in the office of Arata Isozaka, after being educated in America at the Southern California Institute of Architecture, and then New York’s Cooper Union School of Architecture. He is best-known for projects such as the Cardboard Cathedral (first image below) in New Zealand, and the Centre Pompidou Metz in France, but is also highly respected for his pioneering use of cardboard in disaster relief projects around the world. He founded his own Tokyo practice in 1985 with little experience and went on to complete a number of residential projects in Japan such as Three Walls (1988), Curtain Wall House (1995) (second image below) and Naked House (2000).

Cardboard-cathedral-dezeen

 

Curtain-Wall-House-01-dezeen

His first designs for paper-tube structures were used to provide temporary homes for Vietnamese refugees after the Kobe earthquake in 1995. Since then the architect has travelled to sites of natural and man-made disasters around the world to develop low-cost, recyclable shelters for affected communities. He has also used shipping containers as ready-made elements for permanent and temporary structures.

“Shigeru Ban is a force of nature, which is entirely appropriate in the light of his voluntary work for the homeless and dispossessed in areas that have been devastated by natural disasters,” said jury chairman of the award’s selection, Peter Palumbo. “But he also ticks the several boxes for qualification to the Architectural Pantheon: a profound knowledge of his subject with a particular emphasis on cutting-edge materials and technology, total curiosity and commitment, endless innovation, an infallible eye, an acute sensibility, to name but a few.” Last year Ban completed a temporary cardboard cathedral for Christchurch (2013), after the city’s former Anglican cathedral was destroyed by an earthquake. He has also designed an art museum for Aspen, Colorado, that is set to complete this summer.

Shigeru Ban has my respect and admiration. He truly deserves the award. He is not only a successful architect, but also a great humanitarian. He utilizes the knowledge, skill and creativity he has in architecture to help people by building a better world to them through his innovative and ecological design.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web. Most information in this post are from this source: http://www.dezeen.com/2014/03/24/shigeru-ban-wins-pritzker-prize-2014/).

Sir Run Run Shaw (1907-2014)

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2014 by vincentloy

Hong Kong entertainment mogul, Sir Run Run Shaw (邵逸夫) passed away today at the age of 106. He is popularly known as ‘六叔’ (Uncle Six) in Chinese-populated regions in Asia Pacific. Still didn’t know who he is? Well, he was the founder of Shaw Brothers Studio, a very famous production company in Hong Kong and also one of the largest in the world. He also founded Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB), the dominating television company in Hong Kong from its start to the present days for almost five decades. Not as a mean of disrespect, but I have been curious all the time as I find his name in English is a bit weird (called Run Run Shaw). Anybody could answer me that? Anyway, that’s not important. His success story is more important.

run-run-shaw

Without him, there wouldn’t be Shaw Brothers, the company behind many past successful Hong Kong trademark films. Without him, there wouldn’t be TVB too, that offers us countless of Cantonese television programmes and dramas since almost half a century ago. Under his leadership in the past, both Shaw Brothers and TVB had also been acting as strong platforms to produce many Asian superstars till these days like Maggie Cheung, Chow Yun-fat, Leslie Cheung, Anita Mui, Stephen Chow, Tony Leung, etc. As the ‘father’ of TVB and a pioneer of Hong Kong’s entertainment industry, his contribution was beyond boundary.

He was born in year 1907, at the time when emperor still rules the country. He initially started his business venture at Singapore to market films to Chinese community in South East Asia. That was in late 1920s. Then his business expanded to Malaya (now Malaysia, my country) with opening of over a hundred cinemas by 1940. He and his brother had also established Malay Film Productions in Singapore. That was his early years of success. By 1957, he went to Hong Kong which was the centre of the Chinese film industry at the time and established the Shaw Brothers a year later. From there on, he settled in Hong Kong. In 1960s, Shaw Brothers was noted as Asia’s biggest movie producer. In 1967, he co-founded TVB, the first free-to-air TV station in Hong Kong, and growing it into a multi-billion dollar TV empire. He had also established Shaw Prize, annual international awards  for scientists in three areas of research, namely astronomy, mathematics, and life and medical science. The prize, known as the ‘Nobel Prize of the East’ first started in 2004.

run-run-shaw1

He only retired in 2011 at the age of 104. To recognize and honour his contribution, he had been appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1974 and received knighthood in 1977 from Queen Elizabeth II and the Grand Bauhinia Medal (GBM) from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government in 1998. He had also been awarded several honorary degree from various universities. In 2007, in conjunction with his 100th birthday, he was honoured with Lifetime Achievement Award at Hong Kong Film Awards. Just on December last year, he received the prestigious British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Special Award for his outstanding contribution to cinema.

