Friday Satire: The Architect’s Style Manual

First, this column is conceived specially for men. Because no woman in the right frame of mind will want to look like an architect(ress), thanks to Zaha and Sejima.

And now we begin.

1.Have a Wardrobe of Black Everything.

Buy everything in black. Conscientiously. From dress shirts to t-shirts, pleated pants to skinny jeans, boxers to socks. Why? Because black is always the new black. This is the best way to ensure that you are the epitome of style.

In an all-black outfit, subtlety is key. Layer the different shades of black: ebony, raven, jet etc. Look out for the understated Eton collar, the barrel cuffs, that extra stitch. Discard anything with monograms and labels. They are crass like Paris Hilton.

Can anyone tell the difference? Of course not. But who cares about The-Masses-With-No-Taste? You know that you are different. That’s all that matters. It’s the new trend – carrying that LV bag without the label, when we’ve been doing that for the last 100 years.

When your girlfriend complains that you look like you’ve been wearing the same shirt for the 100th day, educate her. Tell her: “It’s all in the details.”

2. Grow The Goatee

Don’t shave for a week. Grow a forest of wilderness that extends from the chin to the jaw. If it remains barren after one month, swing into emergency mode. Adopt an active approach. Apply Martell X.O. Cognac religiously to the region 3 times daily [1]. Patiently wait for the first sprout.

The Goatee is the antithesis of the subtle, all-black outfit. It differentiates you from The-Masses-With-No-Taste. It makes you stand out in The Crowd. Like the poor, struggling and unshaven artist, it announces your Creativity.

The Goatee changes your face instantly. It oozes primal sex appeal. It exudes Johnny Depp Hotness. A survey found that Singaporean women are much too in awe of The Goatee to embrace it [2]. But no matter. Because you do not want just any girl off the street. You’re looking for that cool chick. The Goatee is your dating tool – it serves to distinguish the hip and the unique.

(And if you do this right, you might just score a Maggie Cheung.)

3. Wear Thick Rimmed Black Specs

If you feel uncomfortable with your newfound Johnny Depp Hotness, put on a pair of black specs. It gives you the Look of Knowledge. You are now the perfect union of sexiness and intellect.

But not just any black specs. They must be thick-rimmed and matt. For you are no stodgy accountant who breaks out in cold sweat. And remember, The Goatee is essential to the thick-rimmed matt black specs. Wear the latter on its own and you risk looking like an army cadet.

And if you worship the Golden Trinity of Style, Knowledge and Creativity in this Manual, you will be met with a life-transforming change.

You will look like become a real Architect.

[1] Method tried and tested by Author. Proven effective in growing eyebrows.
[2] “Only 32% of Singaporean women like the goatee look” in The New Paper, 15 May 2010, p.17.


Friday Satire: The Lindsay Lohan Approach to Architecture

Lynn: Let me guess what this is. Must be some kind of mausoleum.

Kenneth: Go on…

Lynn: Probably in China – just take a look at the symmetry and immensity of the whole thing. Yeah, my best guess would be a mausoleum to dead Chinese leaders, with spacious niches on each level with a great view of a plaza for the masses.

Kenneth: You’re wrong on all counts. This is actually the Chongqing Opera House in Sichuan, China.

Lynn: Ahhhh I see, it’s another attempt for a developing city in doing a Bilbao, trying to outdo each other in terms of iconic architecture.

Kenneth: Based on the way it turned out, I guess there are lots of ways to gain visibility, architectural merit being just one of the many factors.

Lynn: Ah, you mean the Lindsey Lohan Approach. If you can’t beat others at the game, notoriety is the way to go.

Kenneth: Yeah. And it works, no? We’re featuring it on our blog.

Lynn: But… only the tabloids carry news of Lohan nowadays. Doesn’t that make us the News of the World of architecture?

Kenneth: Well, it’s never a bad thing to pander to the tastes of the masses. Tabloids sell. We need readership.

Lynn: But we want to attract the RIGHT kind of readers! Not the kind that reads News of The World. Can’t we at least be 8 Days? Where there is actually some decent content?

Kenneth: This building isn’t all that indecent. There’s actually some merit to it, if you look at the section view.

Lynn: Interesting… I might have given it an A grade if I didn’t see the exterior.

Kenneth: You’d be surprised. The façade can look good too.

Lynn: But that’s because 90% of the building is CROPPED OUT of this picture!

Kenneth: But THAT is how you turn a bad design into good design. It’s like how no one can ever look bad wearing sunglasses ‘cos half of the face is covered up.

Lynn: So that’s the trick behind all your A grades in architecture school huh! Did you wear sunglasses during your presentations too?

Kennth: Nope. My mum gave me a pretty decent face.

Lynn: *rolls eyes* Whatever. Let’s return to the topic at hand. So, what’s the real deal behind the building?

Kenneth: Well the concept is derived from er… a ship. And it literally does look like one, especially when it lights up at night.

Lynn: You mean a ship that ran amok on dry land. A shipwreck! Now I totally get it. For a shipwreck, the design looks pretty good.

Kenneth: Hah. Perhaps you won’t believe this. But this shipwreck is actually designed by a multinational German architectural firm.

Lynn: Well it’s not that unbelievable. The Germans have always steered clear of metaphor and poetry I think. Isn’t the most famous movement out of there the Bauhaus? They excel at building logical, squarish, high-tech buildings. It’s no surprise that the Holocaust memorial is built by a foreign talent.

Kenneth: And the firm is suitably embarrassed about the project. Its existence is completely obliterated from their website.

Lynn: Perhaps it’s not due to the firm’s bad design. Maybe it’s the contractor’s fault. Like they didn’t have the proper skills to realize the poetry of the architect’s vision.

Kenneth: Or the engineer’s fault for prescribing too many beams that ruined the visuality of the ship.

Lynn: Or perhaps the client’s. You know how fengshui has yielded so many weird interesting architectural forms in China.

Kenneth: Yeah, it’s NEVER the architect’s fault. Especially when things go wrong.