Archive for the Architecture Category

Portfolio in the making

Posted in Architecture, Art/Inspiration/Creativity on October 13, 2008 by shiying86



Posted in Architecture, Art/Inspiration/Creativity, Reflections, Travels and Adventure on June 27, 2008 by shiying86

Sunnataram Pagoda

Photograph by Cheng Tuck Lim

I have always been awed that it took inexperience monks a total of 5 years to built this monument from scratch. It is indeed a building thats stands for greatness, time and strength. Like an architect I met there said, “Even if you laid one bloody stone up there, you will still feel proud to be able to say that ‘I helped built that.'” To be able to built an ancient pagoda with today technological advances gives no suprise to anyone. But to understand that this came by with limited funds, inexperienced designers and monks as builders, is enough to make any person swoon. Not to forget this pagoda is not a off-the-shelf copy. In order words, its is unique.

However, my recent trip there, I learned from a monk with no prior design experience that architectural design like everything else, begins with a pure and good intention.


Photograph by Cheng Tuck Lim


The intention of wanting to do good.

Sounds too simple to be true, but every single detail, idea concepts is about the intention you have and the action you make, the steps you take and the end results produced.

All determined simply by that sheer power of intention. Certainly, I have no intention to say that, once the intention to built something great is there, hocus-pocus it happens- but rather, the importance of this intention. I have often complain how hard architecture is, and sometimes its not about the amount of work involved, but rather how it messes up your head.

All the intentions that one may have, not necessarily, it can be realized. Adjustments to be made, expectations to be crushed. It drives me crazy when I start pondering the purpose of me doing this, changing that, altering this, and designing that. Why? How? What? There are so many paths to reach the same goal, which one am I choosing? but before that, how do I even determine my goal?

This is where I learn how important intention is. The strength of a good intention lies in how bloody badly u want that intention to be good. Sounds wrong? Case in point is the Gratitude Pagoda. There could have been many ways to built it-they could have raise enough money to get builders to do it, they could have just copied off some pagoda in Thailand (Who would care anyway?) or simply, build an easier, simpler one-like the usual concrete cement ones coated in brilliant gold paint. BUT it is a self-designed sandstone pagoda. Something you can only find in NSW with its abundance of sandstone, a signature that this monument will stand against time and tide. 

Photograph by Cheng Tuck Lim

The intention to give something back to the Buddhist community produced a masterpiece. The greatness does not merely lie in the aesthetically pleasing monument, as the outcome of wanting to built a pagoda to house the Buddha Relics; but it is also to bring people together to help built this monument. When a visitor approaches it, His ears pleased by the chiming of the bells when blown by wind; His eyes marvel the timeless stone structure; His heart feels peace with it sitting among nature, both palms just naturally come together as he breathes in the essence of spirituality. This is the effect that how architecture can effect one person. But to deepen on that concept, to understand that the number of bells were used not only for that reason but it is also etched with blessings on it. Every single one of them, so when the wind blows, may the blessings fall upon everyone. The eight turning corners to represent the noble eight fold path. And much much more. This is one building that people want to study, to admire, not just for its beauty, the multiple meaning it embodies.

Not one to appreciate architecture? Well, that intention to spread goodness is in every stone, sweat, and time invested in the building. What proves to be great, is not the greatness itself, but the ability to inspire others to do great things. 

“When others look at the building, they see how beautiful it is. But I see the beauty in it because of the Metta (love and kindness) and willingness of many different people coming together to help built it.” 

This strikes me that-it is for the simple intention of spreading goodness to building a pagoda that one realizes that it all clicks. The determination of staying true to the right intention, allows the building to inspire others to actually help realize the goal and also inspire them to have similar intentions. The intention slowly unfolds into inspiration and has a domino effect and many different people-to when it is being built extending to the future to when it becomes a ruin. If you are able to see and understand the underlying workings of buildings as such, or create that inspiration in others, the satisfaction is indescribable.

Architect’s Perspective Drawing

Getting good marks on a project I work my ass off one whole semester definitely did not give me as much satisfaction as help throwing gravels down to form the foundation/mixing cement knowing that my efforts would actually make a difference in someone else’s life.


My architecture tour destination:Copenhagen

Posted in Architecture, Photography, Travels and Adventure on February 28, 2008 by shiying86

If I were to rate the most photogenic building it would be this:

Tietgenkollegiet,  Student accommodation at Universitetet

A circular building, with a centralised garden square in the centre and each storeys jutting in and out like LEGO boxes.

