Tag Archives: asia

Taipei Sales Center

Taipei Sales Center in Taipei, Taiwan, by Oyler Wu Collaborative, 2013

The following text and images are courtesy of Oyler Wu Collaborative.

Photograph courtesy of Oyler Wu Collaborative

Often the unusual circumstances surrounding the design of a project leads to the most unusual results. In the case of this temporary sales center in Taipei by Oyler Wu Collaborative, the convergence of a set of ongoing architectural interests converged with an unusual site, timeline, program, and developer to create an unexpected outcome.

Photograph courtesy of Oyler Wu Collaborative

Photograph courtesy of Oyler Wu Collaborative

The existing building is really a conglomeration of different buildings, built over several decades. The outcome is a five-story volume pierced (quite literally) and interconnected by an intricate ribbon of rope, steel, and fabric. The renovation creates an entirely new identity and is suggestive of the modern intervention that will soon occupy the site.

Photograph courtesy of Oyler Wu Collaborative

Photograph courtesy of Oyler Wu Collaborative

Located on the future site of a new 16-story residential tower (also designed by Oyler Wu Collaborative), the developers were interested in renovating the existing corner building to become the sales center for that future building. The program includes meeting and exhibition rooms as well as a model home. Interestingly, the program called for only half of the square footage of the existing building. With the most desirable spaces being on the upper floors, the second and third floors were left unprogrammed.

Photograph courtesy of Oyler Wu Collaborative

Photograph courtesy of Oyler Wu Collaborative

The initial design brief called for a new “skin” with a thickness of no more than 7 inches to work within. The limited programmatic needs created the potential for an intervention that somehow made use of those spaces. With the desire to create a “spatial ribbon” that flowed between facades and into the building, one of the primary features of the building is a torqued void that cuts through the southern facade of the building and then re-emerges on the eastern facade. In the spirit of Gordon Matta-Clark, this void offers unusual views of the city through, out of, and deep into the heart of the building.

Photograph courtesy of Oyler Wu Collaborative

Photograph courtesy of Oyler Wu Collaborative

With much of building acting as a simple volume, the intricacy of the detail in the facade creates a visual and spatial connector between the openings. Beginning at an oculus at the ground floor, the ribbon flows up through the voids and spreads across the facade eventually linking up with windows, wrapping into adjacent facades.

Photograph courtesy of Oyler Wu Collaborative

Photograph courtesy of Oyler Wu Collaborative

Project Team:
Dwayne Oyler, Jenny Wu, Huy Le, Sanjay Sukie, Mike Piscitello, Zhao Ji Luo

JUT Land Development

Drawing courtesy of Oyler Wu Collaborative

Drawing courtesy of Oyler Wu Collaborative

PARKROYAL on Pickering

PARKROYAL on Pickering in Singapore by WOHA, 2013

All photographs by John Hill

A couple weeks ago I traveled to Singapore to attend the World Architecture Festival (WAF), covering it for World-Architects. Even though I only had half a day for sightseeing, I was able to see a number of recent buildings, and one of the standouts was the PARKROYAL on Pickering by local favorites WOHA. The building occupies a full narrow block west of the downtown core and north of Chinatown. It impressively overlooks Hong Lim Park to the south (see aerial at bottom), a situation that drives much of the design.

The most overt expression on the building is the "C"-shaped vegetation that sits between the glass-walled boxes. These planted, contour-like projections give the impression that the park continues up the building. Of course, given that the PARKROYAL is a hotel, how could a public space traverse what is basically a private building? But as Wong Mun Summ (one of the partners in WOHA, with Richard Hassell) explained in a presentation on the building at WAF, most of the fifth floor is provided as a public space. So even the analogy of the park rising up the building is an apt one.

The south side of the building (photo above), which faces some public housing across the street, has a similar vertical-green treatment. Here is where the outdoor corridors are placed, so the space between the glass boxes is not as deep; it takes on a more urban—if still green—character. The public realm of the fifth floor plaza signals itself clearly from the sidewalk, as the hotel rooms are propped upon round columns well above the outdoor space. The parking garage is located at the west end of the site (photo below), stacked behind more contours rendered in precast concrete and GFRC.

