Finding work in Malaysia as a freshly-minted architecture graduate on the back of the Asian Financial Crisis was a challenge, but alumnus Alan Teh (BEnvDes 1998, BArch 1999) accomplished his dream in spades.
Principal Architect and Founding Director of Atelier Alan Teh Architects (AATA) and Founder and Curator of Atelier Art Space Gallery, Alan Teh was listed as one of Malaysia's Top 10 Architects in Top 10 of Malaysia magazine 2017.
Influenced by Tasmania’s beautiful natural environment, he has been recognised, in particular, for his innovative greenscaping initiatives, frequently on high-rise buildings.
His company won the PAM (Pertubuhan Arkitek Malaysia/Malaysia Institute of Architects) Awards in 2016, 2017 and 2020. Celebrated were its iconic high-rise Univ360 designs featuring Malaysian plants in roof-top, wall and sky gardens, and the Urban Container House. Other awards include Project of the Year in the 2016 Malaysian Landscape Architecture Awards, Star Property Award 2017–18 and the ASIA Property Awards Malaysia.
Now a new challenge has presented itself with COVID-19.
“Our practice has about 25 staff and it wasn't easy to sustain the office in such a climate,” Alan Teh said.
“We had to turn away from big corporate clients such as property developers and focus on the private client market to bring in new jobs,” he said.
“The experience of living in Tassie for five years as a student also made me independent, hence, although faced with different woes in recent times, it did not deter me from staying focussed on my planned course.”
Alan said of his time studying Architecture at the University of Tasmania, “The School gave me a rounded education which enabled me to handle all sorts of difficulties and challenges in real-life professional practice in architecture, be it design and technical issues or legal, management and finance issues.”
And does he have an opinion about the Green Roof on our new North-West Campus?
“I just saw it. It is cool! It is great to see everyone embracing the sustainable way of designing our built environment,” he said.
“From day one at the Tassie School of Architecture, we were taught about being more sensitive towards the environment and championing sustainable design even from small projects.
“In Malaysia, we have been exploring and designing buildings with green roofs for the dual purpose of recreation and heat insulation. In one particular project we managed to transplant mature trees onto the roof of our apartment project.”
This month, Alan was an invited speaker at the Datum Architecture Conference, one of the biggest architecture events in Malaysia.
During his time at the University of Tasmania, Alan took the opportunity to do an exchange for a semester at the Bergen School of Architecture in Norway plus a three-month architectural pilgrimage of Europe. His advice to new graduates is to have more confidence in themselves.
“And stay focused on your goals; lay them out in different stages so that you can accomplish them one step at a time,” he said.
“Let's also be more compassionate and responsible on the issues the global communities are facing such as global warming and deforestation so that we can together achieve and create a better tomorrow for our future generations.”
Alan Teh studied at the University of Tasmania on a Full Tasmanian International Scholarship.
If you are part of our international alumni community and want to share your story or connect with others in your region, contact us at email@example.com.
This article featured in the monthly eNews Alumni and Friends. If you are a member of the University of Tasmania community and would like to receive this publication, please provide or update your email address.