May 12, 2017
by Canadian Architect
Designed by Bjarke Ingels Group with executive architect Adamson Associates, 66 Hudson Yards includes a spiral of green infrastructure that extends upwards from the High Line. Photo: Bjarke Ingels Group
Ken O. Lum
As a 28-year-old who had recently received his Master of Architecture, Ken O. Lum, MRAIC was shortlisted from 1,011 professionals in a major international competition to design a national September 11 memorial for Flight 93, which was hijacked by terrorists intending to crash the plane into the White House or Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. His proposal explored the potential of landscape and sculptural form to heal tragedy through time and inspiration. Lum’s award-winning design was published, featured in a documentary by CBC National, and televised internationally. It received multiple awards, including the OA A Award of Excellence.
Lum’s professional experience began in design firms including Hariri Pontarini Architects and KPMB Architects. In 2007, he joined the executive architect firm Adamson Associates. To bridge the gap between design and construction, he seized the opportunity to propose and create a design manager role that leads, reconciles and balances the design and construction concerns of client, design architect and executive architect teams throughout all stages of design. A design manager’s uninterrupted involvement guarantees that design integrity is maintained from start to finish. Since its successful debut, Adamson now employs design managers on most of its complex projects.
The luminous scar-like profile of the Flight 93 September 11 National Memorial is inscribed in the landscape. Photo: Ken O. Lum
Lum’s ability to view a project holistically through the lens of an architect, engineer, client and user has led him to become the youngest and fastest-promoted associate at Adamson. He has worked on such high-profile projects as 50 Hudson New York, Crossrail Station London, Abu Dhabi Media Zone, and various skyscrapers in New York and Lon-don. He is currently working on the highly anticipated Google Head-quarters in California. Lum has successfully collaborated with the firms of master architects including Norman Foster, Richard Rogers, Jean Nouvel, Zaha Hadid, Ben van Berkel, Jeanne Gang, Bjarke Ingels, and Thomas Heatherwick.
Design excellence executed at the top levels is achieved not through solo genius, but by a collaboration of talent. Success in architecture, for Lum, is about the day-to-day work of many contributors. Lum’s example demonstrates that there are paths other than celebrity and starting one’s own practice to create a meaningful impact and enjoy a fulfilling professional life.
Designed by UNStudio with executive architect Adamson Associates, the Abu Dhabi Media Zone is a broadcast-focused development located near the Corniche waterfront. Photo: Unstudio
Lum has served as a teaching assistant and design critic for the University of Waterloo, and volunteered as a guest lecturer at Ryerson University. He also serves as a mentor to young professionals at work and aspiring architects at the high school level. He is part of the OAA intern architect mentorship program.
:: Jury ::
This award is given in recognition that there are roles for architects with-in the practice of architecture that are significant, but not centered on classic notions of the designer. Ken O. Lum is playing a major role in project cost, content and management for complex projects. He is demonstrating the major impact that an individual in a large organization can have, and at an early stage in their career. The choice of Lum for this award validates the place of support and management roles within design culture.