Reuben and Adrian

EP. 14 30 APR 2021 | 49:00

Maximising your Living-Space + 'Liberating' Architecture to the Masses

The episode begins with Adrian sharing what  'Architecture' means to him. The duo then explore the psychological impact of a home's interior, the fundamentals of a good living space, innovative storage solutions and some tips for new homeowners looking to renovate their homes the first time round. 

Later in the show, Adrian opens up about his current project to bring an affordable design-and-build concept to the masses in Indonesia - many of whom are young/single-parent families operating with low budgets. 

He shares the inspiration behind the project, the challenges, and some of the company's future plans - one of which includes 'modular' housing, a concept that involves a 'house-on-wheels'. 

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RDReuben is the producer and talkshow host of the Stacked Podcast Series.


AEAdrian Emanuel built his career as an architect from the ground up. From assembling legos when he was younger, this University of Pennsylvania graduate — with a master’s degree in architecture and certificate in real estate development — worked on big-name projects such as World Trade Center 2, Shell headquarter, and Facebook headquarter.


Reuben  0:00  
Hey guys, welcome back to another episode of At Home with Stacked. Now on today's show we're transcending borders yet again, this time with New York based architect, Mr. Adrian Emmanuel.

Now Adrian his hands in designing the current Facebook headquarters, even going to the extent of designing a secret exit tunnel for Mark Zuckerberg himself. Now he's also been involved in designing the New World Trade Center alongside the Pentagon. So the man's definitely got some experience under his belt. On today's podcast, I'm keen to find out how architecture and the interior of our homes can actually impact us on a deeper level, and how we can perhaps tweak our modern day homes to get the most fulfillment out of them.

Later on the show, we hear firsthand from the man himself on his current mission to bring affordable architecture back to his people in Indonesia. In his words, this is the most fulfilling thing he has done to date. As always, if you guys like what you listen to feel free to hop on to for more of this right after the show. 

Hey Adrian, welcome to the show, man.

Adrian  1:07  
Hey, Reuben, thank you so much for introduction. Glad to be here.

Reuben  1:11  
Thanks for being on. I know, is it early morning for you now? Is it like late night in? Uh, no,

Adrian  1:16  
It's actually around nine o'clock. So not too bad.

Reuben  1:20  
Okay, perfect, we'll get this done by 10pm, you know, you can have a solid nap and get ready for the next day. So I guess to start the podcast of, I would love to hear your view on what architecture actually means, in your opinion?

Adrian  1:36  
Well, to me initially, actually, what it meant to me is like, you get a piece of land and build it up from ground up, and there you go, you got a space, right. But, but as I goes along with my career, so I got to design, several iconic buildings and so on, I started to get more meanings than just space or buildings, right. So it's, it's kind of like a form of statement for certain people, as, for example, World Trade Center is kind of like a form of statement for the, for New York for the US in itself. And I think one of the one of the projects that I really like, is actually this small project in in Congo, that actually is a very small, humbling, very humble project. Nothing fancy. But that is very impactful to, to me, and also to the user, because it really changed the way that people live over there.

Reuben  2:35  
Okay, so on one end, it's like a statement, you know, it's kind of like a pride object. And on the other end, when you bring it onto the fundamentals, it's a lot about your living space, how to maximize your fulfillment in that sense.

Adrian  2:48  
Yeah, I think, I think once I realised that, oh, you know, space has so much more meaning than just space, right? Suddenly, people started to live and behave differently. They, they, we can, we are able to kind of alleviate the living, living quality, sanitary standards, and then hence, their health. So yeah, it's, it's quite, it's quite powerful and impactful, actually,

Reuben  3:20  
That's really nice. And I mean, this transcends different levels. Like I mean, what you mentioned about sanitary that's maybe in a third world country, right, where they might not have enough hygiene or water, or even clean air. And then you bring it over to like, first world countries like Singapore, for example. And we live in this shoe box unit. And then again, that living space impacts your daily life, you know, you maybe feel a bit more repressed, less creative as a result of just going home to this tiny house every day. So I mean, all these ideas. This is what architecturally architecture actually means. And, I mean, just on that note, as well, when people talk about impactful architecture, what is that? I mean, you talk about, you know, the well being, the mood, the way you feel, maybe if you could share a little bit more about this?

