Chan Sau Yan, Sonny was born on 13 August 1941 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He had his primary, secondary and tertiary education in Malaysia and the United Kingdom, graduating as an architect in 1963 at the Northern Polytechnic of London, and did post- graduate Tropical studies at the Architectural Association School in 1964.
Thereafter, he practised in London with Arup Associates. He returned to Singapore in 1965 to continue his practice with Kumpulan Akitek. After 29 years of practice in his previous firm, he left as a Senior Partner, and established his present practice under the style of Chan Sau Yan Associates in 1993. In 2011, Chan Sau Yan Associates was incorporated and is now known as CSYA Pte Ltd.
His experience encompasses a wide range of residential, commercial, institutional, recreational and tourism related projects regionally as well as internationally. His extensive experience in resorts and city hotels span over 45 years. He has worked with international chain operators such as Hyatt, Sheraton, IHG, Mandarin Oriental, Hard Rock Hotel, Hilton and other independent operators.
Besides running his practice, he was a founder member of the Singapore Planning and Urban Research Group. He has also been an external tutor, examiner and adjunct associate professor in the School of Architecture, National University of Singapore; an external critic with Universiti Malaya as well as serving in the professional institute and other government institutions, in various capacities.
He has received several architectural awards for design distinction, including the prestigious President’s Design Award 2011 in the Designer of the Year category.
In 2013, he published his monograph, Green Ink on an Envelope, which documents his architectural journey over four decades.