Transcendental spaces by Singapore-based architect, Ling Hao

By EdgeProp Singapore / Haven/Edge Malaysia | November 2, 2017 4:30 PM SGT
Singapore-based architect Ling Hao. (Photos by Linghao Architects)
Twenty years have passed since I last saw Ling Hao, the award-winning architect of the eponymous Linghao Architects, a Singapore-based practice established in 2000 that he currently runs as a one-man show. Going down memory lane, I became acquainted with Ling in the late 1980s through mutual friends as tertiary students in Australia. Half a decade later, our paths crossed again when Ling relocated to Singapore post-graduation to work for maverick architect Tang Guan Bee.
I then lost touch with him but in recent years, I have been reading and hearing from friends about him winning awards and that he travelled to Japan in 2015 to speak on architecture as the Singapore representative in conjunction with the Toto Gallery Ma 30th Anniversary Exhibition.
My curiosity was piqued as to how his style of design had evolved and what defined his philosophy of architecture. This was a guy who was quite the rule-breaker in his younger days, veering towards grunge and grit rather than gloss and glamour. Style-savvy and gifted with an eye for a highly evolved form of aesthetic, Ling was always resolute and confident in marching to the beat of his own drum.
I arrange to interview him in Singapore where he resides and practices, and when we meet, I notice vestiges of his appearance and mannerisms from his youth — slender, soft-spoken with that air of a creative in the artfully dishevelled way he is dressed and groomed, just a bit more weathered by age now. Ling had always been somewhat of an intellectual with a ferocious reading habit, traversing a multitude of topics from architecture (naturally) and philosophy to the arts and general fiction.
Natural intervention — Satay By The Bay
He suggests meeting at Satay by the Bay, a project he co-designed with KUU — a Shanghai-based architecture firm helmed by Satoko Seiki — and Tan Kok Meng (with whom Ling had set up Ham Architects in 1998 and which they ran for three years). The project went on to win Singapore’s President’s Design Award in 2013, the judging panel of which boasted Japanese starchitect Ryue...