The theme of this year's Archifest, located on the tiny nation-island of Singapore, was aptly named indeed: "Small is Beautiful." Organized by the Singapore Institute of Architects, the annual architecture festival includes a host of activities, ranging from architecture tours to urban picnics, and featured a curated selection of several leading local architects.
Luke Yeung from Architectkidd presented a series of projects that utilize the materiality of contemporary Thai architecture, revealing Yeung's interpretation of the 'Bangkok vernacular.' With a humorous tone, Manfred Yuen of Groundwork Architecture + Urbanism explained a host of incredibly imaginative urban interventions and competition entries. Eoghan Lewis, of Eoghan Lewis Architects, discussed his work and the concepts behind them.
A celebrated local architect, Colin Seah, traced his inspiring journey from being a one-man interior design firm to founding Ministry of Design, an award-winning, multi disciplinary design firm that spans across several countries. Chang Yong Ter from Chang Architects gave an optimistic presentation tinged with a touch of dry humor. The presentation gave insight into his various approaches towards architecture, from the pragmatic to the poetic.
Last but not least, the keynote speaker, Yoshi Tsukamoto from Atelier Bow-wow described his projects within the context of Architectural Behaviourology, an investigation into the relationships between inhabitants, buildings, and nature. The conference drew to a close with a round table discussion moderated by local Architect Tan Suze Hann, a common face within the Singaporean architectural scene.
After the conference, we managed to have a short conversation with Chang Yong Ter :
What is Contemporary Singaporean architecture to you?
A built environment that is appropriate for our contemporary needs and the tropical climate.
How does scale affect your approach towards your projects?
The scale of a project would not affect the design approach. Hence the title of the presentation ‘Nothing’s too small’. If I may finish that statement; Nothing’s too small to be big.
Your projects are filled with intimate interventions that come together to form a unique yet coordinated whole. How do you manage to achieve this cohesion?
By being conscientious of the main needs of the users, and keeping in alignment with the design concept/approach/intention.
What is your future vision for CHANG Architects?
Achieving timelessness is a key objective in our vision.