DESIGN PHILOSOPHY

Whereas I consider the integrity of a designer is of utmost importance, I find it equally important that a designer should always resist the temptation of setting his own ego at a higher priority than the needs and goals of the project from the client's perspective.

I believe an architect owes a significant duty to the client in producing the same design the client himself would have produced, had the client possessed the skills of the architect. Naturally, this does not mean that the architect should only act as the client's draftsperson. In any design process, there should be constant communication between the architect and the client. Architectural design should not be merely a production process; it should be a consultation process, in which the architect should take the leadership role in teamwork involving the client as a team member. He should always be offering advice and guidance to the client for the client's best interests.

I set my goal of each design as the pursuit to achieve a fine balance among 3 equally important criteria: FUNCTION, AESTHETICS, ECONOMY

If these criteria are expressed as three different vectors of magnitudes in different directions to represent the contradicting stresses frequently encountered during the design process, my goal is to pursue a design solution resulting in an equilateral triangle. The success of the a design should be evaluated at the end by checking to see if the these 3 "measuring sticks" of FUNCTION, AESTHETICS, AND ECONOMY are equal in length. One of the three should never be achieved at the disproportionate expense of the other two.

FUNCTION AND AESTHETICS can easily be understood. However, it needs to be noted that ECONOMY should not be construed as simply building with the cheapest material. True economy is the thoughtful selection of the most economical means of achieving the same end result. Sometimes, it might not even relate to the choice of building material. An example could be an efficient open plan design, saving 10% to 15% in circulation space, and thus reducing that same amount in the size and cost of the building. It could also be as simple as locating the mechanical room close to the centre of a building to reduce the costs of pipes, ducts, and energy loss.

The purpose of an architectural design can be learnt from that of an oriental teapot.

The flowing lines of a teapot makes it beautiful enough to be considered a sculpture, i.e. a pure piece of visual art. However, if a teapot were solid inside, it would not serve the design purpose regardless of its beautiful form. As a matter of fact, the flowing lines of the sculptural form are very much a consequence of the function inside. It is for the purpose of accommodating the flowing tea fluid within, that the vessel has been designed with the flowing lines without. I believe that this same principle applies to architecture. The emphasis on the style and décor of the exterior shell should never distract our simultaneous attention to the fluidity of the interior space, without which the shell would be rendered meaningless.

SINGLE-FAMILY RESIDENTIAL DESIGNS

I find it more important to adhere faithfully to my Design Philosophy, than to confine myself to a certain style, or to pursue an "architectural fashion". The success of each design also relies very much on the consistency of design elements used within the project, to avoid resulting in an "architectural smorgasbord".

Rather than categorizing my designs by the different styles, I have group them into 3 basic approaches of design: Contemporary, Traditional, and Interpretive.

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