CIAP Architects : The Heart of the Built Environment

Construction TeamEd Budds
Construction Team Ed Budds - Editor
Highlights
  • CIAP Architects provides a vast selection of master planning, architectural, project management, and interior design services, building a wealth of substantial experience in a wide range of developments across Asia.
  • “Beautiful objects need meaning, and we’ve always prided ourselves on not doing things frivolously,” says Theodore Chan, Senior Director, CIAP Architects.
  • Across the entirety of CIAP Architects, the company brings years of experience and expertise in designing healthcare facilities, including hospitals, clinics, medical offices, and research centres.

With a firm commitment to innovation, sustainability, and client satisfaction, CIAP Architects delivers bespoke design solutions tailored to meet the unique needs of any architectural project. We talk to Senior Director, Theodore Chan, to get the full story on this multi-faceted industry titan.

THE HEART OF THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT

True architects surpass the role of building stylists, healing the built environment, creating places and spaces that add value and meaning to life. We construct the necessary theatre and stage on which the story of humanity unfolds. We are the heart of the built environment.” 

The opening words of Theodore Chan, Senior Director at CIAP Architects (CIAP), perfectly encapsulates how much it means to him and his team to see the company’s buildings used in the way they were originally intended. 

Flash back a lifetime to when Chan was 14 years of age, when his elder brother asked him to design and build a fence for a house.  

“I designed a very simple picket fence, worked out the measurements, then bought the timber, nuts, and bolts, and built it myself. My brother was very happy with it,” he recalls fondly.  

“I thought this is what architects do – except they design buildings rather than just a fence.”  

Little did either brother know that this seemingly inconsequential holiday project would propel Chan on a pathway to one of Singapore’s leading architecture firms. 

Determined to follow his dream, the next stage of Chan’s career progressed as he chose to study architecture at the National University of Singapore. After graduating, he began working with prominent and avant-garde architect, Tang Guan Bee.  

Having soaked up as much knowledge as possible, Chan spent the next 11 years training with SAA Architects, a distinguished architect firm in Singapore, where he learned the ropes of the industry. 

Next, in 2000, Chan was presented with the opportunity to join a fledgling company – Consultants Incorporated Architects and Planners, which would eventually become CIAP.   

Now boasting a vast level of industry experience and knowledge, collected meticulously over the last 30 years, Chan and the internationally acclaimed CIAP has been instrumental in the design and implementation of many award-winning development projects in Singapore.  

Additionally, from 2012 to 2015, Chan proudly served as President of the Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA), where he developed the curriculum for the Architectural Practice Course and the National Standard of Competency for Architects (NSCA).  

During this period, balancing both roles meant splitting his time carefully between the SIA and CIAP, which entailed relying on business partner Tham Tuck Cheong and a strong team of young independent architects.  

“I was very fortunate to be supported by Tuck Cheong, my mentor and friend, and our team,” Chan reflects. 

MASTERS IN MASTER PLANNING

CIAP provides a vast selection of master planning, architectural, project management, and interior design services and has built a wealth of substantial experience in a wide range of developments in Singapore and across Asia. As it has grown, CIAP has expanded its offices in the Philippines and Indonesia to venture and support the growing regional needs of the business. 

At the company’s core, CIAP believes in designing buildings as an honest expression that is appropriate for its function and with sensitivity to the environment.  

In this way, the firm’s intricate design process embraces a logical analysis of the client’s brief and user requirements with a personalised and professional approach. The company further considers the complete consciousness of the client’s objectives regarding operational policy, time, cost, and design excellence.   

“Our team of experienced and qualified professionals are dedicated to confidently delivering the highest standards of service, from inception to successful completion,” Chan acclaims. 

“To this end, our office is equipped with extensive and comprehensive state-of-the-art computer-aided design (CAD) and drafting facilities to document the most demanding of designs alongside coping with the fast-paced complexities, requirements, and challenges of today’s design and construction industry,” he confirms. 

MAXIMISING INNOVATION AND DESIGN

For CIAP, the craft of designing bespoke buildings must be integrated with a layer of innovation and technology.  

Further to this, Chan believes that the ever-growing importance of engineering and science will continue to play a bigger role in the industry moving forward. 

“Beautiful objects need meaning, and we’ve always prided ourselves on not doing things frivolously. Everything we do must be purposeful, and there must be a reason for each building component or design,” he elaborates.  

“We now have the technology and digital tools for evidence-based design. It’s time for architects to science-up. My team has the artificial intelligence (AI) and programming skills, and now is the moment for them to step up and put the science and technology into our mantra.” 

When Chan refers to evidence-based design, he uses the example of a sun shading device on a building. Eight out of 10 architects won’t be able to tell you what percentage of shading there will be on the façade, but evidence-based design will outline the specifics of what it can do, cutting out 82.3 percent of sunlight between the months of June and July.   

“This is the focus for CIAP moving forward. We’ve recently started a small innovation department called CIAPAI. Here, we’ll apply technology and science to all our healthcare buildings and architecture that we’ll be designing in the future,” he explains. 

Moreover, across the industry, evidence-based designs are the new normal in terms of design thinking. Chan also believes that integrated digital delivery will become a growing trend in Singapore construction, with digital technologies used to integrate all processes and stakeholders throughout the construction life cycle. Cloud-based technologies can now create a single, up-to-date source of project data that can be accessed by all.

Theodore Chan, Senior Director, CIAP Architects

“Beautiful objects need meaning, and we’ve always prided ourselves on not doing things frivolously. Everything we do must be PURPOSEFUL, and there must be a reason for every BUILDING COMPONENT or design”

Theodore Chan, Senior Director, CIAP Architects

TAILORED SOLUTIONS FOR HEALTHCARE

Across the entirety of CIAP, the company brings years of experience and expertise in designing healthcare facilities, including hospitals, clinics, medical offices, and research centres.  

“Our team of architects understands the complexities of healthcare architecture, from regulatory compliance to patient-centric design principles,” Chan tells us. 

“We specialise in creating state-of-the-art hospital environments that prioritise patient care, staff efficiency, and operational excellence. Whether it’s a new construction project or a renovation, we collaborate closely with our clients to design spaces that enhance healing, promote wellness, and optimise workflow,” he enthuses. 

Dedicated to excellence across every facet of the process, CIAP’s architectural designs combine functionality with aesthetic appeal, reflecting the latest trends and innovations in healthcare architecture. From evidence-based design principles to sustainable building practices, the company integrates cutting-edge solutions to create environments that inspire healing and well-being. 

“At CIAP, client satisfaction is our top priority. We work collaboratively with healthcare institutions, stakeholders, and end-users to understand their vision, goals, and requirements. Through open communication and transparent project management, we ensure that our designs exceed expectations and align with our client’s objectives,” Chan concludes passionately.

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The Construction Team are responsible for sourcing and showcasing corporate stories from the Construction, Property, and Real Estate sectors across the APAC regions, and sourcing collaborations with Business Leaders, Brands, and C-suite Executives to feature in future editions.
By Ed Budds Editor
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Ed Budds is an in-house writer for APAC Outlook Magazine, where he is responsible for interviewing corporate executives and crafting original features for the magazine, corporate brochures, and the digital platform.