Quest for great architecture | The star
TALL buildings, shallow architecture. Big mosques, small size. In Malaysia, we lack architects with spiritual substance to inspire the younger generation beyond mere architecture.
We need architects who focus on building a sustainable society for all Malaysians and not just building taller buildings or bigger places of worship.
We need architects whose works also create “buildings” in the spiritual realm with a vision of upholding the ideals of Rukun Negara.
Humans are wired to tell and listen to stories. Thus, architects must be able to integrate their professional expertise and spiritual experience into a single narrative that would serve as the basis for weaving a story of humanity, transcending ethnicity and religion.
This would be a perfect example of the theory of “idle thinking” expounded by the famous Chinese philosopher Wang Dongyue in his book A Unified Theory of Evolution: Natural, Mental and Social (2019): “Human nature is the expression of all beings; the human being is the miniature of the universe.
Overall, we want architects who are storytellers who can tell a story, just as history underlies the entire evolutionary spectrum of humanity. To give the story a larger-than-life quality while making it appealing to everyday people walking down the street or surfing the internet, a pragmatic, evidence-based approach is paramount.
In our efforts to seek out such talented storytellers among members of the architectural community, the Asian Big History Association has partnered with the International Big History Association (IBHA) to host a webinar entitled “Big Architecture: Building a Sustainable Society for Humanity” on July 9 at 9 p.m. local time (https://bit.ly/3QaFE5g).
We have invited three architects respectively from Malaysia, the Netherlands and China to join our efforts to seek out such talented storytellers.
To give the “headhunting” a flavor of great history, two great historians from Japan and the United States will also participate in the discussion. We cordially invite you to join us in the search to design and build a global spiritual community.
Founded 10 years ago, the IBHA is a young organization that tells a very old story. It is a platform that seeks to understand a young discipline called “Big History”, which has been rooted in humanity’s innate curiosity since time immemorial. The discipline gained momentum after the highly exalted philanthropist, Bill Gates, together with IBHA founding president, David Christian, began planning the Big History Project (BHP) in 2010 (https:// bit.ly/3Nsdml8), which culminated in the TED talk (https://bit.ly/3O2TSna) with the launch of the BHP, a free online course for everyone.
We want the efforts or webinar to be led or moderated by a young, great historian who can represent the younger generation.
The idea is to give young people the opportunity to develop their leadership skills in managing differences. After all, the next generation is going to have to deal with the planet with all the problems that we, the older generation, have created for them.
TAN CHEE KEONG
Southeast Asia Coordinator,
Asian Association of Great History
(Star columnist Prof Dr Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi is one of the three architects on the panel)