Having approached the hotel from the park, where the distant view is of the upper green terraces (inaccessible but visible from the hotel rooms), and as the base gradually revealed itself upon getting closer, it was clear that the ravine-like contours were a theme uniting the different sections and scales of the design. Summ spoke in his presentation about addressing three scales: the tall buildings to the south and east; the historically protected buildings of Chinatown and the area visible across the park to the north; and the mature trees in the park. These scales are addressed respectively in the tall, rhythmically placed glass slabs housing the hotel rooms, the full-block base and the through-block air space at the fifth-floor plaza, and the erosion of the base that allows for a drop-off (photo below) and for plants to grow within the gaps between the contours.

Three elements—contoured undulations, vertical green, and columns—extend to the interior to unite the indoor and outdoor realms, though the scale of these pieces (minus the large round columns) is reduced appropriately. Molded wood contours can be peeked in the photo above, and in the same photo a green wall interlocked with wood planks frames an opening to the bathrooms. The public walks past the reception desk and the wooden bridge by the bathrooms (note the water in the photo above) to get to the elevators that provide the quickest access to the fifth floor.

Stepping onto the fifth floor public space on my visit was a delight for many reasons. The ceiling overhead provided a sense of enclosure, some shade, and some potential relief from the heavy rains that often blanket Singapore (the same can be said of the drop-off downstairs). I could see what the candy-shaped and -colored objects were—lounges for hotel guests. There was a closer view of the undulating green terraces that sit adjacent to the hotel rooms as well as even more vegetation one floor below. And from the fifth floor the view of the park (photo below) was splendid, the treetops seamlessly integrated into the vertical garden of the PARKROYAL.

Summ mentioned in his talk that WOHA aims to replace 100% of the green space lost in the act of building, turning each of their buildings into precedents for (literal) green living. At PARKROYAL, the number is actually 200%, meaning the fifth floor terrace and additional green pieces are twice the area of the site the hotel sits upon, an astonishing number even in tropical Singapore. In my brief but thoroughly enjoyable visit, there wasn't one place (minus the elevator) where I didn't sense plants or trees, a telling fact that taps into the psychological wellness of being in contact with nature, such that the experience of the building is more important than the statistics embodied within it..

Coach Flagship, Omotesando

Coach Flagship, Omotesando in Tokyo, Japan, by OMA, 2013.

In early April Coach opened its flagship Tokyo store on Omotesando, a strip known as much for its high-end fashion houses as for the architects designing them. Most well known are Prada by Herzog & de Meuron, Dior by SANAA, and Tod's by Toyo Ito. Coach's flagship is designed by OMA, but it departs from these other projects on Omotesando in a couple ways: Coach is part of a larger building rather than a standalone building, and the project is but one version of a design (by OMA's Shohei Shigematsu) that will be applied to various Coach stores around the world; it is not a one-off, one-of-a-kind store trying to make a statement on one of Tokyo's thoroughfares of contemporary architecture.

In OMA's design for Coach there are echoes of Rem Koolhaas's experiments with Prada close to 20 years ago. While the Prada stores strove to rethink retail as a cultural and social space, Koolhaas made each location unique—New York's SoHo interior is unlike the LA store, even though they exhibit similar attitudes to what a store can be. On the other hand Shigematsu worked with Coach to develop a system that could work with the company in various geographies and at various scales. Inspired by Coach's original library-like shelving, Shigematsu's system is made up of acrylic boxes that respond to the variety of leather goods the company now makes—they started in NYC in the 1940s making wallets and handbags, but now make footwear, jewelry, and much more beyond their core products. Even before the opening of the Omotesando flagship, Coach opened a relatively small kiosk in Macy's near its Broadway entrance. There the boxes are embedded with LED lights and stacked in a "V"-formation to give the store a flexible armature for displaying their goods.

The Omotesando flagship takes this system and carries it to the exterior to make the facade a means of display. Instead of the typical storefront glass giving a view of products inside the store or in a staged display case, the glass units are an armature for purses and other products; the vertical units that make up the herringbone pattern even allow mannequins to be positioned on the exterior. The exterior glass wall is carefully detailed to allow each unit to be a focused display of a product. This happens through the frosted glass fins that extend to both the interior and exterior; their cloudy surface helps to make each piece of vision glass distinct, a small window framing one of Coach's designs.

