Wood In Architecture Issue 1, 2018

IN PERSON 27 WOOD IN ARCHITECTURE • ISSUE 1 • 2018 Malaysian architect Azman Md Nor is a huge fan of wood. He is quietly championing this material in his country, but the lack of skilled craftsmen and quality timber, he says, is hindering progress. T imber is experiencing a renaissance in Southeast Asia as local architects return to their roots, drawing inspira Ɵ on from the tradi Ɵ onal kampong houses of their youth. Or at least, this is what Azman Md Nor feels is driving the Ɵ mber revolu Ɵ on in the region. The 55-year-old architect and part- Ɵ me lecturer grew up in such an environment—a kampong (or village in Malay) in Port Dickson where most household items such as toys and furniture were made from wood. “We used wood to make whatever we needed, even the chicken coop. It’s convenient and easy to work with,” Azman says. At Deakin University where he read architecture, he was inspired by the late Professor Kevin Borland who took the class to visit the Ɵ mber houses he designed, further fanning the Ňames for wood apprecia Ɵ on. However, it was only in 2006 that the father of four began ac Ɵ vely pursuing projects in Ɵ mber at his own prac Ɵ ce, Arkitek Azman Zainal. Azman’s style can be described as avant-garde, bold and unique, a “like it or hate it” kind of vibe. He personally feels it is humanis Ɵ c, raw and natural, drawing richly from local culture. “Using wood for the interior is like bringing in all the a Ʃ ributes of the forest into the hearth. Wood has many health beneĮts,” he says, conĮrming several studies that a wood-clad interior calms the nerves and reduces stress levels. This philosophy is evident in Anjung Kelana, the home and o ĸ ce he built for himself. The building brings out the honesty and raw beauty of Ɵ mber, and for that, bagged second prize at the inaugural Malaysian Wood Awards last year. According to the jury, the curvedwall structure is “one of themost interes Ɵ ng design elements of the house, providing structural stability that speaks volumes of what could be done with Ɵ mber.” “Let wood be wood,” he says. Like many of his peers, Azman agrees that wood is easy to work with: It can be carved or cra Ō ed using light handheld tools; it generatesminimal waste as the o ī -cuts, wood chips and sawdust can be fashioned into other products; damage can be easily repaired; old Ɵ mber works can be reclaimed and recycled for other purposes. However, external applications of wood pose a great challenge in Asia’s tropical climate. The material must ba Ʃ le