Case Study of Architect Christopher Lee


A Malaysian-born, UK-based designer – Christopher Lee, a co-founder and principal of Serie Architects London, Mumbai and Beijing is doing a grade for himself all over the universe, who has a really experient and interesting working experience in his life of being an successful designer today.

The carryall( selected edifice )

The carryall, a “tree” inspiring edifice was completed in 2009 by Christ Lee in the center of one of the most scenic green countries in Mumbai, India. A transmutation of a series of derelict edifices into a alone feast hall, “ The Tote” was one of the most hearty undertaking among his design because of the troubles that the design squad have to get the better of. Due to the disused edifice from Mumbai’s colonial epoch, preservation is a compulsory.

Through analyze the architecture and urban signifiers in relation to relevant architectural theoriesaˆ?of the selected designer and one of his designed edifice, this undertaking provide an chance for us to understand the architect’s architectural theory. Using architecture as primary text, this undertaking claims that the universe of signifier is non arbitrary but displays an internal logic that has the capacity to convey significance.

The Carryall



Bing sheltered by one hundred old ages old of walnut trees, the location of “The Tote” in Mumbai colonial yesteryear was the inspiration of the designer determination, which besides the most interesting facet of the whole design.

Due to the interesting facet of the site where the whole edifice is covered by mature rain trees where the edifice is shaded for the whole twelvemonth, the site has its possible to make a sense of leting the whole proposed plan to happen out-of-doorss. Christ Lee attempts to go on this thought of a continuously detached infinite, with a fuzz boundary, into the envelope of the preservation edifice. The edifice was orientated to the North and South to let indirect sunshine into the edifice due to the function of the infinites which function as a feast hall.

The extraordinary canopy of the Indian walnut trees surrounded the feast hall goes up and down harmonizing to the subdivisions of the tree extended indoors to shadow the ceiling to floor glass wall which fix on the North and South of the feast hall. In order to filter the visible radiation of the Sun perforating into the hall through the trees, the ceiling, was cut at certain countries of intersection on the roof.


Ramifying out of the trees branched formed the natural shading for the edifice and make a natural outdoor feast hall.

As the walnut trees entirely shelter the edifice itself for the full twelvemonth, solar heat absorbed from the roof and the window was cooler down by the tree surrounded through evapotranspiration. Hence, the edifice has a really good air flow of airing and the edifice itself consumed really low energy ingestion even India is a hot tropical state.

Architectural Theories

Critical regionalism

The carryall, was to be retained as Heritage Grade II B construction and heritage preservation guidelines has to follow the regulations of continuing the roof profile of three-fourthss and one one-fourth of the full edifice. Harmonizing to Frampton, critical regionalism should follow modern architecture critically for its cosmopolitan progressive qualities but at the same clip should value responses particular to the context. Emphasis should be on topography, clime, visible radiation, tectonic signifier instead than scenography and the haptic sence instead than the ocular. ( Kenneth Frampton, 1985 ) . As the site was situated on alcoholic of verdure, the designer do non pull strings much on the site but he enter a dialectical relation with the nature, taking advantages of the site, avoiding flattening the infinite in order to cover with the abnormalities of the physical landscapes.

In order to conserve the historical country, modern design were adopted into the edifice design every bit good. For the feast hall, roof were remained untasted while a really impressive design of structural system were added into the hall which non simply play the function of a building’s construction, yet the edifice construct design every bit good.


When Christ lee presented the chance to plan a combination of feast with a fine-dining eating house and saloon, he began to re-examine the necessities of this specific type and typology. In the postmodern period, theoretician reconsidered the impression of type as the kernel of architecture, seen in some instances as comparable to lingual deep construction.

Basically, Christ Lee interpret the objects surrounded the site and brought it into planing the shell of the edifice. Creation of alone structural system copying the subdivisions off of the cardinal station of a walnut tree’s form and construe it into the encouraging construction of the hall. The feast hall infinite is comparatively simple yet with a really outstanding ocular, different ramification length and sizes in structural system to specify the assorted infinites in the Tote.