To maintain a consistent facade, the floor inserted into the two-story space is pulled away from the exterior wall, into what's called the "floating tower." The acrylic boxes that function as the display system define the edges of the tower and allow Coach's goods to be displayed outward and inward. With the exterior glass wrapper and the interior acrylic boxes, the design's parti can be seen as a box within a box. But of course these surfaces aren't flat; they are deep and act like a series of miniature dioramas, each one putting a handbag, pair of shoes, or some other item on display and making it look like a treasured object that one must have.

Israel National Library

Israel National Library in Jerusalem, Isreal, by Gil Even-Tsur Architecture Workshop, 2012.

The following text and images are courtesy Gil Even-Tsur Architecture Workshop for their competition entry for the National Library of Israel. A winner was selected (PDF link) in September 2012, but since then the National Library Construction Company has terminated the contract with the winner and has "announced that the architectural competition concluded without a selection of a winning architect."

The program and the site for the new National Library suggest that the architecture should be critical, strong, but also deferential and contextually responsive, displaying an almost aesthetic neutrality in terms of its form, assemblies, and materials. Our proposal provides an architecture that acknowledges this complexity.

We believe that the library architecture should frame and engage this now global and expanding nation/our difficult whole in a way that encourages growth, recovery, and discovery. Some national libraries are mainly about the preservation of a specific historical knowledge or national identity. Some are about more. We understand that this library is about far more, and the architecture must enable this in both function and experience.

Our proposal is critical. Architecture should avoid being prisons or mirror-traps (expressing a perfect, unyielding, unchanging structure which would fail to inspire the real work ahead). The design concept for our entry seeks to acknowledge this often very credible criticism of state sponsored architecture. The 20th-century philosopher-librarian George Bataille suggested that "…great monuments are erected like dikes, opposing the logic and majesty of authority against all disturbing elements; it is in the form of cathedral or palace that Church or State speaks to the multitudes and imposes silence upon them. It is, in fact, obvious that monuments inspire social prudence and often even real fear." Bataille went on to explain that "architecture captures society in the trap of the image it offers... and [it] does not express the soul of societies, but rather smothers it…"

We believe we can avoid designing a mirror-trap, and our current design concept is only a step in the process. We believe that our most important work is not defending, fortifying, defining ourselves/our societies, but exploring and improving ourselves/our societies. We are strong when we are open to change. The goal of our architecture is to fully engage this criticism of architecture and the state through a form that resists singularity in favor of multiplicity and complexity, while still seeking beauty, function, and strength of composition.

Our proposal does not have a classically dramatic entry. All paths do eventually arrive at one main entry lobby, but we believe this site and the program present opportunities to define several equally considered arrival paths. One arrives by car, bus, tram, bike, or foot, and each will be very important for the library. By car, if parking below the library levels, visitors and employees will arrive from the garage and ascend via an open elevator platform, within a column of light/a hanging garden, open to views into the diverse library spaces. Both pedestrian paths, similar to the elevator platforms, offer views into and through the library program spaces. Those arriving from the north enter a modest plaza, and their experience of the building begins with a sloping courtyard garden, and introduces a glimpse of the reading room to the south. After entering a gracious plaza, tree filled and with a large fountain, the pedestrian path from the south offers more of an intimate street-scaled experience in which visitors are introduced to cafes, restaurants, and bookshops on one side, laboratories on the other. When one crosses the building from side to side, north to south, one is exposed to the many layers of activities that are the new National Library.

The new library will have a primary structural system composed of deep cast-in-place concrete beams and thermally active floor slabs optimized for systems integration and weight. Hung from this concrete frame is a secondary steel, glass, and stone envelope system composed of thin weathering steel plates and beams carrying insulated skylight and curtain wall assemblies. Wood elements are also incorporated into the design of
certain interior elements adjacent to the glazed curtain walls. The enclosure is at times open to wide views of Jerusalem, and at other times it is simply warm, glowing with the color of the translucent stone. Still at other times it is closed, creating edges for work and more introspective thinking.

The building's program spaces are located according to optimal functional adjacencies described in the competition brief and potential synergies based on building geometry, etc.. The reading rooms are located on the second level, in tall, light filled spaces of varying proportions tuned to the interior workspace requirements. The library is a place for the individual as much as for its complex nation, and the architecture must support this fact. It supports our national/ social agendas, as well as our individual journeys within and without our nation.