Adrian  4:14  
Yeah, actually, I think, especially with this kind of work from home situation. People spend more time at home and he started to begin to feel like architecture is it is really impactful to like the psychology of the user, the psychology of the people that live there, they use the space, you know, especially if it's like, a very compact, you started to feel kind of stuffy, if it's like a low ceiling, you know, it feels like kind of oppressed. And then there's a reason also why, you know, if you kind of think about it, office space tends to have like higher ceiling than then a residential, because that is exactly like psychologically, people work more productively. With a higher ceiling, whereas people feels more secure, feels more safe with a lower residential kind of feeling.

Reuben  5:08  
Wow, so I always knew that I felt a lot happier with in places of higher ceilings, like we go to this show flats all the time. And when I see like, you know, six meter high ceilings, I, I'm elated but I really understood why. Are there any other psychological implementations perhaps like differences, nuances in architecture that really impacts your mental space.

Adrian  5:31  
Yeah, I think, generally, apart from the height of the ceiling, the ratio of the space, also the width, to the height, you know, the width to the length, also, that really impacts the kind of mood the kind of feeling that either there's the designer is trying to convey to the user.

And also apart from that would be kind of the texture, kind of the color also of the of the of the space, if it's like a very sleek, very pristine, somehow we can relate to like Apple store or something like very like, modern technology goal. Something that's very rough. I started maybe like a little bit dim, you started to relate to concrete floor, maybe you started to relate to maybe a somewhat some someplace that's more natural, maybe a resort, resort space, and so on. Right?

So this is really important to like, all these tiny bits kind of builds up towards like, the overall mood, can you perhaps share a little bit more about some fundamentals of a good living space? I think fundamentals of a good living space is obviously, it answers to the programmatic needs of the of the user. And then on top of that, good exposure to daylight, good cross ventilation, especially in tropical areas, right.

As we talk, one of the thing that I think is really important is also the view view, towards the outside, I think, distance between buildings is, to me is very important. And what's not crucial is actually the size the area, I don't think I don't think the bigger the better, right? So I think, from past experience, from projects that I've gone through big doesn't mean better. Sometimes big is actually worse. Because as as you have, for example, like living room, you have like very deep living room. So actually, you don't have enough kind of sun penetration in because the floor plate is just so deep. Hence, also cross ventilation is it started to get problematic because the air, the airflow can't go through from one side to the other.

Reuben  7:51  
I think it just kind of brings to mind like a landed house. Right? Like is you see so many issues, we've landed houses where the interior is big, but the interior is so dark because of a lack of Windows, and all that kind of stuff.

Adrian  8:04  
Yeah, that's true, I think, I think Landon house, especially. Because it's, it's very, it's very free to design, right? You don't have a certain restriction to like, structure of like, especially if you have like a very, very big of land. So you really don't have those restriction. But actually, the freedom of design sometimes also becomes a double, double edged sword. Right? Right. So you might want to be really mindful of like, every every move that you're doing every size that's being for every programs, therefore, obviously, obviously, obviously, some programs can't be too small. So some programs can't be too big either.

Reuben  8:52  
Right? So the key is really functionality, right? So things like sunlight coming in, giving you helping you that circadian rhythm, you know, ventilation, especially in tropical areas, even ventilation for your utility yard, which is at the back, you know, sometimes that doesn't get enough sunlight, your clothes take longer to dry, especially in humid areas. And all this functionality over in a sense esthetical big areas. I mean, it's interesting Adrian that you brought up. Bigger is not necessarily better. Because I mean, if you've been to Singapore, I'm not sure if you've been in Singapore by any chance.

Adrian  9:28  
Yeah, yeah, of course.

Reuben  9:30  
I mean, you would know that all our buildings here. I mean, they because they're high in the sky, they are skyscrapers and you kind of get this notorious issue of shoe box units. Right. So the older units used to be a lot more spacious, but the newer condo units, the newer BTO HDB flats, they are so much smaller. And I've never really felt comfortable. I've always felt very, like it was very compact, very squeezed. And so in these cases, if let's say I want to feel like a little bit compact, and I would still have to work from home, what are some ways we could tweak these units to suit our living needs?

