Blue Collar Architects

No background,
No pe-degree and
No mingle-with-the-elite skill.

No job choosing,
No design philosophy and
No sound-clever -flowery language.

Work on whatever job that lands,
Make the best out of every work and
Hope for the best work relationship.

Too stupid to play mind games,
Too stupid to read between the lines and
Too stupid to bridge connections.

Made to wait,
Work the ground and
Take the blames.

Rough words,
Unpolished language,
Working class they are.

WH, Jan 2012


Crowdsourcing is not the express train to wisdom

The most popular is not always the best

The new is not always easy to understand

Paul Goldberger

There is a fine line between
Wabi Sabi and Lazy Sloppy

Fetish for Novelty – Its not trying to be different that counts.
Rigour for Perfection – Its trying to be the same but better

Hands and Honest

I have a theory. I believe honesty has to do with how much time one works with his or her hands.

I think the more you work with your hands the more honest you are going to be. It is as if when you use your hands whether to work or to create, that action generates some stimulants that tell your mind to be more honest. Your hands discipline your mind.

I know it does not make much sense. I will try my best to explain this “hands equal to honesty” theory.
When you are working or creating something, you train your mind to think through things, the steps, the processes and the consequences. Then you put that into action.

When you are not careful enough, either in your thought or with your hands, you will mess up. You will then learn from that and exercise a higher level of discipline.

It becomes a routine, a ritual. You will think, speak and act with discipline and eventually you will become a more honest person. As you are hands on, you have put in real effort, you know the process of making things, you know the hard work, you are less likely to make empty talk.

You will utter words more carefully. You are less likely to overpromise or boast.

You may not even speak well as you have worked with your hands more than your mouth, but you will exude an honest aura that gains trust.

I could be bias but I trust a quiet person with a pair of busy hands better than an articulate one that keep hands out of dirt.

WH, Oct 2012

Planning a City

As architects, we are trained to plan, to control movement, to dictate what one can see and experience.

We like to design everything, from skyscrapers to a doorknob.

So of course, if there is a city for us to plan, chances are we will jump right in. We have ideas and visions for great cities and we have quietly planned a city in our heads.

But hold on a second, isn’t this something many great architects had tried and failed (at least that is what the critics say).
The masters have drawn their utopias. The cities look good. The vision is heart-rending and you can almost smell the utopia, and yes, it smells dreamy.

So what’s wrong when they get implemented?

Profound critics and knowledgeable scholars will come along and point out: the cities are planned for cars, the zoning are impossible, the cities are too rigid, inhuman etc.

The architects’ side of story, it will be: the vision got short-changed by politicians, it was suppose to evolve through multiple phases, the implementation is all haywire…

The arguments will go on and on.
Maybe the real argument is can a city be planned?

If we look at the evolution of cities, they usually began as small towns with good resources. When the resources grow and generate more and more opportunities, people will pour in. New infrastructure will be made when the old ones could not support the additional people. Slowly and organically, the tiny town becomes a city.

A town or a city will grow or shrink in proportion to opportunities. Opportunity is like a river; it gives life, it is fluid and constantly changing. It can be diverted and be made good use. It can float you or flood you. It may also run dry.

Cities are forests that grow by the river. A forest becomes a forest when the soils are fertile. The richest soil will have the biggest woods and the tallest trees.

Can we plan a forest and channel a river? We can always try and nature may humour us or make us look humorous.

WH, Nov 2012