Two architects from S’pore-based firm win regional award

Two architects from a Singapore-based company have won a biennial regional award for their creative designs.

Wong Mun Summ and Richard Hassell from WOHA Architects clinched the SIA-Getz Architecture Prize.

It is presented by the Singapore Institute of Architecture (SIA) and supported by The Getz Group, a marketing and services company that also supplies building materials.

It is the second time a Singaporean is awarded the prize, which aims to honour architects who have contributed to emergent architecture in Asia.

Past winners of the prize include Mr Chan Soo Khian from Singapore in 2006 and Dr Hitoshi Abe from Japan in 2008.

Mr Wong said: “Emergent architecture is probably what is the relevant topic of the day, what’s really quite pertinent in Singapore, (it) being a very small country and a city. High-rise, high densities are one of the most important issues for our generation.

“At the same time, I think, sustainability (is another issue). I think we no longer could live like what we did in the past, always depending on a lot of high-energy way of living. I think we have to re-look at how the spaces we design can be used in a way that doesn’t depend so much on high-energy solutions.”

Mr Wong and Mr Hassell began their partnership 16 years ago and have worked on various high-profile projects like the Bras Basah and Stadium MRT stations, the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport, and the School of the Arts (SOTA).

Mr Wong said: “One (building) that we’re very proud of is the School of the Arts. And I think one thing is that the building is in the city, where the noise levels are higher and at the same time, it’s a very compact building. But it’s designed such a way where there’s wind going through the building, making it comfortable without air-conditioning.”

SIA said the WOHA team won the seven-man judging panel over with their clever reinterpretations of successful ideas and their approach to design, such as using climate as a reference point.

The prize includes US$20,000, which the duo have donated to Mr Wong’s alma mater, the Department of Architecture at the National University of Singapore.

The Getz Group has also matched the donation dollar for dollar.

On behalf of the Department of Architecture, Professor Heng Chye Kiang, who is the Dean of the School of Design and Environment at NUS, said the amount will go towards a travel fund for its architecture students.

“For architecture students, travelling is an immensely valuable experience as it opens up their eyes and stimulates their creativity,” said Professor Heng.

Source : Channel NewsAsia – 23 Oct 2010

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