Our proposal is for an architecture that is solid and strong, but flexible and anticipatory in its structural planning and systems integration. It is open, but safe. It is light filled without neglecting the importance of contrast and shadow. It presents a series of beautifully proportioned, calm, comfortable rooms for work. It is highly functional. The space for the individual researcher is no more or less considered than the space for the student tour group or employee. Finally, it is our goal that this architecture encourages encounters with the complexity of ourselves past, present and future.

Design team: Gil even-Tsur, Aaron Vaden-Youmans,Maya Rilov, David Bly, Jaeyual Lee, Amina Bouayad.

Three Projects by Toyo Ito

Three Projects by Toyo Ito on the occasion of the 2013 Pritzker Architecture Prize

The following images are courtesy the Hyatt Foundation, and quotes are from Toyo Ito: Forces of Nature, edited by Jessie Turnbull (Princeton Architectural Press, 2012).

Yesterday came the news that Toyo Ito is the 2013 laureate of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. He is the sixth architect from Japan to be awarded the Pritzker, following Kenzo Tange (1987), Fumihiko Maki (1993), Tadao Ando (1995) and the duo Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa (2010). The jury commended his "body of work that combines conceptual innovation with superbly executed buildings" and "a spectrum of architectural languages," or "personal architectural syntax." The lack of formal repetition or branding in Ito's 40-year career is refreshing, though in the last decade or so he been exploring a distinctive approach to melding structure and surface through increasingly complex forms. A few of those projects are highlighted here with quotes from Ito.

The earliest of the three projects is the Meiso no Mori Municipal Funeral Hall (2004—2006) in Kakamigahara-shi, Gifu. I was first intrigued by the project's undulating roof/column, a condition I blogged about with it alongside some other projects exhibiting similar traits. Ito pointed out that "the crematorium was not intended to have an accessible roof, but at the opening ceremony I remarked, 'Well, the roof is probably the best space in the building,' and then everyone started to climb up there. An exception was made, and guests were allowed to explore the roof."

Both the crematorium in Gifu and the Tama Art University Library (2004—2007) in Hachioji-shi, Tokyo, were engineered by Mutsuro Sasaki, who started working with Ito on the Sendai Mediatheque (1995-2000). Tama's structural system "consists of interlocking arches with spans ranging from roughly six to sixty feet." Further, "The core of the arch is made of steel, surrounded by reinforcement, with concrete poured on top. This structural system allowed us not only to make the walls extremely thin but also to create a very small footprint for the column, with the intention that the arch would appear to be floating in space."

The last project is the Taiching Metropolitan Opera House, now under construction in Taichung, Taiwan. Cecil Balmond is the structural engineer of choice for this large and incredibly complex project; the two started working together on the Serpentine Gallery (2002). Three theaters and various other spaces are contained in an orthogonal form where "the interior is punctured with countless holes, so that levels are connected horizontally and vertically. Cave-like holes penetrate the form." Ito describes how the concrete structure "came from taking two flat surfaces, dividing them into a grid, and then systematically connecting circles around alternate points vertically with a flexible fabric to create a three-dimensionally curved, continuous surface." Further, "By repeating the polyhedrons and then connecting them vertically—and then smoothing them out—we created this structural system." I'd wager that when the building is done it will be considered Ito's magnum opus.

Bamboo Courtyard Teahouse

Bamboo Courtyard Teahouse in Yangzhou, China, by HWCD, 2012.

The following text and images are courtesy HWCD.

Located in the ShiQiao garden in Yangzhou, a city to the northwest of Shanghai, there is a floating Bamboo Courtyard Teahouse designed by Chinese architect Sun Wei, partner of HWCD. As an international design practice, with offices in London and Barcelona, HWCD has been developing various projects, specializing in boutique hotels, residential, and mixed-use projects. Their projects emphasize the existing "worldwide interconnectedness" in the architecture and design spheres by bringing together a traditional Asian aesthetic and a modern design language.

The Bamboo Courtyard is an example of HWCD's design philosophy, embracing the traditional Chinese garden fundamentals while blending into the natural environment. The bamboo is arranged vertically and horizontally to produce "depth" and visual effects when walking around. Tall rows of bamboo sticks create corridors along the outdoor walkway and are organized in asymmetric fashion on the lake.

