Tan Cheng Siong holds a Diploma in Architecture and a Master’s degree in Urban Planning. He founded Archynamics Architects in 1967 and Archurban Architects Planners in 1974.
In the late 60s, Mr Tan’s architecture firm won a URA site tender on design merit, even though the client put up the lowest land price tender. The Pearl Bank Apartments design is now considered a beacon of Singapore’s super high-rise, high-density housing. Mr Tan rose to become Singapore’s star architect of the 60s and 70s; and it wasn’t long before The Development Bank of Singapore appointed his firm to design the first condominium housing estate in Pandan Valley.
He was an active member of the Singapore Institute of Architects in the late 70s and was elected vice president in 1984 and remained till 1986. The National University of Singapore and polytechnics regularly invited him to teach, lecture and present papers. Throughout the 80s and 90s, Mr Tan acted as consultant in various capacities for institutions, government agencies and educational facilities. When China opened up in the 80s, he travelled there with the intention of understanding the country’s urban plight. And he did.
Shenzhen Special Economic Zone invited him to be a member of the Planning Committee — the central body that guided the Zone’s planning and construction developments. It is because of Mr Tan that China has learnt much from Singapore’s experience in housing and property development, and for this they have honoured him the title of “Father of Luxury Housing”.
Tan Cheng Siong’s advice for emerging designers:
“Today, design spans across the world and touches people from all walks of life. In the built environment and in architecture, young designers are encouraged to excel in graphic, furniture, interior, building, landscaping and urban design.
Specialisation is a natural consequence of keen competition. In order to do well in any part, you need to know the whole spectrum equally well. So, open up, engage with the world and change with the future.
Never feel threatened and always persevere. In your darkest hour, do not wait for the proverbial silver lining. Instead, re-invent yourself, your place and even your surroundings — while keeping close the memory of your family and friends.
Success may often elude you, and may even subvert you when it is achieved. No matter what happens, do not forsake passion. If you do, you will be weakened and be unable to reach your full potential for success.”