On the evolution of his approach to design
“I realised it is important to identify the concept before executing the details. This insight came to me as I studied Chopin’s 24 Etudes for Piano. Each piece literally studies a different aspect of music, be it arpeggios, octaves, thirds and so on. Each intimate piece has a point to make. When combined, they create the whole piece. This is why, today, right at the very start of any project, we don’t do anything till we have identified the challenges that need to be overcome.”
(Clockwise from top left) The Capers (Malaysia); House of the Connoisseur (Singapore) and House in 3 Movements (Singapore).
On space that make him happy
“I am most happy when I find myself in quiet spaces like a library or a gallery- where my mind is at ease and where my thoughts can roam. The dual phenomenon of space and silence is powerful.”
On which particular space best expresses his idea of the perfect urban space.
“At the top of my list is Louis Kahn’s great courtyard of the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California.”
On the social gap he would like to address through design and how.
“I’ve always wondered what architecture is like for people who cannot see. I think it would be interesting to design a facility for the visually handicapped. That would really test a few fundamental presumptions we have of architecture, particularly because it is a visual discipline.
So, what if we were to take away the visual aspect in our design and focus instead on the other senses of touch, smell, hearing and so on, so that we create an environment that is even more dramatic and sensorial? This raises interesting questions about what architecture has been, and what it could be.”