The Real Deal New York

Architect Soo Chan remembers a childhood spent in a world heritage site

July 18, 2015 10:00AM

Soo Chan

Soo Chan at Khoo Kongsi

It’s fitting that a world-renowned architect like Soo Chan – who currently has three NYC projects underway – would himself emerge from a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Chan was born and raised in Penang, a Malaysian island where his ancestors built a gilded temple and central granite square known as Khoo Kongsi in the mid-1800s, according to the Wall Street Journal. Today Khoo Kongsi is part of the Unesco World Heritage Site of the city of George Town.

“Even when I started my career, in 1993, my first house was long and narrow, with moments of light coming in,” he told the Journal. “When you have a linear procession, you can choreograph the experience so that entering a home is sequential: first a dark room, then a light room, then a low ceiling, then a high ceiling.”

Chan is best know in NYC for including an unprecedented 16 private indoor-outdoor pools at the Soori High Line at
522 West 29th Street.

“I love negative space,” Chan added. “And I’m sure I learned that from growing up running around in the Khoo Kongsi courtyard.” [WSJ]Christopher Cameron