Adrian  10:14  
I think this is what's interesting about working from home, right, that kind of emerge, especially because of the the current situation. I guess there's like certain kind of psychology called attachment of people, to workspace, and less space, right. So back into, back before the working from home kind of situation, we go, we go to work, and we go home, we feel like we're at home, we were at full relax mode, right. But right now we spend so much time Well, technically, we spend so much time or more time at workspace. And in the daily basis, which right now becomes our living space to since we were working from home. And then people get like, certain kind of stuffy, or like fatigue on being in a space, right. So one of one of the trick that really doesn't need you to kind of change anything on the layout or anything really is actually to utilize your your closet as your workspace. Because one thing that I find interesting with that is actually it really contains your kind of work environment or space within the closet. So once you're done with, with work, you you close out that closet and you're back at home, you don't even see that kind of desk or like work environment anymore. And then you feel like kind of being more at home. So this kind of kind of physical separation, a I find it's really important and also really, really, really necessary and really helpful, especially during this work from home kind of time

Reuben  12:03  
Feels a little bit like Narnia to be honest with you guys go in working like okay I'm done for the day and you come back out. But I mean, so does it mean. So when we talk about closet, so I mean, obviously we're in different countries, so maybe closets in the USA are perhaps a little bigger, did you mean converting the place where you store your clothes into like a study area?

Adrian  12:27  
Yeah. Especially here in the US there, it's very common to have integrated kind of closet, wardrobe space within the wall. So it's like there's this sliding doors. So you just slide open the closet, and then you can definitely fit in quite decent space of like a work desk. And then obviously, you need to rearrange your wardrobe, maybe move it to the to the other side. Not sure if you if you have too much stuff already. But I guess you need to reorganize a little bit. So basically, what you need is to just have like one half of it to become like your work desk, put in like just like shelf from IKEA, you know, and then pop it in. And you definitely have your either your screen or your laptop work there. And then yeah, it's very simple. It's very simple. And also it's it's, it's it's a it's very compact, also it does, so it doesn't really require like the whole dedicated room to accommodate,

Reuben  13:45  
Just to kind of understand, so the chairs actually on the outside, right. So the desk is kind of inside, it's where you put your laptop on. And perhaps you have a light inside, but the chairs outside the closet. So essentially, you'd have to shift the chair around, which shouldn't be an issue because you could be a rolling chair. And then once you're done with everything, you just maybe fold up the table, if it's affordable table close to the closet, and you're done.

Adrian  14:10  
Yeah, or if you have like a slightly deeper closet, your desk, don't need to go all the way to the to the edge of the closet. And you can and you have if your chair is like thin enough, maybe not enough this chair. So you can just slide it in, and then and then you close, close the closet and it would fit in.

Reuben  14:33  
Very nice. I mean, there's definitely an interesting concept because I think especially in Singapore, we've we've seen a lot of the new launch condominiums and to be honest, wardrobe space is one of the issues that a lot of people face because there's always limited like, you know, space to put your clothes in and all that stuff. So maybe this would work for some of the older units but for some of the newer units, I think you definitely have to play around. If storing clothes is already an issue, then maybe this might not be the best idea. But I mean, just on that note, Adrian, I mean, if, for example, I wanted to elevate the fulfillment of living at home, so I mean, we've spoken about the psychology of working in different spaces, you don't want to be working in a place that you're relaxing, because then when you're relaxing, it feels like you know, you can really relax anymore because there's still a little bit of psychology still stuck in work. But assuming that you're able to segregate this and put work somewhere else and contentment somewhere else, for the contentment aspect, how can you elevate the fulfillment of a home's interior, what are some things you can put in?

Adrian  15:40  
I think one thing, especially in the context of like a more compact, Singapore condominium unit, right, I think are gonna release storage space, or kind of organizational system is really important, especially for me, because I just feels like a way to have like, a lot of clutter, it just feels like my life is kind of falling apart, you know. So, if I want to get this things back, get my life back together, as I really need to kind of clean up all the clutters and everything, make sure everything is going to like, well in place. Or even if you you know, I think a lot of storage space is really, really important just to hide all all the clutter from your vision and build a vision. So that really kind of cycles psychologically. It, it feels like you have like a sense of relief just by seeing less things, okay.

