It was a long morning, even a longer afternoon. Dreading a long evening too. To my surprise, the evening was a delightful one despite a bit tired after staying up watching my beloved team thrashed Sunderland. Delightful evening, not so much the food nor the company but the privilege to listen to a renowned architect, Mr Chien Chung Pei AIA. For people who are familiar with the world of architecture, the family name ‘Pei’ brought images of famous buildings such as the Grand Louvre in Paris and the skyscraper Bank of China building in Hong Kong. These buildings, off course were designed by the one and only I.M.Pei. Mr Chien Chung Pei AIA is one of his sons.
It was not just a talk on architecture. Going through some the buildings he designed such as the Al Burj in Dubai, the Bank of China Head Office in Beijing, Suzhou Museum in China, United States National Slavery Museum, Ronal Reagan UCLA Medical Centre and the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, he talked about the thought and philosophy behind the designs.
As he remarked again and again, it will take him more than three hours to go through his presentation. Fortunately, or was it unfortunately for us, he talked for slightly over an hour giving us to have a lively interactive session for another hour.
To share what I learned will take me pages and pages of boring text. I will not be able to put them as eloquently as him. But two things, simple yet valuable things etched strongly in the mind. If put into practice we may just be able to meet the client’s expectation more not just in terms of cost and time but ultimately the end product, a building meeting their requirement.
Firstly: “Buildings should make people (occupants) feels better”.
Secondly: “in designing a building, talk to the client/owners”. Talking to them will help us discover what they really want and need. It is easier and more comforting trying to sell to them their own ideas rather than trying to force our ideas on them.
With these two principles, we may have more and more happier clients and end users.