BUILD Q4 2019

58 BUILD Q4 2019 Jul19408 e believe that good buildings are not only about style or trends; they are created and exist to inspire people taking into consideration the past, present, and future.” - Charles Phu This is the essence of what architectural designer Charles Phu sees as the role of OAC. Through this approach, this bespoke design practice has amassed a burgeoning array of projects, bolstering their already impressive portfolio of work. It’s no surprise, and the secret to their success is really no secret at all. After all, large projects thrive and blossom under that all-important human touch. This is Charles’s approach to architectural design, and it is where he has focused his efforts. Having led the design team behind the 463-metre tall Okhta Centre (now known as Lakhta Centre), Charles is no stranger to large projects. He and his team at OAC have just finished work on the design of the Ching-kuo Chi-hai (CCK) Presidential Memorial Cultural Park, Library and Museum in Taipei. ‘The challenges we had were how to successfully incorporate the mixed cultural background of the country’s late President Chiang – Chinese, Russian, European and local Taiwanese – into the creation of the inspiring environment of the Presidential Memorial Cultural Park and its architecture to allow visitors to interpret and perceive in their own ways with individualist freedom,” says Charles. He’s very proud of his contribution and having overcome the various challenges of such a large- scale project. There was scrutiny over the smallest of details thanks to the unique political and cultural history of Taiwan and Mainland China. In many ways, this is the ultimate project for Charles to have engaged with. His mission has always been to “design and create human and culturally based architecture and environment.” Dealing with such a delicate situation would require his unique blend of human friendliness and individualism to reach a satisfactory solution. Ultimately, this concept of human friendliness and individualism is intrinsic to the approach and ongoing strategy of the company. At the end of the day, it’s the human touch which makes their projects truly unique, practically and psychologically. “Many clients and architects tend to follow fashionable main stream trends which result in many architectural designers and firms enjoying so-called factory production line type of design approaches, design methodology Best International Museum & Gallery Architecture Practice - UK “W Led by acclaimed architectural designer, Charles Phu, Office for Architectural Culture (OAC) is a London-based multi-disciplinary design practice. We caught up with Charles to find out more about his inspirations, ethos and work. and design solutions,” says Charles. He hopes to lead a shift inside the industry, promoting a humane, cultural and individual design philosophy. His designs are deliberately sympathetic to the surroundings in which they find themselves, both the community and the environment. The design process for these buildings is deceptively straight- forward. Taking the aspirations and goals from the client, then looking to provide innovative interpretations of local cultures and history. Using the latest 2D and 3D design and drafting software technology, OAC is able to design buildings at an incredible degree of accuracy. They try not to impose on other people in the area, or the environment of the area in this process. Looking forward, Charles and the team at OAC have several exciting opportunities ahead. “We are expecting to kick off the design works for several major landmark projects overseas in 2020, including a 100,000 sqm city cultural centre complex including an opera house, concert hall and five museums in Ningbo, China,” says Charles, adding that they’re also about to start work on “a 20,000 sqm historic-cultural complex and 5-star hotel in Haikou, China, and a 100,000 sqm landmark skyscraper in Central Asia aimed to be a regional business and cultural centre.” Charles seems undaunted by the workload. To him, having various types of projects on hand is an opportunity to demonstrate his perspective on architecture and where the industry is going. He believes there is going to be a shift away from factory-line production of buildings and towards something more bespoke, engaging with culture and the effects of architecture on people: “developments and buildings based on local cultures and locals’ social behaviours which is to encourage further prosperity of local socio-cultural characters.” OAC does amazing architectural design with a human attitude. It inspires a connection with the past, present and future. Just as importantly, it looks like it’s paying off. With Charles and his team working on bigger challenges, it’s even more of an opportunity for his customary friendliness and individualism to show how things could be done in the world of architecture and design. Contact: Charles Phu Company: Office for Architectural Culture Email: [email protected] Website: