To Expand The #Selftaught Movement Across Southeast Asia!

On the 4th episode of our Self-taught Series, Chan Hon from our web development session joined us to talk more about parametric design. Chan Hon graduated in Germany with a Master's degree in architecture. During the weekdays, he works as a freelancer and over the weekend he joins us for our weekly web development class. (Learn more about our web development classes here!)

Chan Hon was first exposed to parametric design while studying for his Bachelor's degree in Malaysia. Instantly he developed a passion for it, hence he furthered his studies in Germany wanting to bring the practice back to Malaysia.

Parametric architecture designs aren't your typical tall 4-cornered buildings. They're modeled using softwares and algorithms (with a little hint of coding!) instead of the conventional pen and paper.

Dongdaemun Design Plaza is an example of a parametric design architecture. Credits to visitseoul.net

Oftentimes, people think that architects are just here to erect buildings here and there but we tend to neglect the artistic side of it. Here's what Chan Hon has to say about it.

"I kind of think that people think that architects just design buildings, actually it's not. We're building spacial experiences and what is the spacial usage is for. So from there, we keep optimising the spacial design for human needs. Parametric is a tool that can further our studies and research to build a more optimised environment for the future generations."

What is a typical day like for you?

"I wake up at 9-10AM, reply all my emails, then I begin my site meetings to supervise some sites. Then during the evening I come home and study coding just to brush up myself. That's pretty much what my daily life is."

Is there any resources, step-by-step guides or resources library where somebody build their career out from?

"I would say to study architecture is something you need to go to school and learn about. I think that architecture is something that has been passed down since the olden days. So, I would say that every students need to go through the history and fundamentals of what architecture is. If you're interested in parametric architecture, first learn what architecture is then you dive in to what can be optimised based on the knowledge that has been passed down. Parametric is actually just a tool for us the further our research. There are a lot of tutorials and workshops online, and everything can be looked up in YouTube. One of the active communities are called Grasshopper 3D Community. That is where everyone from all over the world share their parametric scripts and designs."

So if I am a beginner and I want to learn parametric design, I just have to google "Grasshopper plugin", "Rhino 3D Model", "Parametric design rhino tutorial"?

"Yes, correct"

And how do I build up something for me to be good enough to land a job?

"This is a tricky question, it is definitely not easy to learn. You need a basic set of knowledge on what architecture is, then you will know what are the rules and parameter you need to set for this tool."

Where does your self-taught aspect came from?

"It came from my time back when I was doing my degree in Malaysia. They didn't really teach all these tools on parametric design because the syllabus leans towards the traditional architecture syllabus. Hence we didn't really use these tools. I first found out about these things was when I was doing some research. I was thinking why does those buildings look so alien-like. Being intrigued by it, I started to research what tools are required to build these buildings and what kind of skillsets are needed for me."

Is there a parametric architecture firm in Malaysia?

"No, definitely not. Because there aren't many demand right now for it. I think that Malaysia has yet to require these sorts of buildings yet as we are still a developing country. We have other priorities to focus on first."  

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