With the thought of intermixing the environing site into the edifice, the long feast hall were installed with floor-to-ceiling Windowss both on North and South to let for full positions of the walnut trees in the courtyard. To make a more light and aired feeling in a dense green country, the ramification construction systems are all painted white in colour to heighten the feeling.


A really outstanding design that will instantly capture your oculus vision was the saloon which nestled within a 9m high infinite on the upper degree. The design is still based on the imitation of the signifier of the trees yet it is much more abstract attack was implemented for the saloon and eating house. A really modern manner of planing the wooden panel into a 3-dimensional form with the thought of transforming the geometric forms of a tree foliages. The 3-dimensional wooden panels were brought out in bronze colour and clad all up on the wall and the ceiling. Comparing to the feast hall which is to the full supported by the subdivisions construction system, the saloon has a much more looser in experiencing where it itself present a life of its ain within the bing edifice envelope.


The tote’s design, Christ lee really stress the battle of the edifice to the metropolis even within an interior apparatus. Mentioning the type-typology surveies conducted by Aldo Rossi in the sixtiess and 1970s as a starting point, Christ lee seek to make a idea of method that would convey to the populace of credence of type-typology understandings. In contrast to the functionalist which stressing on economic every bit good as political forces in modernist idea, typology as design method was Christ lee’s “concept of type” .

Type, in Tote’s instance, was used as being projective to the metropolis and therefore generative of architecture, as opposed to being relegated to an observing and analyzing function. Second type-generation on the footing of formal or structural administration made type travel beyond the normal programme or map generated standards. This sort of sidelong thought that provided pan-project logic led to typological invention.


Due to the high-tech detailed of the ramifying supporting system, inside informations were exactly planned before constructing. Steel storytellers and professional labour are needed in the building of the construction, as it is much more hard comparison to normal steel building method. The construction was fabricated in tree shaped and it is a large challenge to the technology on lay the construction. To hold a more preciseness work, Christ Lee exploded out two sectional drawings of the steel construction, which is one in box subdivision and

an I-section.

The I-section was selected to build, it is due to the ground that the web of the I-beam could travel to laser cutting to guarantee of the dimensional preciseness, while depending on the skilled storytellers to weld the rims on and link the trusses absolutely. The truss geometry was improved for level ramification as opposed to an angular one to diminish the sum of dyer’s rocket articulations. The success of the installing is that the concluding merchandise conceals the fiction method and appears to be a system of curving subdivisions.

To guarantee the highest grade of truth and flawlessness of connexion, all the steel subdivisions were specially modeled and laser cut for connexion, meanwhile to cut down the sum of seeable seams. Other than that, a formation of the complexness between the gaps and coves were formed where the angular trusses encounter the ceiling supports. From this gaps, it hides three different types of illuming systems inside it which is operable and carry through the client’s demands. Through this lighting agreement, Serie was able to animate the consequence of light filtering in through the canopy of a rain tree grove.

The inside of the fine-dining eating house and saloon on the upper degree is a really outstanding yet really complicated organisation of three-dimensional, faceted wooden panelling, acoustically treated with sound proofing stuff. The form of the panelling is a series of trees with crossing subdivisions. The design was devised a 3 point coordinate system to map out the form onto the walls of the heritage wing, given the 3 dimensional nature of the paneling and that each crossing point had a wholly different ten, Y and omega coordinate. This system allowed local craftsmen utilizing reasonably crude tools to accomplish a high degree of tantrum and coating for the interior plants. The faceted paneling is finished in walnut veneer with bronzy channels doing up the tree form.

Discussion and decision

In my sentiment, most modern metropoliss who depend finally on some signifier of the idealistic doctrine do non truly approaches the ideal of “type” of a edifice design. Even thought the “type” is merely an abstraction however The carryall, has wholly achieved it itself sort of “type” by the designer. Christ Lee has brings together the two different apprehension of type, with the type of thought and type of theoretical account. This undertaking is absolutely integrated into the selected site, by miming the environing canopy of Indian walnuts.An oasis of relaxation.


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