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  • ARCH

    AR. Lim Teng NgiomFrom Ngiom Partnership-Exclusive Interview

    A Role of A Lifetime

    -Architecture

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    Prepared by: Ahmad Razin

  • What is the role of an architect?

    You have a vision of what you want. Now you need to make that vision a reality. Here's how an architect can help you. Architects see the big picture. They are specially educated to help you define what you want to build, present options you might never have considered, and help you get the most for your valuable investment. They don't just design four walls and a roof -- they create total environments, both interiors and exteriors, that are functional and exciting places in which to work and live. Architects solve problems creatively. Architects are trained problem solvers. Need more room for your growing family? Architects can show you how to enlarge your home so you won't have to move. Have a limited budget? Architects can propose ways to get more for your investment than you imagined possible. Architects help you get the most from your construction dollar. Architects make your life easier. Building is a long process that is often messy and disruptive, particularly if you're living in the space while it's under construction. Your architect represents you, not the contractors. Your architect looks out for your interests and smoothes the process, helps find qualified construction contractors, and visits the worksite to help protect you against work that's not according to plan.

  • AR. Lim Teng Ngiom

    Founder of Ngiom Partnership

    Age : 59

    Working experience : Almost 30 years

    Education Background : Bachelor Degree, North East London

    Polytechnic, UK Masters Degree, University of Malaya,

    Malaysia Doctoral Degree (PhD), RMIT University

    Australia

  • When did you have the passion in architecture?

    THE INTERVIEWWhat made you decide to be an architect?

    The decision of being an architect has something to do with your aptitude. So in my case, my decision was of having interest in specific arts and being conversant with the science as well. Recent event, I entered into the profession of architectural course, it was based on attraction towards artistic path of architecture - thats my background. All these while, quite consistent. The science is used as mean, as mean to label the attribute to realize, so I see architecture in that matter. Of course in the course itself, it is not simple. Architects is not an artist. Architects have to deal with social issues, economy issues, dealing with people, basically with the world structure, a tangible world, has something to do with economy and corporate environment and etc. So basically, being an architect is not like an artist where youre being hired away. Over the years, you have to build up the learning process.

    When did you have this passion in architecture?

    Actually even when you entered architecture, of course youre a bit blur, right? Of course it was a bit blur. It has something to do with art and science that youre conversant to do with the other so that is when it started.

    Did your parents forced you to take architecture?It has nothing to do with the parents. When your parents ask you to do architecture, then you better dont do it as youre not willing to do it. To certain parents, they wrong perception. For most architects, if your p a r e n t s a s k y o u t o d o architecture, you better do something else.

  • Did you open your firm back when you were in UK?No , I have to work for local practices first, then only I can go for registration. It is a very long process. It even takes me 5 years to open this firm.

    How was your experience in UK?

    Ill tell you something that youll learn as well. Like I said, I have an aptitude for arts even though I am a science student. So Ive been really present for arts over the year. Thats why I go for architecture. If you think youre good enough, but when you go for the different environment, it is a creative culture among the students over there and youll realize that. Architecture is different in a way that it required creativity where Malaysian students are not very good a initially. They need to learn, the creative part. It has something to do with the culture. Actually, the Malaysian culture, its becoming worst now. Malaysian culture is a lot of protocol, the Malay has confusion kind of culture where you are always expected to always listen to the elders, it is an environment where you take it as it is, so people dont really create or innovate something, you have to be exposed to a culture where creativity is e n c o u r a g e d , a r c h i t e c t u r e requires creativity, if not you wont be able to grasp the essence of design, which design always requires creativity.

    Do you think that Malaysian students should experience the world better?Yes of course, definitely. But a lot of it caused an internal struggle for them. When youre travelling and see the building and famous architects, you find nearly all of them came from cosmopolitan environment. Meaning that the environment that has a lot of interaction, basically an open society. M a y b e t h e r e s a l e v e l o f r e b e l l i o u s n e s s o f c u l t u r e structure but you have to think about it, that level of thinking, or else, you will be forever in this country.

  • How do you handle a tough client?For us, we are quite clear with what we are doing. If something is wrong, then we will tell the client. Normally the client accepts what we say. But I do know that they struggle in that area. That is not very good because it doesnt matter if you lose a project, at least you dont get yourself into trouble. You do have client that is v e r y f o r c e f u l , e s p e c i a l l y b i g cooperates client. But you have to say no when somethings wrong. But there are also some professional parts where if youre caught of conduct, it can be reprimanded, it can be de-registered and so on. So that is possible, it can happen as well and your reputation can go downhill if that happens. So, one has got to be capable to say no if something is wrong and surprisingly, many kinds of respect that . In fact they respect you less and say yes all the time. Sometimes they do it from the perspective. They do what they do. If the architect is able to respond as professional, many of the clients will respect and that is what we found actually.

    What do you think of women being in this profession?Its fine. During my time hardly any girls were doing architecture but now I notice theres quite a lot even in UK as well, but during my time its not a profession for women remember because youre supposed to go to site and stuff, dealing with very rough contractors, but I think now the environment has changed somewhat.

    AdviceBasically having the passion is a good start, you have to continue, you really dont have the interest in architecture, the right time to drop is now, because its very demanding and your course will be very demanding as well. You design, you have to defend your projects and so on, you got to be quite tough, communication is not just verbal but its also visual. You have to expect the ups and downs, because sometimes you just want to explore something but you cant quite get it and it can be quite frustrating.