Ko Shiou Hee began his career with Morphosis, then moved on to Kohn Pederson & Fox, followed by IM Pei in the US, before returning to Asia. He then spent two years in Tokyo as a design consultant. In 1993, he decided to return to Singapore and set up K2LD Architects in 2000. Ko, who likes design that expresses spatial clarity and inspires a spiritual response, says architecture has always interested him as an art form that requires science to construct and transform into reality. He describes his creations as a quiet response to his clients’ aspirations and a quest to provide spatial clarity within which the human spirit can operate.
“Nothing encapsulates this better than the quote by Issey Miyake, the most influential Japanese fashion designer, who said ‘My creation is never complete until the wearer wears it’. In my case, my creation is never complete until the occupier lives in it and makes it his own,” he says.
He says his curiosity about everything, from quantum theory, genetics, pottery, and sculpture to fuzzy logic, is what inspires his designs.
“This curiosity is the driving force behind what I do and how I inspire myself to design and to see things differently each time,” he says.
The current trend in architectural design, he says, emphasises on being environment-friendly and sustainable.
“One of the most challenging works I’ve done was building a small addition for a study in the large, lush garden of a house, where I was asked not to cut down any trees,” he says. “Another challenge was that the building was not supposed to be seen from the main house.
“It was the first ‘non-architecture’ building I built. My ego disappeared with the building ... It was exciting and very satisfactory.”
Among the projects Ko is currently working on are a 24-storey green hotel in Penang as an extension to the G Hotel, a 38-storey office tower in Kuala Lumpur and a small church building in Singapore. His previous projects include Wind Catcher House and Hillside Residence, both in Singapore.
This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 812, June 28-July 4, 2010
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