+ Yi Ming Ng 🇲🇾
The Winner of the Emerging Talents Award
1) Could you briefly introduce yourself?
Yi Ming is an architectural designer born and raised in Malaysia. Upon obtaining both his Master’s Degree and Bachelor’s Degree of Architecture from University of Malaya, Yi Ming continue to involve in a variety of competitions, events and projects spanning across various project’s scale.
Fascinated by both material and immaterial essence of architecture, Yi Ming’s passion lies between the paradigm of architecture and phenomenology. A good architecture to him does not need superficial packaging or romanticizing, but it should give more focus on the essence of phenomenology, spatial intimacy, and non-formative experience.
Currently based in Malaysia, Yi Ming takes pride in being part of a new generation of architectural designer who speak with a fresh and provocative voice, orientating the contemporary present towards a more phenomenological future.
2) What inspired you for the Emerging Talents Award?
I have been actively following the Non Architecture website and community since 2018, and I have consistently found the competition topics here to be both fascinating and intriguing. These topics have pushed me to question the fundamentals of architecture, encouraging me to think more deeply about the role of design in our world. Since discovering the existence of architecture competitions, I have actively taken part in several of them over the years, which has allowed me to refine my skills and explore new ideas. I am always eager to share my architectural concepts and competition schemes through various platforms, and when I learned about the Emerging Talents Award, I felt that it presented the perfect opportunity to showcase and communicate my ideas to a wider audience, making it an ideal platform to bring my innovative designs to the forefront.
3) Can you describe any particular challenges you faced during the design process and how
you overcame them?
During the design process, I often encounter several challenges that require careful navigation. After reading through the competition brief or a client’s specific requirements, one of the common struggles I face is the initial uncertainty of what I want to design or achieve. It’s a delicate balance between being cautious about what I don’t want in the design while not having a clear premise in mind. While experimenting with different ideas, I tend to reject some immediately but find it challenging to pinpoint the ideal concept for the project. I’ve learned that the premise of each project is the driving force and the kick starter for any design, so I take my time in deciding on it. When facing such challenges, I often find it helpful to discuss my ideas with a fellow team member if I’m working with a team. However, when working individually, I have a strategy where I fix an initial idea for the scheme and then sleep on it, only rationalizing or reevaluating it the next day. I’ve found this approach refreshing because it helps me break free from the repetitiveness of my initial mindset, offering a fresh perspective on the project after a good night’s rest. This process of reflection and re-evaluation has proven to be a valuable tool in overcoming design challenges.
4) How do you think your educational background or professional experiences influenced your winning design?
My educational background and professional experiences have played a significant role in influencing my design. My previous educational environment was instrumental in shaping my thinking process during the design phase. Interactions with lecturers and sharing sessions, as well as conversations with fellow classmates, have provided valuable insights and perspectives. Listening to design stories from friends has broadened my horizons, enabling me to think critically about each project. I firmly believe that an idea should always make sense in terms of contextual specificity, typological integration, and various other factors. Additionally, my habit of reading books on architectural theory has been pivotal in shaping my thinking mindset. It has allowed me to question my preconceived beliefs and embrace a more comprehensive approach to design thinking over time. One of my recent reads, “Non-referential Architecture” by Markus Breitschmid and Valerio Olgiati, has been particularly influential in expanding my understanding of architecture and design. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in the field.
5) What advice would you give to students or young professionals looking to excel in architecture competitions?
My advice to students or young professionals aspiring to excel in architecture competitions is to approach architectural design with a structured mindset. A successful architectural design often begins with a clear premise, followed by the development of a strong idea, and finally, the realization of the actual architectural product. It is essential to avoid arbitrary decision making in the design process. While it can be tempting to combine interesting elements or ideas from various sources, I believe that such indiscriminate blending should be avoided. Instead, everything created during the design phase should be purposeful and directly related to the premise and idea you bring to the table. This approach ensures that every element in your design makes sense in the context of the project, leading to a more cohesive and successful result. This mindset will prove invaluable in the long run and set you on a path to excel in architecture competitions and the field as a whole.
6) What are your future aspirations in the field of architecture?
In the field of architecture, I must admit that I can’t precisely foresee where I’ll be in 5 to 10 years from now. However, I’m driven by a few clear aspirations. I intend to continue actively participating in various architecture competitions, as they provide an invaluable platform for honing my skills and pushing the boundaries of my creativity. One of my ultimate goals is to see one of my winning designs brought to life in a real-world architectural project. This would be a remarkable achievement and a testament to the strength of my design ideology. Additionally, I’m working steadily towards fulfilling the criteria required for the Professional Architect exam in my country, with the hope of obtaining the professional title after successfully passing the exam. This journey will hopefully further solidify my place in the architectural field and allow me to contribute to the industry in a more comprehensive manner.