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Looking Inside the Biographical Nature of Things with Huat Lim
Updated 2021-06-10

The architecture segment of the Virtual International Design & Creative Masterclass was led by Huat Lim, an esteemed award-winning international architect and co-founder of ZLG Design, which focuses on building technology and materials for low-energy design solutions. Having first started his career in London and France in the 1980s, he possesses a vast experience specializing in large and complex buildings, such as the London Stansted Airport, France’s Nîmes Médiathèque Museum, King’s Cross Redevelopment and the Boh Visitor Centre in Cameron Highlands, just to name a few.

Huat Lim presented his personal journey of taking on an active role in architecture both locally and abroad. He also touched on interesting ideas regarding humanist manifesto, sustainable development protocol, biophilia and placemaking. His talk was titled “Biographical Nature of Things”, where biographical means having elements of nature and the way that nature is ever-changing.

His presentation consisted of four general concepts – people, philosophy, process and projects. He said that people are in essence the crux of every decision-making and that architecture is first and foremost about people and they are the crux of every decision-making. He introduced several books about philosophy touching on nature, civilization, current building trends and different cultures, that are good reads and can propel trajectory in the career of design.

“It’s very important that we don’t forget that architecture is for human beings. Everything points out to how we have to be aware of the fact that we are human beings and we want to remain as such for a very long time,” he reminded about the importance of sustainability and preserving nature for the future.

“Urbanisation doesn’t have to be ugly or bad. There are ways in which we can invite nature to be part of our urban form. Nature is a very big part of our culture and we should bring that back into education, to understand ecology more and to research on how we can bring nature back into the science of buildings,” urged Lim.

He showcased the design philosophy behind some of his award-winning projects, the Boh Visitor Centre in Cameron Highlands, Point 92 in Damansara Perdana, and the W39 House, a 3-storey contemporary terrace house with an open plan that incorporates a lifestyle of connecting with nature.

“The new luxury is when you can sit out there and embrace nature as it is. Air movement is natural ventilation, light and energy from the sun, and rainwater. All these are available and free of charge, but we are not using them as we should. Luxury is when you don’t have to pay for any of these resources. Nature is perfect, there’s never an ugly cloud,” he said on how he foresees the trend of architecture will be.

[The One Academy of Communication Design was established in 1991 with the aim of promoting the region as the world’s center of creative reference. Strategically located in the thriving creative hub of Bandar Sunway, Selangor, with a branch in Georgetown, Penang, The One Academy is today a top notch leading international institute in art, design and creative multimedia, renowned with graduates who steer successful careers in creative capitals worldwide. The courses offered are Digital Media Design, Digital Animation with Game Development, Film Visual Effects, Illustration, Movie & Game Art, Advertising & Graphic Design, Interior Design, Paris Fashion Design & Pattern Making and Fine Arts.]