Inviting the Gentle Smile of Existence

Inviting the Gentle Smile of Existence

Inviting the Gentle Smile of Existence

1 Formal CPD Point

Available on demand


Through a selection of his resort projects and his design of the Thailand Pavilion in the Venice Biennale Architectural Exhibition in 2014, 'Lek' Mathar Bunnag shares the significant factors that inform, influence and shape his work. People, nature, cultural heritage and cosmic forces are all keys to his work, as well as the concept of architecture as art - sculpture, painting, poetry, dance and music are all part of the architecture.

Discover Bunnag's interpretation of cultural heritage in relation to the individual and as a source of inspiration, not definition. Bunnag discusses how the intangible informs the tangible and the purpose of architecture - to provide serenity and joy. 


This presentation is equivalent to 1 hour/point of formal CPD and will deliver outcomes related to the following Competency/s from the National Standard of Competency for Architects:

2015 Competencies:

Design: Conceptual Design
3.3 Design response incorporates assessment of the physical location and relevant wider regional, contextual and environmental issues.
3.5 Exploration and application of ordering, sequencing and modelling of three dimensional form and spatial content.

Design: Schematic Design
4.2 Evaluation of design options against values of physical, environmental and cultural contexts.
4.3 Application of creative imagination aesthetic judgement to produce coherent design.

2021 Competencies:

Practice Management and Professional Conduct:

PC 12 Provide independent, culturally responsive and objective advice in accordance with relevant building codes, standards, technical specifications and guidelines, and planning regulations, including climate change implications, across all aspects of architectural practice. 

Project Initiation and Conceptual Design:
PC 18 Be able to apply creative imagination, design precedents, research, emergent knowledge and critical evaluation in formulating and refining concept design options, including the exploration of three dimensional form and spatial quality. 
PC 29 Be able to develop and evaluate design options in terms of the heritage, cultural and community values embodied in the site, and in relation to project requirements.  
PC 30 Be able to explore options for siting a project, including integrating information and analysis of relevant cultural, social and economic factors. 

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this session participants should be able to:

  • Discuss Lek Bunnag’s subtropical architecture of sensory engagement in light of his statement “I Wish I Could Invite the Gentle Smile of the Existence”
  • Explore the concept of cultural heritage of place; how the past affects individualism, creativity and freedom of architecture
  • Discuss his use of light, space, time and the horizon as Bunnag explores the relationship between serenity, beauty and art in architecture
  • Explain the concept of monumentality and how the intangible informs the tangible in Bunnag's architecture



    Founder and Managing Director - Bunnag Architects, Thailand

    ‘Lek’ Mathar Bunnag was a Senior Lecturer in Architecture at the National University of Singapore from 1984-1986 and was appointed Honorary Lecturer in Architecture at the University of Hong Kong from 1986-1988. He has a long standing interest in South East Asian Art, Architecture and its Cultural Heritage and since 1988 has focused his practice in design which involves Cultural Heritage.

    His resort creations around the world have received numerous accolades internationally. In 2012 he was designated a National Artist of Thailand in the field of Architecture (Contemporary) and in 2014 he was commissioned to represent Thailand in the 14th International Architecture Exhibition at la Biennale di Venezia as Curator and Designer of the Thailand National Pavilion.





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