Sketches and images in this story by Bhatch Architects
Architecture plays a pivotal role in shaping our unique abode. In a world where many creatives find themselves building a working studio either out of their own pockets or racking their brains to find a spot within the comfort of their own homes, such design knowledge has become an important narrative of any one artist's career.
We catch up with Joseph Lee of Bhatch Architects, an innovation architecture practice based in Singapore providing services from concept design, authority submissions to construction administration.
What's the key to making a single space pleasant, productive and expressive for the people in it?
Lighting—both natural and artificial—plays a key part in shaping the atmosphere of a space. The type, quality, colour and placement of lighting can influence how we feel within a space—pleasant or intense, productive or relaxed, expressive or monotonous.
Lighting also brings out the many different aspects of architectural design from forms, materials to the minutiae, and is present in all noteworthy architectural works.
Is there any particular trend in the world of architecture that people should be paying more attention to?
Sustainability and the implementation of sustainable technologies in architecture have become increasingly noticeable since I started work in 2003. Energy efficient systems, use of renewable energy, green initiatives, and indoor air quality controls should be part of the consideration.
Most people do not realise it but most buildings these days have cleaner air, are smarter, more energy efficient and generally built better than they ever were.
Would you care to share your process when designing a space?
I work with sketches and models for every project. Sketches are immaterial and unfettered and may precipitate ideas I am interested to explore at the onset of the project (before the more practical aspects of building manifest). I use different mediums, papers and techniques for the sketches to experiment with the textures and proportions. Colours are used to imagine material relationships in the design.
Models help translate the sketches into tangible forms of massing and space. We create scale and physical models with paper, cardboards, wood, metals and other various materials we can get our hands on, just so that we can understand and appreciate the quality of materiality in the architecture—something I am particularly passionate about.
What's the trick to making a studio space (built within a home) feel professional and intimate or warm at the same time?
I spent the first month working in my own bedroom when I started out and I can vouch that having your working desk next to the bed isn’t the most productive arrangement!
Personally, I prefer some form of separation between my living and working zones but if that is not possible, try to create a distinction in the spaces for the mind to settle into the correct working or relaxation states.
A change in lighting, view, material or orientation can help the mind differentiate between the resting and working space.
Finally, what is the future of architecture to you?
I think data and technology will become an even more integral part of architectural design in the future. As we begin to understand our daily living and working patterns via data collection on apps and the Internet, architecture will eventually be shaped in more complex ways and develop to help each of us work more efficiently, sleep better, feel happier and live longer.