Architects group chairman spells out his goals

  • Community
  • Saturday, 16 May 2015

Restoration architect Mike Boon explaining how the timber pieces were treated with bitumen.

KUCHING: New Sarawak chapter of the Malaysian Institute of Architects chairman Mike Boon says members need to re-position themselves.

“Who we are and what we are doing? There is a lot of misconceptions about architecture, that it’s for the elites, needs money, only for the privileged and patronage of the rich,” he said after the new office bearers for the 2015-2016 term we announced recently.

“I hope to help re-establish the social agenda.”

Bong Joon Hin has been named the deputy chairman and Kho Meng Kang the vice chairman.

Rounding up the committee are a dozen other members, and for the first time volunteers are heading six sub-committees, from education to heritage and sustainable design.

Boon, a long-serving member who has been with the organisation since 1993, said his goal was to make architecture more relevant to a larger segment of society.

Coming up for the body are trips overseas for members in May. Some 20 architects will visit Hangzhou, where they will meet Wang-Shu, who is the first Chinese architect to win the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize.

The study tour will also include stops at Ningbo and Shanghai.

“Next year, we want to organise a big trip and a small trip. The big trip will be to Europe, and maybe the smaller trip will be to a regional country. For architects, it’s important to be exposed to what other people are doing and not just via photos and videos.

“You got to see the buildings within their social, economical and political environment to understand how they came about,” Boon said.

The new committee would be working towards public awareness events like the World Architecture Day celebrations in October and a “Design Forum” in March 2016.

Boon said the Sarawak chapter was also in discussion with an autistic artist, Han Zhen, to draw Kuching’s historical buildings. “We’re aiming to have his drawings published by end of the year. We’ll sell it cheaply since this is about raising awareness.”

The architects’ institute is one of the oldest non-governmental bodies in Malaysia. Founded in 1920, it was then known as the Institute of Architects Malaya.

The state chapter has more than 100 corporate and 60 graduate members. There are currently about 70 architectural firms throughout Sarawak.

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