We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to one of our Honorable mention winners for our “Omuli Museum Of The Horse” competition – Haipng (Heffrence) Teow and Lapzhen Wong from Malaysia!

Haipng (Heffrence) Teow and Lapzhen Wong from Malaysia

Both of us are currently practicing separately and in different countries, with Heffrence in Singapore running a design thinktank/research studio called ALOT (Architectural Laboratory of Thought) on top of working in an architectural practice, while Lapzhen is working in Malaysia with a local architecture firm. Both of us were actually schoolmates during our studies, and this competition has brought us together into a meaningful collaborative discussion once again. 

Brief information about the projects that you/your company have been involved with. For instance, what scale have you focused on/preferred, any significant projects where the company / individuals have been involved? 

While each of us is practicing separately, the set of experiences we have make up a diverse portfolio with projects ranging from smaller private or residential to cultural and community institutions, to high-rise residential developments, and to mixed-use developments and large masterplans in various locations, including China, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore. We tend to not focus on any particular scale or typology, but to see design as a whole that intertwines with everyday activities and seek to create meaningful placemaking out of it.

What does architecture mean to you and what is the role of an architecture in your society?

We believe that everyday objects and events around us influence the way we perceive and interact with space. By drawing upon this relationship and cherishing metaphors, imagery, fiction, poetry, and emotion, we strive to create meaningful space that resonates with its users. Combining this with emphasis on sustainability and public-centric design that should become our fundamental approach nowadays, we formed a unique set of strategies that seek to celebrate local context and culture with new architectural intervention through an integrated emotional placemaking. After all, architecture is more than just a shelter, it has a bigger role to stimulate a positive affiliation between the space and the user and make for a better living environment.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

We see architecture competitions as an opportunity to explore the role of architecture beyond our otherwise very limited social circle and context, having to learn about other cultures and contextual characteristics while responding to them. We take each competition as a learning opportunity and build an archive of knowledge out of it to be more holistic designers.

What advice would you give to individuals who struggle to decide whether it would be beneficial for them to participate in architecture competition?

We would suggest that one should not look at competitions as a black or white task (either you win or you don’t), but rather be inspired by it – the brief, the outcome, the winning entries, as they all form a critical learning material that can further sharpen one’s design thinking. By looking at it this way, a competition will become a fun learning progress, and winning it is the icing on the cake.

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