Everyone knows that competitions are a bittersweet thing, at best. This one was a heartbreaker—an open two-stager for a new mosque in Punggol, in Singapore. Our team (Lekker as design consultants, with Ong Ker Shing Architecture as architects) made it as far as the final round, but no dice. The sweet part, and the bitter also, was that we really loved the scheme. In fact, we think it was one of the best projects to have come out of our office, ever. It imagined a mosque that was totally open to the elements: in effect, a cluster of small towers covered by a roof. The interior volume was meant to evoke the elegantly loose public spaces in many cities of the Islamic world, a kind of urban intersection rather than a “room” as such. SEE THE COMPLETE DESIGN HERE.
Archive for January, 2014
Mediapolis is a new urban district being built by JTC opposite the old Portsdown Road area, in Singapore. We have actually been involved with this project since the beginning—alongside Bernard Tschumi’s office, we produced the masterplan. We designed the landscape and environmental urban design guidelines. So it’s quite nice that we are back to build the area’s “central park.” It’s elevated by one level, and will interface with a new building by Kenzo Tange’s office.
We continue to have an amazing working collaboration with Hermès. We’ve been designing all sorts of things for the company for over a year. This has included windows, shop interiors, and graphics. MORE HERE
Our first book, Horror in Architecture, is about to go into its second printing, and a German edition is due in 2014. This project started as a series of conversations about a very basic problem: how to talk about architectural form. These mainly took place in our car, to or from the office, to site, or to meetings. Throughout our years in practice together, Shing and I have always been frustrated about the difficulty of communicating architectural language in words. Especially to “Muggles”—that is, to non-architects. We found ourselves often comparing buildings to other things in order to make them more understandable. They were described in terms of food, cartoons… and, increasingly, monsters from horror flicks.
For many reasons, modern buildings seemed especially clear when related to horrible types—to zombies, psychotics, giants and homunculi, and Frankensteinian composites, for example. We started to wonder why this was the case. Does something about Modernity make buildings monstrous? Horrifying? In fact, yes. We now believe that a number of forces, economic in particular, lead to this result. This book describes these, and shows a huge number of examples in modern building. These range from the famous to the obscure, the ugly to the beautiful and the sublime. Horror In Architecture is not a manifesto, per se; but it is our own treasure trove of amazing buildings…our canon. TAKE A LOOK INSIDE THE BOOK