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22 Apr 2019

Lianhe Zaobao, 22 Apr 2019, A Post-1970s Singaporean’s Fascination With Conservation (translation)
I have a young architect friend by the name of Yeo Kang Shua. We met when he was doing his doctoral studies in NUS. During the weekends, he would oblige our request to bring us to various historic architectural sites. Kang Shua, a Teochew, would always share interesting stories and details of these historic buildings, such as Chinese temples, explaining the origins of different architectural features, etc. Just when we think that’s all there is to the appreciation of architecture, Kang Shua would be able to bring the stories alive, a 3-dimensional story, illustrating the evolution of the architecture style. He will also explain architectural terminology and more.  I used to wonder how a post-70s Singaporean embarked on a career in the conservation of Chinese traditional architecture. Kang Shua’s reply was, he had perhaps asked too many questions during his school days. That was in the 1990s and a statement in his lecture notes stating that “all the construction materials for Chinese temples were imported from China” raised more question than answers for him.
Today, Kang Shua, in his 40s, is an associate professor of architecture at SUTD. He is already experienced in conservation of heriage buildings, cathedrals, temples, which includes receiving the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Award for some of the more prestigious conservation projects. He hopes his students would be able to see and achieve more.  He has set up a fund to support needy students’ overseas travel. His advice to architectural students is to ‘see more, be more curious and ask more questions’.