Case Study of Architect Laurence Loh
THEORIES OF ARCHITECTURE AND URBANISM
Behind every good designer lies beds upon beds of abstract idea, critical thought and determination devising in which determines his architectural sentiments and determinations ; that said is axiomatic, but one can chew over and be intrigued by the impressions of what lies beyond those beds of ideas, the concluding behind ground. In other words, do we non all experience both internal and external influences in our lives that cast and determine our worldview which in bend influences the manner we wish to ‘deal’ with the universe? That I think could be said for anyone, including designers and how life’s experiences determine their making of architecture. The Hagiographas in this essay intent to neither self-praise nor knock about an designer and their edifices, but instead to speculate or propose certain thoughts about an architect’s making of architecture.
More specifically, what is analyzed and discussed in the essay are what are termed ‘internal’ and ‘external’ influences on an designers design, that is the ego of the designer which includes the architect’s childhood, instruction and working experiences, and other external lending factors such as clime, theoretical discourses of architecture, clients, political relations, etc. Through the survey and review of these factors could we undercover or detect an implicit in subject, form or impression in the architect’s creative activity of architecture.
The designer to be analysed in this essay is the well-respected Ar Laurence Loh. Born in Penang in the 1950’s, Ar Laurence is known worldwide of one of the taking innovators in architectural preservation and saving of heritage. Graduate of the besides world-famous Architectural Association in London, Ar Laurence is most celebrated for the Restoration of the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion in Penang. A member of assorted societies and public capacities for architectural heritage and preservation, Ar Laurence besides presently runs a pattern in Penang registered as LLA Arkitek Sdn Bhd which engages in both preservation and modern-day plants. The undertaking to be discussed here is the modern extension to the historical Penang Hill Lower Station at Air Itam.
Ar Laurence was engaged to plan an extension to the historical colonial edifice of the lower train station which serves as the chief entry point to the popular and historically of import countries of Penang Hill, which was established as a colonial hill station by the British decennaries ago. What resulted was a modern construction of steel and cloth which replaced the old frontage of doric columns and arches. The two images below show the drastic alteration in character and sense of topographic point before and after the modern extension was finished.
Before the construct of this essay, a thorough and full probe into the internal factors of the ego, as described in the paragraphs before, was already carried out in the classs of Ar Laurence’s childhood, instruction and working experience. Therefore, the chief purpose of the subdivision here is to research, describe and analyse the 2nd half of influences that is the external factors on an architect’s making of architecture. Three separate factors were selected, viz. the reinforced signifier of the undertaking, the influence of clime on the design and eventually guess on architectural theory that could hold informed the development of the extension.
Built signifier, in the definition of this analysis, includes all bing edifices, new and old, that can be found on site at the minute. Therefore, as we can see in the analysis diagrams, it is cardinal to indicate out that the historical constructions of colonial architecture were really much preserved in their original province ; stuffs, placement of structural elements like columns, programme of infinites, etc. all seemed to hold been maintained absolutely in topographic point and no via media was given in aftermath of the building of the extension. Rather, it could be asserted that the extension was designed to concentrate on continuity of infinites, adding on extra room to infinites that originally existed in the station, and to besides add on new programmatic and experiential infinites to rejuvenate the energy of the lower station, perchance to pull a greater figure of tourer and visitants to come to Penang Hill.
This could be seen in the infinites that were extended and the infinites that were introduced to the site. For illustration, the old ticketing counter and waiting room was given a much larger infinite under the shadiness of the new steel construction, likely to suit a greater sum of people that were anticipated to see the site. Besides, being the cardinal experiential infinite that drives the new energy of the station is the recreational country with the big volume of infinite as created by the attention-getting retractable canopy roof. The ample shadiness provided by the canopy and monumental sense of graduated table generated when standing under the roof construction helps to bring forth that new attraction that draws people to the site, a new character that didn’t exist before on site, in blunt contrast to the unfastened infinite typology of the old frontage of the lower station. Materiality in the modern extension besides plays a important portion in the coevals of renewed involvement in the site. The combination of steel and cloth in its construction and materiality greatly contrasts with the brick and concrete frame construction of the original lower station, making an inherit attention-grabbing factor.
Traveling on, we now turn our attending towards the clime factor, and how it has affected the design of the extension. As mentioned before, the original construction consisted of a big unfastened infinite or garnering country in the Centre that was unfastened to and exposed to the elements. It is normally known to all that Malaysia is a tropical clime with many yearss of sun exposure and sometimes it could acquire highly hot and the heat could go intolerable. The big canopy roof construction added provides that much needed shadiness from the scorching beams of the Sun and besides from bad conditions. However, other than that, the design doesn’t seems to hold much more consideration towards clime, due to the glowering fact as exposed in the analysis diagrams of a deficiency of good cross airing in the side. Though there is proviso for hot air to get away through the stack airing consequence, there isn’t good cross airing through the edifice, due to a deficiency of gaps on both windward and leeward faces. The modern extension does nil to work out this issue ; it doesn’t let for new gaps, nor does it build architectural elements like air current walls to catch predominating zephyrs into the infinite. Predominating air currents from the nor’-east
hold a much more difficult clip acquiring into the infinite, obstructed by solid concrete walls with really small gaps for natural airing.
