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In remembrance of architect giant Ho Wai Ping

The Malaysian real estate industry, on May 31, 2021, has lost a giant in the passing of Ar. Ho Wai Ping, who was the master planner and architect of many outstanding projects such as Putrajaya and the award-winning Desa ParkCity.

The 77-year-old veteran architect had spent 40 years of his professional career in BEP Akitek (formerly known as Booty & Edwards) as a director, both in architecture and town planning.

Ho joined BEP in 1979 to lead the newly established town planning department that would complement the architectural works that the firm was doing. He was made a director in 1982 and retired from the company on March 31, 2019.

Under Ho’s leadership, BEP’s planning arm has become one of the pioneers in the country’s township planning. The firm has undertaken numerous township plannings such as the 5,000-acre Swee Lam estate in Kulai, Johor; 900 acres in Bandar Puteri Puchong, 640 acres in Damansara Perdana, and the 98-acre Symphony Hills in Cyberjaya – all within Selangor.

Having worked closely with Ho since day one, BEP director Kam Pak Cheong says prior to joining the company, Ho was an experienced architect and had worked quite a number of years in government agencies since Malaysia announced its independence in 1957.


 

“Ho headed our town planning department. His knowledge in this field had helped us to realise many notable schemes. Though not widely known, the Putrajaya master plan was one of them,” he tells EdgeProp.my.

Pioneering the Garden City concept

Reminiscing the process of winning the opportunity to participate in the master planning of Putrajaya, Kam says Ho’s valuable input made BEP’s proposal stand out from others and get chosen by the then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his team.

In conceptualising the master plan for Putrajaya back in the 90s, which was poised to become Malaysia’s administrative capital, Ho saw the natural beauty of the land. Hence, he suggested incorporating a large waterbody around the city and retaining as much as possible the natural contours of the land.

This concept, dubbed “Garden City”, was considered new and bold back in the 90s as many green areas were preserved.

However, the feather in his cap would have to be the multi-award winning master plan for Desa ParkCity, a 440-acre development towards Bandar Menjalara, Kepong, Kuala Lumpur.

A holistic planning was needed to make Desa ParkCity one of the most liveable communities and desirable locations for homebuyers in the Klang Valley.

“Sustainability was Ho’s main consideration when planning every detail of the township – to ensure a community can thrive in it,” Kam points out.

Sad news to the fraternity

The news of Ho’s passing has shocked the real estate fraternity, especially for those who had worked with him before.

The builder of Desa ParkCity – ParkCity Group – is saddened by the news. Its executive chairman Datuk Sri Yaw Chee Siew describes Ho as a great master-planner and architect.

“I remember him as an enthusiastic, visionary, driven and futuristic architect. It was indeed an honour to have had him as our master-planner and architect. We had come a long way. In fact, we had continuously stayed in touch and engaged him even in recent years for his ideas. He was so humble and ever willing to share,” Yaw recounted.

Meanwhile, ParkCity Group CEO Datuk Joseph Lau said the loss of Ho is immeasurable.

“We first made acquaintance with the late Ar. Ho when we started the Desa ParkCity master planning. He was indeed a great master-planner and architect. A great ParkCity friend, he was ever willing to continuously share his thoughts with us. He left behind a timeless legacy of his creations in the real estate landscape,” says Lau.

One of the best master-planners in the country

An award-winning architect and a past president of the Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM) Dr Tan Loke Mun remembers Ho as a quiet but very nice man.

“He was one of my bosses at BEP Akitek in 1992 when I first came back. He did many outstanding and award-winning projects but was always very humble. My favourites are Putrajaya and Desa ParkCity. I would say Wai Ping was one of the best master-planners and architects in Malaysia. It is a great loss to the industry,” Tan says.

Malaysia ecological architecture and eco-master plan architect Datuk Dr. Ken Yeang, who also studied in the Architectural Association as Ho, told EdgeProp.my that Ho will be greatly missed.

“Ho attended the Architectural Association Graduate School and did the town planning diploma, while I was at the Architectural Association’s diploma school. He and his wife lived, I think, in a basement flat at Belsize Park. Both were extremely kind and always cooked dinner for me. His daughter later worked for me for a while.

“He had an earnest, forthright and likeable personality. I will miss Ho Wai Ping greatly,” Yeang shares. 

This story first appeared in the EdgeProp.my E-weekly on June 4, 2021. You can access back issues here.

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