What is the one critical transformation you wish to see during your leadership with PAM?
Among the critical transformation we are looking into this term is streamlining internal processes within PAM to increase efficiency and create more transparency.
How has the events of the past two years, namely, the global lockdowns with businesses disrupted, changed the architecture profession?
Fundamentally it has changed the eco-system of the construction, reduction in projects and demand for projects have forced architects to improvise and adapt. Leaner times has made many firms assess their efficiency of delivery and their internal cost structures. Some firms have leveraged on technology not only to increase their efficiency but to diversify their income streams as well.
What can PAM do to support or assist architects who have been badly affected during the past two years?
The actual segment most badly effected by the pandemic is the graduate architects and employed architects. As the knockdown effect from reduction of demand of projects means that firms must take measures to streamline their work force. Many have been left unemployed or with drastically reduced income. PAM tries to support the segment by providing training and upskilling to ensure better employability or even value-added income streams. PAM Next – the graduate committee of PAM is also fundamental in providing support to this segment.
And also, what is your advice to new or emerging, young architects who are just graduating or starting their practice?
My advice is to be cognizant of the shifts in the economic under currents of the industry and try to learn from the firms and personalities that have come before. Learn their cost structures, profit strategies, business approach, mistakes and adapt to your own style of practice. Also, make sure the amount of effort that you put into the work is sustainable as the endeavour of practice is a marathon rather than a sprint.
PAM tries to support the segment by providing training and upskilling to ensure better employability or even value-added income streams. PAM Next – the graduate committee of PAM is also fundamental in providing support to this segment
What are the critical areas architects need to work on for recovery and also to future-proof their practice in the event that such lockdowns happen again in future?
One positive aspect of the lockdown is the forced adoption of technology. Many firms which are hesitant to plunge into technological change have found themselves inadvertently force to adopt multiple new technologies to enable themselves to function. These include collaborative communications software, collaborative design software, remote management infrastructure and such. I believe as a profession we will need to keep updated with new developments in these technologies to improve our resilience in the event of a similar economic disruption in the future.
These events have not only become a design and technical highlight but has also become a sort of social reunion for many in the profession and in the industry
What are your goals and expectations for this year’s DATUM:KL and ARCHIDEX?
After 2 years without both events, I believe that the architectural community will relish the ability to once again congregate for DATUM:KL and ARCHIDEX. These events have not only become a design and technical highlight but has also become a sort of social reunion for many in the profession and in the industry. I hope that this feeling of togetherness will spur many opportunities for the future.
Can you share some encouragement to architects and industry professionals to gather this year?
Recovery is definitely on everyone’s mind and with that there will be a momentum towards prosperity, hopefully with strong government support the impetus of this will be lead to a sustained period of recovery for everyone in the industry, especially the architects.
Why is the theme of Mindshaping the Future relevant for architects?
Fundamentally architects are concerned with ideas and the creation of ideas. Great buildings and cities spark from the convolution of these many ideas. The crucible of an idea is the mind. Hence, to create better ideas the very vessel of its creation must be attuned correctly. More often than not the barrier of meaningful change in society is no longer technological but rather challenges in collective will. To change as a profession, as a society, and as the human race begins with mindshaping.
How do you unify the concepts of “shaping minds” with freeing the mind in creating solutions for every need or problems? Isn’t design supposed to be about letting the imagination loose?
As mentioned above the mind is the vessel for ideas, if the vessel is not equipped or not in the optimum condition it will produce ideas of a lesser quality. Mindshaping does not limit creativity rather it orients your thinking towards a more productive and creative output. We need to shape our minds to be open to new possibilities and unconventional solutions only then we will be truly creative.
Mindshaping does not limit creativity rather it orients your thinking towards a more productive and creative output. We need to shape our minds to be open to new possibilities and unconventional solutions only then we will be truly creative
If we do not plan accordingly we will be creating slums on a global scale. We need to build 5000, houses daily just to keep up with global population growth
Cities used to grow by “accident” except for a few planned cities like Paris, Rome, etc. Is it too late for us to start looking into planning our future cities and what are the challenges involved in transforming existing cities to adapt to future needs?
Traditional cities had the luxury of growing organically but in the current times we live in we are pressured by the vast spectre of population growth, global pressures for housing and building are immense if we do not plan accordingly we will be creating slums on a global scale. We need to build 5000, houses daily just to keep up with global population growth. Global building stock will double by 2060. We are expected to add 2.48 trillion square feet (230 billion square meter) of new global building stock. That is equivalent of adding an entire New York city every month for 40 years. To manage this humongous growth, we need to seriously plan and think about our approach to liveable, sustainable and resilient future cities.
Can you share with us a great example of what a future city should or could look like and why?
Currently there is no singular city that has all the optimum qualities to be said as a future city though we can garner many good qualities in terms of specific performance aspects of the cities to adapt to our own local context when developing our own cities. We can learn form the sustainability of Copenhagen, the public housing of Singapore, the happiness of Helsinki, the walkability of Hong Kong and many such lessons.