Reuben  16:38  
Apart from that other other things, maybe like plants, maybe to pop in some greenery, or maybe curved lighting, you know, anything like that, that you feel an interior of a home should have.

Adrian  16:51  
So it's interesting, right? So we want to make it, especially for a smaller space, we want to make it as clean as possible. And then and then after that, let's bring in kind of some major so I do definitely agree. Like plants it is really important. So, so before you feel stuffy with all this clutter, right? And then once you've laid it out, you feel okay, now it's very clean. It's it's very uncluttered

Reuben  17:21  
Have to unclutter it again

Adrian  17:22  
And after that you feel a bit sterile, right? I guess that's important. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah, I do agree that plant is really important. Because it just, it just makes you feel more connected to nature a little bit. Right. So there's a sense of kind of refreshing, it's a sense of kind of relax, so that it adds up to that actually. I mean, obviously, there's a balance, also, that I like some people would really go for with, with a lot of plans, like jungle. So that might be a bit tough for me, especially in a smaller space in the context of Singapore, and then certainly if we have like a lot of plants, I think some plants would need like certain humidity also. So that would affect much to the living condition. Because you need to kind of accommodate the living condition of the plants also, because suddenly the plant is the majority of the living being in the space. Yeah. So So yeah, you might want to keep a good balance also between like plans and and

Reuben  18:47  
Got it. Okay. And I mean, so I guess perhaps the last question on this before, let's see new homeowners coming in. Right. So they forget difficult, they're flat, it's a blank slate and white walls, white floor. Obviously, the entire construction process, the construction process, that's going to take some time, but what are some key things to look out for before you start your renovation for a new unit?

Adrian  19:14  
I think one of the key is really to understand what kind of lifestyle that you that you want, right? So I mean, certain people would go towards like, they have like a lot of collection of Gundam Star Wars, Legos, you know, other stuff.

Yeah. And also like, people that lives minimally. They don't have that much stuff that would be going on easier and right. So I guess once you understand, like, the kind of stuff, the kind of living style that they have, then you started to Okay, before Before I do anything before I even buy, like, furniture and stuff. So you, for example, if one is really like, on a sneaker, collect sneakers or like, they really need or like a bigger wardrobe, and so on, so then you might want to focus on. Okay, how do we how do we organize those stuff first? And then? And then once we figure out that kind of requirements, then we'll go towards like, Okay, then what would be the kind of leftover space that we have, right? Let's say like, oh, apparently, we don't have that much space. On this kind of bulky couch, for example. Maybe we can have like a futon for like, an extra bed for guests or something. Rather than like a, like a big a fixed couch instead, right? So So sometimes people would go with get too excited or like decorating with with the furniture pieces instead? And then they kind of forget to like, Okay, well, I have like a bunch of kind of Legos right now. Okay, Where should I put it? Right? So beforehand, because, because if you are aware of that, and then you can kind of maybe have like this one feature wall that would feature all the collections. So that would be actually that would be integrated, perhaps with like, like a TV cabinet? Or maybe it goes all the way to like, pantry kitchen or whatnot, right? So if you understand so you can kind of plan ahead and then kind of integrated with the, with the furniture design and so on and then suddenly understand, okay, what would be the kind of leftover space that you can play out?

Reuben  21:53  
Right. Okay. So I mean, if I, if I'm seeing a pattern here, it's more of understanding your lifestyle, firstly, and then getting the functional aspect of it down first. And then layering it with aesthetics? So it's kind of understanding lifestyle, function, and aesthetics, not aesthetics first, followed by functional use, because then yeah, they all get into chaos and Okay,

Adrian  22:19  
yeah. So generally, the shopping lists would be the last

Reuben  22:23  
Shopping list would be the last.

Adrian  22:25  
Exactly. Shopping list or furniture would be the last.

Reuben  22:28  
Very nice. And I mean, furniture can sometimes help with storage as well, right? Like you see all this sofas with like storage underneath, or like a double, like a bit slash sofa? That kind of stuff.

Adrian  22:39  
Yeah. Yeah, for example, if we're going towards that route, right, then instead of buying, like a ready made, sofa, then you are like, Oh, yeah, you understand, you identify that you would need like an extra storage, maybe below the sofa, then you we might want to have that line item becomes like a custom millwork piece instead.

