Last week Singapore awarded Chan Sau Yan Sonny the Presidential Design Award for 2011. He's been a practicing architect for nearly five decades and his designs, featured primarily in Asia, encompass a modernity and attention to tropical setting. His designs are a perfect blend of the old and the new. Born in 1941 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Chan Sau Yan Sonny received his degree in architecture in London and did postgraduate Tropical studies at the Architectural Association School in 1964. Upon returning to Singapore in 1965 he started practicing architecture in both commercial and residential projects.
One of his early projects, the Hyatt Kuantan, served as an opportunity to test his tropical architectural knowledge. Designing structures that take advantage of cross ventilation and provide ample rain and sun protection is common in tropical designs and is reminiscent of the Malay kampong or colonial black and white homes found in Singapore. "It was a distinctively fresh approach of looking inwards at our heritage for inspiration instead of the West," says Mr Chan.
"As an architect, there are responsibilities. You are creating an environment where people are living and moving in it, it's not like a sculpture or a painting. If you take architecture seriously, it's quite formidable." For a great slideshow of his projects and full bio be sure to visit his website.
Additional information found at the President's Design Award Singapore 2011
Images: Chan Sau Yan Associates