Between Wooden Blocks and Pencil Strokes

I always had an innate love of building, although for most of my life I was completely unaware of this. As a kid I would explore what I now call “shape and form” through any medium I could find. Legos and wooden blocks work the best but occasionally I would come across some mud and twigs which would also do the trick.


However as I grew up, my interests in those “projects” would be replaced by a new found fascination with animation and the graphic arts. I exchanged wooden blocks for pencils and from primary school on I was drawing any chance I had.


The end of high school soon approached and it was time for me to decide on my future and how I planned to make a living. It is easier to fill a bowl in some ways compared to other. During this turbulent time my parents gently suggested Architecture as an option.

At the time, this was the most foreign thing I could imagine for myself. I had not thought much about “building” for the longest time, let alone “buildings”. Much like the traveller in Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” I decided to go down the road with the promise of a better claim.


To my surprise, studying architecture was not at all how I had imagined it. Unlike many white-collar professions we were not tied to excel spreadsheets and word documents. We were encouraged to approach architecture in our own individual ways. Glueing pieces of cardboard together and finding sense in the result was part of the curriculum and brazenly pairing comic book characters with iconic architecture in a technical drawing submission was met with praise. I enjoyed the practice of both things in the same discipline.


7 years since beginning this journey, my appreciation of architecture has grown and matured, but the joy of creating still remains. Between the wooden blocks and pencil strokes, I could not imagine a better place for me to be in life than in the world of Architecture.

Hwen Cheng Yap



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