Reuben  23:03  
Right? Okay. Okay. And I mean, just on that note, as well. What do you think are some good storage, saving options in terms of furniture, like, maybe dual use furniture, that kind of stuff?

Adrian  23:17  
Yeah, I think dual use furniture, I'm very big proponent of like a dual use furniture. There's this dual height, coffee table, for example, that can be converted to, to a dining table height or like a bar height. So that is very useful. So one piece that I have, right now. So this kind of I guess, tool that is actually a stool is accurate, designed to be a stool, but then if we have a pair of it, you can have it together and then make it as a coffee table. And then when extra guests gonna comes in, and then he just convert that into for people to see. Right. So dual use is really I think dual use being smart with the, with the space they have. And then he started to be more strategic on like, oh, what are the furniture piece that I should get? Because of your your space is very precious. Right?

Reuben  24:29  
Exactly. Yeah. I mean, these are really great tips for our listeners, because obviously most of us live in much smaller units, compact apartments sometimes. But yeah, I mean, thank you agent for this. I guess if we were to perhaps move on to your projects. And this is kind of like, the fun bit the part that you're all passionate about. And so you've worked on so many projects. I mean, you you worked with Mark Zuckerberg, I mean you design that escape for him at Facebook headquarters. I guess we shouldn't talk too much about. And we've I mean, you've helped with the World Trade Center as well, alongside the Pentagon, you've done all these incredible things. But just the other day, when we were talking for the first time, you said that this current project was the most fulfilling, it was essentially bringing affordable architecture. Back home to Indonesia.

Adrian  25:24  
Yeah, I guess a little bit of background. So I'm actually registered architect in New York, but I'm currently and based in San Francisco. But currently spearheading this kind of initiatives, we call ourselves Trope. So what we're doing is actually design and built off like, custom homes in Indonesia, predominantly. And then what we're kind of looking into the market, especially in Indonesia, is for low to mid range. Market, especially for young professionals, they're looking into like getting or building their kind of first homes. So they don't quite have an extra extra budget to hire architects. Sure. So so we're, we're technically not an architecture firm. So we design and we design and build, so we, so we're, like, just one point of contact for them. So hey, we'll we'll build you will build you homes, and we'll design it, the design would be embedded to it, also.

So why why do we do that? The reason is, because before people that don't have budget to hire an architect, they would go to builders right away. And, and the builders would build in the in the interest of build, just deliver as cheap as possible, to maximize their profit as much as possible. And then through that, because especially in Indonesia, we don't have a certain regulation that regulate window to wall ratio, exposure to light, exposure, cross ventilation, and so on. So what you would get is actually somewhat less desirable, less ideal space to live that might, in the long run, would be like, if if you don't have enough ventilation, and so on, the space in itself would be kind of damp, mold would, would grow, and then they would start to affect your, the health of the user that lives there. So in a sense, the mission of Trope is actually to liberate architecture to the masses, right? So I feel like people that don't have the luxury to hire an architect should at least be able to, to have this kind of ideal space to live or like to to grow their young family

Reuben  28:15  
Right. And, you know, I really feels like education is key here. Right? I mean, you talked about how a lot of these, your target audience are young couples who come in with perhaps a lower budget and maybe a child on the way. And as a result, they have all these homes with perhaps poor ventilation. And this could be mitigated if the perhaps education prior, but that's not a priority, I guess, for these target audiences. At that point, the point is all about surviving, getting a job, you know, getting money in. And so to me, it really feels like the key is education. And I mean, huge props to you. I mean, if if you you're going to be working with this, I'm sure that the word will get out a lot more people. I think that the more impactful thing will be people hearing about your work and understanding that hey, you know, it's not just about building a house, but it's building a house properly getting it to fit you in your lifestyle years down the road to mitigate health issues and all that stuff. So massive respect there. But out of curiosity, how did this idea come out? What was your inspiration behind it?

Adrian  29:25  
Yeah, I think one of the inspiration is somewhat when I was working in this in the Netherlands, so I was working for somewhat a very prestigious firm. So and I will do kind of give a background they have like an exclusive partnership with Prada, and then there and they're doing like a lot of they were doing Facebook campus, so it was like a lot of fun, a prestigious project. So but at the same time I was working. I was told to work for this project. in Congo, I was like, Oh, wait, oh, what is it? Yeah

Reuben  30:03  
That's a huge change.

