Past Events

A River of Ideas: How my Childhood Helped Shape my Design Thinking

About the Talk

Guest Speaker: Kun Lim, President of the Kun Lim Studio LLC, Seattle, Washington State, USA & Principal Designer at Kun Lim Architect, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

There was a river meandering at the back of my childhood home in Kampung Kubang Rotan, Kedah, Malaysia. It was a river of life and activities for all of us siblings and was our link to the outside world. I draw inspiration from the house which my father built with mostly locally sourced materials. It comes with passive design features such as Lanai that provided natural ventilation and brought in light. It had a huge concrete tank right in the middle of the house which harvests rain for everyday drinking, washing, showering, and cooking. It also cools the house on hot days. There were vegetable plots, fishpond, chicken, pigeon coops, and our own paddy field right outside, making the family as self-sustainable as possible.

My life experiences growing up at my childhood home and compound, together with the design principles I acquired as an architecture student at the University of Houston, influenced all my architecture, urban design, and town planning work in places as far ranging as the United States, China, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and, of course, Malaysia.

I am constantly going back to my past and memories of my childhood to seek solutions for sustainable development, not just in a physical sense, but also in the dialogue between buildings and buildings; buildings and context; and buildings and people.

Date: 24 May 2023, Wednesday
Time: 8.00pm – 9.30pm
Venue: Penang Institute, 10 Brown Road, George Town

Moderator: Ong Siou Woon, Chief Operating Officer, Penang Institute

Registration Link:

About the Speaker

Kun Lim is the President of Kun Lim Studio LLC in Seattle, USA, and Principal Designer of Kun Lim Architect in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. His portfolio encompasses a wide range of project types, including mixed-use, multifamily, commercial, athletic, campus, worship, medical, recreational, and township planning across Asia and the United States. His concept master plan proposal while working for BEP Architect, won the invited design competition for Putrajaya, the new Administrative Capital City of Malaysia, in 1994. He then served as the lead planner for the master planning of Putrajaya from 1994 to 1996 with the multi-disciplinary consortium Kumpulan Perunding Kota Bistari Sdn Bhd, in which BEP Architect was a member. Kun Lim and his projects are featured regularly in architectural and mainstream media, including TV in Asia. He speaks regularly about his projects and practices at conferences and forums in Asia, Europe, and USA, and he is a board member representing design professionals with the City of Seattle Design Review Board.