Traditionally, Yangzhou courtyards are formed with inward-facing pavilions, creating an internal landscape space. Drawing inspiration from this, the bamboo courtyard was designed from a basic square footprint, fragmented into small spaces to create an internal landscape area. Each of the spaces has views into the surrounding lake, allowing a panoramic view of the area.

From the exterior, the bamboo courtyard is a cubic form with a variation of solids and voids. The strong verticality becomes more apparent at night when the teahouse lights up to illuminate the surroundings. The simple form illustrates the congruent blending of architecture with nature. Moreover, the natural materials such as bamboo and bricks provide sustainable sensibilities. The pocket of voids improves natural ventilation within the bamboo courtyard, while the thick brick wall retains heat in winter, reducing the dependency of mechanical heating and cooling system.

Tea is one of China’s most precious culture heritages and has remained popular throughout thousands of years. It requires an unassuming setting in order to understand its lengthy process. The bamboo courtyard provides the adequate setting to a tea experience, emphasizing the underlying importance of design and architecture.

Hansha Reflection House

Hansha Reflection House in Nagoya, Japan by Studio SKLIM, 2011.

When I visited Tokyo, Japan some years back, in addition to the numerous Tadao Ando-designed buildings and structures by other architects of note, I really wanted to go see Klein Dytham's Under Cover Lab. Tucked away on a side street close to and parallel to Omotasando -- a shopping street home to flagships designed by Herzog & de Meuron, SANAA, Toyo Ito, Kengo Kuma, and Tadao Ando -- is KDa's small cantilevered jewel of a building. It is a design indicative of the creativity required when dealing with the city's expensive real estate and small lots.

Under Cover Lab comes to mind when I first saw the Hansha Reflection House in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture by Singapore's Studio SKLIM. The Nagoya context for the house is not as dense as that of the KDa project; it's more suburban than urban. On a smaller scale, the architects have also created a cantilever, a second floor that reaches towards the street and whatever lies beyond. And apparently it's what lies beyond that is key.

The architects describe that the house is "situated at the entrance of Misakimizube Koen, one of the picturesque parks fronting a lake and flanked by Sakura trees." Therefore the house has been designed to work with its environment. One can glean from a quick glance that the interior circulation culminates in the horizontal picture window that is highlighted with trapezoidal panels on the second-floor cantilever. This window frames the lake view; no wonder the window is horizontal.

Yet the house is not as simple as it appears from the outside. It is actually a tripartite composition in plan. From front to back the spaces are public, service, and private. Further, bordering the small service zone is a courtyard/light well. This last piece is actually the design's key -- as much as, or more than, the cantilever -- for it helps order the house while inserting a bit of natural light and air into the center of the house. It also gives the house an introverted core, something more substantial than the relatively small window fronting the house.

Tsutaya Books

Tsutaya Books in Tokyo, Japan by Klein Dytham Architecture, 2011.

Even as bookstores around the world shutter as devices like the Kindle and Nook swerve the market to ebooks, new things are still happening in the world of books. The recent opening of Tsutaya Books in the Daikanyama district of Tokyo is one such example, a slight beacon of optimism. The bookstore is actually just one part of Daikanyama T-Site, the three-building "village" designed by Klein Dytham Architecture that includes other retail tenants. Tsutaya Books itself also sells music and movies and houses a cafe and lounge, making the place a social one as much as it is commercial.

Klein Dytham won a design competition for the project, beating out 70 other architects from Japan. An article at Wallpaper* quotes partner Mark Dytham on not being a favorite for the design competition, "but integrating the brand into the very fabric of the site and structure appealed to Tsutaya's owner, Muneaki Masuda, who wanted to do something completely different. This is also the case with the interiors, for which we worked closely together to create a new cultural experience."

The branding that he is referring to is working the T-shaped logo into the site plan and the building shapes, but most overtly it's the distinctive perforated screen facade. A single bowed, T-shaped module is repeated across the facades, leaking inside in parts as well. The pattern graphically works like a weave, but each part clearly reads as a "T". It gives the buildings a needed texture, balancing out the glassy expanses and the interior's clean lines and warm tones.

Photos of the interior suggest an atmosphere conducive to browsing but also relaxing and hanging out. The bookstore's various spaces blur any distinctions between the various parts of the store, such that books and other items are on display by the lounge, for example. Interesting interior touches include a children's section with little hideaways, counters supported by stacks of books (an acknowledgment of a near or distant future?), and a stunning hammered steel stair that sits as an object in space. A lot is going on -- architecturally, commercially, socially -- and that's a pretty good example for other bookstores, even ones a fraction of Tsutaya's size.