I used to see him appearing on several TVB shows few years back, usually in awards ceremony and for the station’s anniversary gala celebration. He would be sitting on the front row (definitely) and was accompanied with former Miss Hong Kong pageant. In recent years, he was no longer attending these shows due to his old age. Well, he is certainly blessed to have live such a long and fruitful life. It’s so hard to live over 100 years old. That’s over a century. He must have witnessed a lot of things in his life. His death today must have been a heartbreaking news to countless Hong Kong artists whom individually found success under him. Nevertheless, his legacy as the ‘Godfather of the Chinese Silver Screen’ will be forever remembered. May he rest in peace.

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

Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013)

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2013 by vincentloy

Just few days after receiving news of the death of Paul Walker, one of the main actors in the highly popular Fast and Furious film franchise, today we woke up to another tragic news. Nelson Mandela, the former South African president, died on 5th December at his Johannesburg home after a prolonged lung infection. He was 95. He was one of the most influential political figures in our generation and his contribution to democracy and social freedom stretched beyond possibilities. 

1459661_10152069427379841_746948027_n-540x317

 

(Image source: http://www.blackouthiphop.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/1459661_10152069427379841_746948027_n-540×317.jpg)

He was that famous not only just because he was the former president of South Africa, but also for being the pivotal figure on bringing justice, hope and reconciliation to his country. The anti-apartheid icon had since became an inspiration to the worldwide. Let us look back to a little of his background that made him a respectable global icon. Mandela, the country’s first black president and anti-apartheid icon, emerged from 27 years in apartheid prisons to help guide South Africa through bloodshed and turmoil to democracy. 

Mandela rose from rural obscurity to challenge the might of white minority apartheid government – a struggle that gave the 20th century one of its most loved figures. He was among the first to advocate armed resistance to apartheid in 1960, but was quick to preach reconciliation and forgiveness when the country’s white minority began easing its grip on power 30 years later. He was then elected president in landmark all-race elections in 1994 and retired in 1999. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, an honour he shared with F.W. de Klerk, the white Afrikaner leader who released from jail arguably the world’s most famous political prisoner. As president, Mandela faced the monumental task of forging a new nation from the deep racial injustices left over from the apartheid era, making reconciliation the theme of his time in office.

3380569_c4382497ccdb7f99ce80a4c78fe9cc2008ab756a_545x341

 

(Image source: http://www.leparisien.fr/images/2013/12/05/3380569_c4382497ccdb7f99ce80a4c78fe9cc2008ab756a_545x341.jpg)

In 1999, Mandela handed over power to younger leaders better equipped to manage a modern economy – a rare voluntary departure from power cited as an example to African leaders. In retirement, he shifted his energies to battling South Africa’s AIDS crisis and the struggle became personal when he lost his only surviving son to the disease in 2005. Mandela’s last major appearance on the global stage came in 2010 when he attended the championship match of the soccer World Cup, where he received a thunderous ovation from the 90,000 at the stadium in Soweto, the neighbourhood in which he cut his teeth as a resistance leader.

Upon hearing news of his death, many of worldwide political leaders expressed their grief and condolences for the loss of an honourable man. Out of various notable quotes from Nelson Mandela, I find this to be the most touching; 

“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – from his 1994 autobiography “Long Walk to Freedom”

Earlier, I didn’t know much about him, but I do know a little of how great this man had work for his country and inspire others. And when I researched more about him today, I truly admired him for his strong values in passion, humility, humanity, and his tireless struggle to freedom. He was a legend and needs no further explanation. I had even took a photograph with him (I mean his wax figure in Madame Tussauds Wax Museum) early this year. 

Rest in peace, Nelson Mandela (1918 – 2013)

(Information sources: http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2013/12/06/Nelson-Mandela-Dead.aspxhttp://www.thestar.com.my/News/World/2013/12/06/Factbox–Nelson-Mandela-in-his-own-words.aspx)