Saturday, November 29, 2008

cover story by a practising architect on my design

The Straits Times, our local newspaper on 19 Feb 1992

"Any building worthy of an award must have three basic qualities - be appropriate, practical and pleasing to the eye.This may seem obvious but the truth is, many buildings in Singapore do not possess even one of these criteria.For a country with such a short history, Singapore has quite an impressive architectural infrastructure. The country has many fine traditional, colonial, as well as modern buidlings.

In recognising this rich heritage, the Singapore Institute of Architects(SIA) gives design awards every few years to projects which have contributed to Singapore's architectural excellence.The last SIA Design Awards were held in 1987.This year's award presentations, the third in the series, will be held on Saturday at the Alkaff Mansion. It will see 7 buildings receiving the SIA Design Award and 27 others, the Honourable Mention.

One of the winners of the Design Award is the Clementi Sports Hall, which was completed by the Housing and Development Board(HDB). A formal simplicity is evident in the building, which is essentially a square box with repetitive elevations, and is a deceivingly clever architectural statement.

It sits on a higher level than the entrance approach and the impact of scale is exaggerated as you step up to it.Four perimeter walls support a steel roof consisting of a spaceframe system providing a clear uninterrupted open space for the sports hall.The overpowering roof completely dominates the surrounding townscape, giving it an unavoidable sense of importance.Specially-fabricated, curved-sectioned metal louvres suspended vertically within the outward sloping roof profile allow efficient cross ventilation, yet effectively keeping out rain and glare.

This, and the other five projects highlighted here, represent milestones by which standards for architectural excellence in Singapore can be set. They are functional, economical and elegant. They fit in with the neighbourhood, are user-friendly and are well built. They prove that good design need not be extravagant or gimmicky.

They also prove that Singapore architects are more than capable of producing prize-winning architecture."