Photographs are by Ken Lee, from Flickr, used with permission.

Sra Pou Vocational School

Sra Pou Vocational School in Oudong, Cambodia by Architects Rudanko + Kankkunen, 2011.

A project that could easily fit within the vein of the books reviewed this week, this vocational school in the Cambodian village of Sra Pou, Udong started with Architects Rudanko + Kankkunen in an Aalto university design studio in Finland. According to the architects, they "travelled to Cambodia to find a design task with a local NGO" and eventually "decided to organize the construction of Sra Pou vocational school, since there was an urgent need for it and their design inspired both the community and donors." As part of Ukumbi, they provided a training center that enables people in the village to start sustainable businesses in order to secure stable income.

The school is a simple two-story brick rectangular building with a workshop and classrooms, and a covered "community room" to the side. It immediately recalls other projects featured previously on this web page: the Primary School in Gando, Burkina Faso by Diébédo Francis Kéré; the Handmade School (METI) in Rudrapur, Bangladesh by Roswag & Jankowski and Anna F. Heringer; and the Wadi El Gemal Visitor Center in Marsa Alam, Egypt by MADA Architects. These projects share a blend of the contemporary and the local in their form and materials, as well as serving unprivileged communities in developing countries.

[In addition to a vocational school,] it is also a place for public gathering and democratic decision-making for the whole community. -Hilla Rudanko and Anssi Kankkunen

Like the Handmade School, color is used on doors and shutters to give the building a strong presence by creating a rhythm across its facade. In the Vocational School these woven pieces also paint the light in various colors as it enters the workshop and classroom. The primary material is handmade brick made from the local soil, giving the building its distinctive red color. This gives the impression that the building is of its place...because it is. As well, local residents participated in the school's construction, both to make the building affordable to build and, more importantly, give them training to use the same techniques for their own houses.

Other additions to the minimal palette include wood beams and columns for the roof of the building and the outdoor space and woven mats for the roofs themselves. A particularly nice touch in the small building can be found in the gaps in the brick walls, gaps that allow air to move through the interior spaces. These breezes can be modulated by the woven shutters. The gaps dapple the light that enters the spaces, and they do the inverse, giving the building another unique presence in spots of light glowing from the inside at night.

Malacca House

Malacca House in Malacca, Malaysia by SCDA Architects.

One of Architectural Record's ten Design Vanguards for 2003, SCDA Architects' Soo Chan founded the firm in 1995 after working at Kohn Pedersen Fox and then A61 in Singapore. The Malaysian-born architect set up his practice in Singapore, where their focus appears to be, though new commissions extend outside the peninsula to China, Thailand and beyond. Soo Chan's designs reflect the environment of Singapore in its embrace of the big and small, from grand, urban plans to small boutiques and single-family houses. This situation is not unlike many other parts of the world, but a design focus appears at these two extremes.

SCDA's completed work ranges from boutiques for Song & Kelly to apartment towers and a master plan and housing development in Shanghai. Their Malacca House, located in Malacca, Malaysia, exists in the small-scale spectrum of their projects. Intended as a place for meditation, the design uses modern structural methods to insert four rooms between existing party walls, retaining as much of the existing construction as possible, while also reconfiguring it to change our view of the historical fabric. Rolled, steel I-beams brace the party walls while also lifting the masonry boxes above the ground, where excavation increases the sense of space underneath.

Aside from the major elements of the structure and the raised rooms, the project has two, contrasting facades. One reuses the existing shophouse front, keeping it in its state of disrepair, much like the party walls. The other facade slightly projects one of the meditation rooms beyond an existing wall in a not-too-subtle manner. The solid concrete wall of the box contrasts with the typical existing front with its punched openings and flat, two-dimensional character.

While Soo Chan's design is clean in both its structure and each room's cladding - masonry and wood with slotted openings to allow light to enter - it appears to be overpowered by the presence of the ruin it occupies. Perhaps that is part of the intention of the design, where the new does not attempt to stand apart from the old but coexist with it in a manner that is respectful yet dynamic. The method of replacing solid with void and vice-versa manages to invigorate the shophouse, a building type otherwise relegated to the trashheap of progress.