Let There Be Light

Recently, I’ve had mixed feelings about how a site of an ongoing project was lit at night. As this was the third test, I wondered how many lighting iterations we'd have to go through in order to achieve a satisfactory result. The warmth and brightness of lights often defy aesthetic expectation despite its intended technical specifications.

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In the past, lighting a house at night was mainly a functional exercise. Generally, light fittings were incandescent and fluorescent. They were usually accented with focus lights fitted with halogen bulbs, but because of their high energy consumption they were used sparingly. Now, LED lighting dominates the market, replacing energy saving bulbs. The decision to use LED lighting is nevertheless a problematic one due to issues of reliability and durability, coupled with the design challenge of matching the site's intended ambience. Despite these concerns, I still tend to opt for LED lighting due to its low energy consumption.

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I am grateful to this group of young people from the lighting supplier for working late so that we could evaluate the options. We have not found the perfect solution just yet, but we are definitely getting closer to it. I suppose there is no shortcut to success.

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Sprucing up the place

When renovating an existing space within my house, I came across some reclaimed spruce which was recommended by a friend who is a builder. As a general rule I would favour local timber over the imported ones for the simple reason of cost and sustainability, primarily due to the significant carbon emissions incurred when transporting materials from overseas. However, I decided to experiment with it when I was told that the spruce was actually reclaimed from internationally packaged cartons which were already in Malaysia, and that they would have otherwise been disposed of.

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However, the issue of strength and aesthetics of the wood had to be looked at carefully. After some consideration I decided that the spruce was to be lightly charred for durability, and that some of them were to be resized into battens to filter sunlight. I was quite lucky to have Munir - an engineer turned passionate craftsman - skilfully bring out the amazing grain of the wood in the movable partitions. The efforts resulted in quite an intriguing space.

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A Humble Inauguration

Welcome to the first blog post of the website. Here I will share my thoughts on the progress and challenges of ongoing architectural projects. I hope that what I have shared here will interest - or perhaps even inform - you in my process when developing a building.

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Recently, I had to add a service stair connecting to the roof for an ongoing project. It presented a challenge as the house was conceived as a pavilion nestled in a lush, green surrounding with an extensive view of the golf course. Any added structure would be a visual obstruction to the landscape. At the same time, the idea of a roof terrace integrating itself into the backdrop of tree tops and open sky is very exciting. So, we needed a diaphanous staircase that does not obscure the view into the landscape and out to the sky. The staircase was finally installed and I think the result justified the agony of resolving the last minute addition. Now the staircase is more than just an access to the roof.

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