Design a memorial that speaks to the cause of ending all nuclear weapons programs
We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the 3rd prize winner of our “Pavilion Of Humanity: First Contact” competition – Thiam Yi Donovan Ong from Australia!
Thiam Yi Donovan Ong from Australia
After completing my Master of Architecture at the University of Melbourne, I entered the workforce with conflicting ambitions. One was driven by the simple passion to design great buildings, the other – the urge to confront what I considered the most pressing issues of my generation: systemic discrimination, environmental crises, and mass disinformation.
In the current paradigm, it seemed that rather than architects, the power to affect widespread change laid in the hands of planners and policy makers. One year on, I have found a position at the Wyndham City Council, working closely with planners and conservation specialists as I continue to explore my own potential career, while still striving to keep in touch with my passion for design.
My current focus lies with the implementation of conservation projects relevant to the Wyndham 2040 plan, while other aspects, including urban renewal, are being renegotiated by the newly elected council.
To me, the meaning and role of an architect is to imagine future worlds.
Existing beyond the moment, architecture is both a monument to past achievements and a manifestation of a future trajectory.
At its simplest, a building asks whether the roof can weather the rain even when its sunny outside, whether its eaves can block the summer sun though it may be built in the dead of winter, whether its structure can withstand tectonic movements though the earth seems stable.
At its most complex, architectural speculation surpasses subsistence in the status quo: What is a city when everyone works from home? How does a society build cohesive identity from inclusive diversity? What attitude does civilization take in extraterrestrial first contact?
Though they are often not answered in full, they might be considered. Ideas with such depth, when put onto paper, into dimensions, scale, details, into realistic terms that people can understand, are given a small power. Realized in physical form, they become social provocations that, when compounded, have the strength to move the world.
After graduating, opportunities to express and develop personal philosophies and ideas without constraints are rare for a young designer. Entering competitions has allowed me to do exactly this.
Find a brief that resonates with you and with it, the courage to believe in your own ideas. Give the project the time it deserves and, regardless of the outcome, there can be no doubt that you will come out better for it.