Third, in the concluding factor of the three external influences, the architectural theory will be discussed. It mentions about three different architectural discourses, viz. retinal architecture, the acquisitions from Las Vegas, and capitalist economy in architecture. As implied in the context of the reinforced signifier influence, the architecture of the modern extension has a certain capitalist spirit to it, in that it generates a new energy of topographic point to pull the attending of people to the old site of Penang Hill, conveying in concern and an economic encouragement to the topographic point. At first glimpse, it could be said that the clients have the say in the determination devising of the design phase, and as Michael Sorkin mentioned so truthfully, designers are typically bound to the caprices of their clients. Is this so in Ar Laurence’s instance? If one looked at the instance from the surface, it would be a sensible decision to come to.
So far, we have explored some external factors that could hold affected the design of the extension to the lower station of Penang Hill. Some of these logical thinkings may hold implied the impression that Ar Laurence may hold sold out to capital greed and instead than continue his ain rules of keeping a scruples in architecture, he was to yield to the demands of the client over keeping a quality of architecture that matches his criterions. Others point in the opposite way, demoing the quality of Ar Laurence and what he is known for, that is the saving of heritage, seen in how the extension does non overpower and steep the historical colonial edifice, but to a good grade built in harmoniousness with the site and its milieus. Such contradictions exist in the same design, but could it be that these contradictions were made consciously? As he has mentioned before, Ar Laurence does non sell out for the interest of money in his architecture, for he does non see architecture as a agency of going rich. However, if such is true, so why would he hold to planing a modern extension at a historical topographic point that is non merely so out of context for the site, but which is designed with a commercial oculus to it, that is to plan something brassy in order to pull more concern? Why non make what he does best and continue the original historical construction or reconstruct it to its former glorification alternatively of simply keeping its physical signifier for the interest of sentimentalism? What does it intend to purposefully belie oneself, and what how does it play out in the populace oculus? What could be the effects of that, particularly since Ar Laurence is an established and respected public figure?
Covering with the populace is something Laurence has ever had a aberrant manner of covering with. As with some of his other preservation undertakings, he has mentioned that he conserves non to simply protect the memory of the topographic point and of its history, but in saving comes moving ridges of alteration. Now, he defines ‘waves of change’ as alteration in idea, alteration in sentiment, alteration in the heads of people in how they perceive and value their heritage and traditional values. Here once more we see the contradiction that so glaringly purports to inform the design of the extension to the lower station. How can preservation lead to alter? It could be interpreted that Laurence utilizes the modern extension as an attractive force of the ocular sense to capture attending and draw people to the infinite, due to the suppressing oculus playing the hegemonic function in architectural pattern above all other senses. The extension contrasts and stands out in the originally historical and natural context, emulating the symbolism and decorated caducous consequence as talked about in Venturi’s Learning from Las Vegas. This could reply for the logical thinking behind the commerciality of the infinite. It’s non that Laurence got muscled out by the client or fell to his ain greed for money, it is that he utilized looking contradictory patterns to acquire people to see the infinite. This leads us to our following point, in that the topographic point that Ar Laurence is seeking to take people to is one that is strongly related to the spirit of topographic point, the history of Penang.
Possibly, in my sentiment, continuing the original construction in the aftermath of a modern extension leaves a wonder in people, it creates an internal duologue from which inquiries of chew overing are born, invariably inquiring what made the historical construction such an of import consideration to hold been preserved? This relates back to Ar Laurence’s statement of saving for alteration, in that the creative activity of duologue in the public kingdom brings more attending towards architectural heritage. But in our modern twenty-four hours and age, that is a difficult thing to accomplish. Ar Laurence’s solution? Insurgent methods of utilizing brassy architecture to convey focal point to the history and values of topographic point.
In the terminal, it is theorized that Ar Laurence, through apparently contradictory and insurgent methods, purposes to bring forth a public sentiment on his attractive and out of context modern extension of the colonial edifices found at the lower station of Penang Hill, in order to convey attending towards the historical values of topographic point. In the terminal nevertheless, what matters is that the extension acts as a supercial method of pulling people to the topographic point ; the original edifice is still to the full experienced one time the users go past the forepart frontage and initial infinites, pulling more people to see history and their heritage.
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