It’s beautiful to capture,


whether it’s closed up;


from far;




or out.

Architecture walks are made extremely convenient in copenhagen. With websites like and even the main tourist website, Of course, it would be great help if one could understand Danish, with their more extensive books and sites in their language.

These websites provide convenient instructions and even architectural ‘podwalks’ around the city. SO all you have to do, is download, print a map and your good to go.


Information Boards

More convenient is the fact that new architecture are just lines a long the metro stations. And description of these buildings, architects etc. are even ‘advertised’ at the station itself. Talk about media coverage.

Kongens Nytorv (pronounced as Kon’s Nov-something to that effect)Metro Station, it means King’s New Square

Not to forget, The Scandinavians are extremely proud of their designs with architects like Jørn Utzon(The Sydney Opera), von Sprechelsen, La Grande Arche at La Defence in Paris and the very popular Henning Larsen all hailing from Denmark(The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Riyadh).

I do not intend anyway to describe the buildings that I have saw. Maybe I lack the guts to, or maybe I’m just too lazy. Guess mostly it’s because I forgot even how to pronounce their names and my architecture books from Denmark are still somewhere in the Pacific Ocean making its way to me. But it certainsly has made a big impact top me and I wish to document them before I I forget how they even look like.

This is the ‘Walk along Metro’ or rather for me: the ride on Metro, weather was so cold+rain prevents me from going up close to the building.

The very cool VM Husen (VM housing) by Plot. Photos from:, for more please visit the website.


Bella Centre

Field’s Shopping mall; Will you just look at those glass columns?

Description on Fields

An apartment right next to Tietgenkollegiet

Of course I must not leave out the architecture icons of Copenhagen:

Operaen (The Royal Opera House) by Henning Larsen Architects

The Operaen from oposite the Canal

The Playhouse/Royal Theatre by Lundgaard & Tranberg

Royal Library, more commonly known as the Black Diamond: The older building is encased inside the black granites, thus giving its name. The interior was cery dynamic as old and new coexist inside the ‘diamond’.

Directly opposite is the Nordea Bank by Henning Larsens Architects. More would be described in other post ;), as I’m getting lazy.

The Dansk Jødisk Museum(The Danish Jewish Museum) exterior

The interior of the museum was redeisgn to reflect the dynamism of the Jewish life for 400 years in Denmark. Interestingly, the way the modern interior, with strips of lights, juxtaposed against the arched ceilings and walls was fascinating to the amatuer eyes of mine. I think I spent more time examining how the new installations were constructed without causing damage to the old walls and trying hard to figure out the complicated planning of the exhibition, rather than appreciating the Jewish inheritence.

Interior view of exhibition space. Photo from:

Exhibition design: Kvorning design & communication

The Danish Architecture Centre

This building sits right next to it, which I can’s remember its name as I just happen to chance upon it. It was a timber structure ‘inner box’ enveloped by a glass exterior, connected between two existing buildings. I remember entering it asking to go in and have a look, and found out that many architects’ offices are located in it but I was declined. I thought of begging them, claiming that I’m a poor archi student flew all the way from Aus to have a glimpse of it(trust me, sometimes it works); but the high-powered, very busy architects scared me away.Ha! Reminder to oneself: Never be mean to archi students when working. You were once one of them.  

But it figures, since we’re considered to be the know-nothing-in-the-industry-at-all brats, inspiring to be them-the great-O-Ones. Oh, well.

I had absolute fun just stumbling upon new, old, ancient architecture. Being one part of their urban fabric and trying to figure my way around their maps, my very broken Danish and awful winter weather… Guess that’s one of the greatest advantage being an archi student: the ability to appreciate the built environment and what makes up of it, be it the past, current or future trends, culture and social state.


Sometimes, it’s just good enough to know that the world out there is so big, that our worries are hardly significant at all. We try to make something big, beautiful, memorable and of course, important: to us and we hope others as well. But it will soon become just part of the place, part of the culture, or just part of everyday things. So, try not to worry as much, and enjoy that every present moment we are blessed with. Good, Bad, Ups and Downs, it’s all about the journey and, hardly the destination. Because if your not careful, that very precious monumental, iconic moment of life, might just slip and go by.