Architecture competition to recognise regional young talent

THE idea for the inaugural Architecture Asia Awards for Emerging Architects (AAAEA) came from the “30 Under 40 Emerging Malaysian Architects” exhibition in 2011.

“The exhibition allowed young architects to showcase their works and we were thinking about how to bring it to the next level. As PAM is organising the bi-annual Asian Congress of Architects Malaysia this year, we thought it was the best time to merge all these ideas together and start a regional competition,” says Boon Che Wee, convener for AAAEA.

According to Boon, the award also aims to encourage Asian property developers to look for architects within Asia for their projects.

The introduction of the award is timely as Asia continues to be the hubs for global economic growth and for the creative and design industry, where the next generation will rise and take the lead in the future, says Boon.

PAM hopes it will be an annual competition, he adds.

During his tenure as president of PAM from 2009 to 2011, Boon led the institute in launching the “30 Under 40 Emerging Malaysian Architects” exhibition as well as the annual Kuala Lumpur Architecture Festival to establish the capital as an international design hub.

The AAAEA is open to all architects aged 40 or younger this year and professionally registered in Asia. Entrants may be individuals, or employees and members of partnerships, companies or collaborative groups.

Works must have been completed after 2009 in or outside Asia. One entrant may submit more than one entry, but every entry must be registered and submitted separately.

Lucky Shophouse in Singapore

The jury will decide on the categories the entries will fall into, including master plans, new and refurbished buildings or extensions, new and refurbished interiors, infrastructures, urban design, temporary structures, portable installations, exhibition and theatrical works.

The jury panel consists of five judges — Lee Chor Wah, Jan Opdekamp, Much Untertrifaller, Professor Alberto Ferlenga and Martin Duplantier. They are also the speakers at Datum: KL.

PAM has received 50 entries from 10 countries, which will be judged on their creativity, sustainability, and contribution to the advancement of architectural design and architectural technology in Asia. The 21 shortlisted entries will be exhibited online and during the Datum: KL International Architectural Design Conference, where the finalists will deliver a presentation to the jury panel. Later, awards will be presented to the 10 winners, as well as certificates to all finalists. The winners will be featured in the 2014 issue of Architecture Asia.

According to Boon, the entries came from China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The award was promoted in other countries through various architecture organisations. “As this is the first year, we didn’t set any categories,” he says. “The response is better than expected, as we expected 30 entries.”

Finalists’ responses

Japanese finalist Yoshiaki Tanaka explains that his entry, ORIGAMI, was designed for a young couple that lived in the city and is now returning home to mountain ranges.

“I was thinking about how we should design this home for the clients, to enable them to live peacefully in this location while building a new relationship with the local people,” he says. “In my country, origami is deeply rooted as child’s play. When I picked up a piece of paper and started to fold it into a shape without much consideration, it almost became this diagonal roof shape.”

The design features a roof that looks like it has been folded in five places. It also provides a structure that helps to protect against wind and earthquakes.

He sees the AAAEA as a platform for people to learn about his work and subsequently provide him with an opportunity to design buildings in countries outside of Japan.

Singaporean architect Chang Yong Ter’s two entries, Lucky Shophouse and Namly House, made it into the final round. This award, he says, offers great opportunity for the exchange of design ideas and experiences in the respective practices and context. It also provides inspiration for Asian architects of the new era.

“Lucky Shophouse is a conservation project involving a new extension at the rear [of a shophouse],” he says. “This had influenced the design of the rear extension, resulting in a new single-storey structure that aims to be contemporary, yet is in sync with the old-world charms that the front of the shophouse exudes.”

Most of the design ideas and decisions, he adds, were influenced and guided by the site forces such as the finishes, layout and daylighting control. Some decisions were made during construction, in response to unforeseen site constraints and upon discovery of certain existing site conditions.

“The final result rekindles the communal spirit of yesteryear — the days of living in a community where homes were interconnected social spaces, of spaces that were simple and adaptive, and where the rituals of everyday life were enriched by architecture,” he notes.

Namly House, meanwhile, is a direct response to the client’s aim to have two homes in one concrete building, in a tropical environment. The house demonstrates the potential of new definitions of tropicality, and offers refreshing solutions in responding to the tropical climate.

“It also points to new directions of housing a multi-generation family, offering contemporary living and promoting harmonious living among family members of different generations,” he says.

This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on June 23 - June 29, 2014.


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