AR43 Architects is an award winning firm established in 2006 by Lim Cheng Kooi. The firm has been characterised as being strongly committed in the pursuit of responsible design. Within a span of 12 years, it has made a profound mark within the design and architectural field. Its philosophy in being responsive to the context of the place, the importance of the clients’ needs and solving issues of the moment has successfully propel the firm to greater heights, taking on a multitude of building projects.
Its founder, Lim Cheng Kooi has managed to impart his design experience of more than 20 years into the projects that the firm undertakes. Projects such as 21 Jervois Hill which the firm received an Honorary Mentioned Design Awards at the 10th SIA Architectural Design Awards 2010 is a testament to this. To add, given that many of his past works have been published and discussed in top architectural journals, AR43 is indeed perfectly poised in pushing the frontiers and possibilities of design in the field of architecture.
Throughout the years, AR43 has been able to adapt and excel in a design atmosphere that celebrates the diversity in projects. It has undertaken design briefs such as the Karuna Home for the disabled located in Bylakuppe in the district of Mysore, Karnataka State in South India and other community works. These pursuits highlight the need for architects to be socio-culturally involved and be of value to the community at large.
The projects that it has embarked on both future and current, ranges from educational institutions, commercial complexes, hospitality, private residences and office building; from the modest to the luxurious. Through the intimate interpretation of spaces and its functions, these buildings designed by the firm have served its users responsibly and sincerely.
The definition of AR43 as a design firm comes from the innate understanding that it has towards being responsible to the built environment. It constantly strives to harness the physical and emotional reconstructive potential of architecture. This would then be translated into a design that evolves around a synthesis of site and program. With such an approach, the client’s dream can be realized and fulfilled; creating the extraordinary with an ordinary budget.
After graduating from architectural school in 1988, Lim decided to work for renowned Singapore architect William Lim who was exploring modernist ideas in commercial and residential projects at William Lim associates. His skills were honed under the guidance of William Lim for five years, completing various award-winning projects including the extension of the Central Market in Kuala Lumpur.
Lim embarked on for another year working with another esteemed mentor, the controversial architectural designer Tay Kheng Soon at Akitek Tenggara II until 1994 when Lim was part of a trio of designers who founded the award winning practice, Forum Architects. This was partnership that lasted for 12 years with the firm, where he acquired a wealth of experiences and the vastness of architectural pragmatics. The partnership saw a variety of projects receiving numerous awards and recognitions through the publication of top architectural journals. It provided a strategic platform for Lim’s design ideas and philosophy to be discussed. These were the formative years for Lim and since then his firm AR43 has benefitted a lot from the values and lesson he had gathered in the field of design and architecture.
Lim believes in being a designer who is responsible towards the built environment and like his mentors, was involved in socio-communal driven projects. The Karuna Home for the Disabled located in Bylakuppe in the district of Mysore, Karnataka State in South India is one such pro bono project that he has undertaken. The project embodied the subtleties of design that is very conscious of its users, and being sensitive to the site context and program. This language in design is prevalent in the various projects he has undertaken which includes commercial, residential, hospitality and in interior spaces.
Apart from architecture and design, Lim immerses himself in the fields of the arts. He paints passionately and sees the fertile relationship between the arts and architecture as something that defines himself as an individual. In 2008, he held his solo art exhibition and raised fund for The Karuna Home and a neighbourhood school’s bursary program. The exhibition was an example of how the arts and architecture can serve the community in spirit and within the socio-economic issues at hand. Lim continues to push himself through both in his architectural practice and through is passion for the arts; sculpting the environment we live in into aesthetically beautiful and functional spaces.