History, science inspire these architects
Asia Young Designers award 2017/18

Ng’s design is inspired by the appreciation of history and sacrifices witnessed by the country


All great architectural geniuses are inspired by something. It could be from nature, or strong belief at a particular time or an event that has moved a nation and its people.

For the master’s in architecture student Ng Wai How, his design is inspired by the appreciation of history and sacrifices witnessed by the country.

Ng was awarded the Gold Award in the Architecture category in the Asia Young Designers Award 2017/18 for his design — “War Museum — Extension of the Tugu Negara”.

He said the design was inspired by his belief since he was a child, and that being in touch with the past would allow the nation to move forward into the future.

The University of Malaya student said he felt there was a lack of narrative which provides the knowledge of the past.

His design is also intended to transport visitors into a historical journey.

“The design is such that at the end of the walk, the museum visitors can see the final commemoration, the national monument,” he said.

He said the design was created in such a way that “visitors can walk upwards and reminisce and learn about the country’s past”.

But history is not the only inspiration for Ng. What he reads also inspire the young architect.

“I read a lot. So, some of my proposals may include quotes from the books I read such as Haruki Murakami’s quote on history. These things propelled my idea further,” he told The Malaysian Reserve.

Meanwhile, Taylor’s University Malaysia Bachelor of Arts interior architecture graduate Shahmeena Labeeb said she was inspired by science.

Shahmeena, who bagged the Interior Design category, said she was always interested in Science.

“Part of it was because I felt like everybody else proposed designs that were human-centric instead of their surroundings and the environment.

“I was also inspired by Michelle Obama’s Snapchat entry where she showed that she kept honeybees at the White House’s garden,” she said.

Shahmeena said her unlimited consumption of various content, especially the movies, had provided her the inspiration for her design.

“For example, this ‘Plan Bee — City Beekeeping’ design itself was further inspired by the Bee movie. The movie made me feel like the design is for me to create. It solidified my intent to design something for the honeybees,” she said.

Both Ng and Shahmeena were science-stream students but their part took them to the studies of arts. Ng said he has always been interested in the arts.

“I was a science-stream student and when it came to choosing, I was hesitant at first. But I got here anyway,” he said.

Shahmeena said her family background helped her to choose this part. “I was a science-stream student. But I grew up with fashion designers around me. I felt that subconsciously I was attracted to arts.

“After all, in architecture, I can still incorporate my science knowledge. In fact I was very interested in biology,” she said.

Being architecture students require a considerable amount of knowledge in the sciences in order to understand the construction and engineering aspects especially when creating a structure that could last for a long time.

While many may feel it is all about thinking and sketching, Shahmeena said being an architecture student can be both mentally and physically exhausting.

“But it is worth it when you get to see how your work come to fruition,” she said.

Ng said all the other courses also have its hard moments but you just need to soldier on and keep improving yourself.