Adrian  30:05  
Yeah, I was like, Oh, wait, I was just working for Facebook,

Reuben  30:10  
Why are you sending me to Congo? Did I mess up that badly?

Adrian  30:14  
So Well yeah, what's interesting is actually, because I'm from Indonesia, they that they don't the Dutch, they don't really they're used to working for like, high tech, big budgets and so on. So I was told to, to work on Oh, this is would be like, you're good with projects with restricted resources. So go ahead and work on it. So this project is really about to somewhat generate sustainable income for this. Collective, young artists in in Congo, so they do they, so they do like this African sculptures, but what's happened is actually they kind of don't want to continue doing the art anymore, because it's really hard to get reliable kind of financial benefit from it.

So what they do is they started to work at plantation instead. So what's happening is we're on the verge of the extinction of this kind of type of art. So, so, what we do is okay, okay, how do we how do we bring how do we give them kind of like the incentive to keep continue doing the art right? So, what we do is actually to instead of people going to museum viewing the art and so on, so let's inverse, let get people fly to their place, and then to learn about the kind of context of how they live and so on, and then learn about how then the kind of reasoning on how they how and what the what are the meanings of behind the art in itself, right.

So we do like, we bring in people, so we have like an art conference every every now and then. So because we bring in people from from outside from abroad, so people needs to live somewhere. So we renovated the the villagers house, so they can Airbnb it to the guest. So that is that would be kind of one revenue stream for them for to get like a direct monetary benefit. While they're, while they're living there, when the guests are living there, they need food they can sell, so villagers can sell food to the to the guests, there's another revenue stream, and then they can also provide work straw workshop, classes about like, sculpting and so on. So that would be another one. And then at the same time, we need to also provide the guests certain sanitary standards for bathrooms.

But because of that also, in the event of no no art workshop and so on, said the villagers can actually use the bathroom also right. So so it actually alleviates their kind of sanitary standards. And, and in itself, their living condition is is better because we renovated their house. They we we give them bathroom that's kind of up to international standards. We they have also like sustainable stream of income through through the guests and so on. We also built them a museum not for the guests but also for the artists museum where we bring in art art pieces from from abroad, because they don't have the kind of luxury to kind of travel around see visit like museums in London and New York and whatnot.

So we give them the we have this museum to actually for them to as an opportunity to broaden their knowledge about art. So So what's interesting for me as this kind of small and somewhat humbling, humble project is really, really impactful. Not to me as not to that to me, only as an architect, and also to, obviously to the people, right? To the people that will alleviate the condition and so on.

So I was, so it kind of get, I kind of get reminded as an architect, so it's really not about sighs it's even a project as small as this one, even the project with super low budget as this one really can be a really impactful to, to the people. So that's how I I realized that an au asked, I think I can do this to Indonesia because I found this problem that's going to happening game happening in Indonesia.

Reuben  35:47  
Wow, it's beautiful. I mean, just just if I got you right now, I'm going to try and sum up what you said with the the African Congo project. So essentially, the workers they were working, they were they were sculpting, right. So it was a way of life, but because of revenue streams, they have to go to plantation. So it was a danger of eroding this, this cultural beauty that they had. So what you guys did was you you flew in, you got tourism in, which essentially increased revenue streams, and allowed them to preserve this cultural heritage. And at the same time, you were able to use it to to increase the livelihood of the people there to educate them on things like art, like sanitary, essentially just changed the entire ecosystem.

Adrian  36:37  
Correct. So yeah, at the end of the day, it's really about the people, right? It's really about the impact to the people.

Reuben  36:43  
Incredible. And and I guess now you're hoping to bring that back to Indonesia? Correct?

Adrian  36:49  
Yeah. So we're working on that. And then hopefully, it's getting, it's getting more and more projects. So we can we can reach more and more people also,

Reuben  36:58  
Right. I mean, I don't mean to be a wet blanket. But obviously, I mean, this is you mentioned earlier, you had I mean, this is a low, low to medium budget project, you know, you have to source for a lot of innovation because of the limitations. So I assume that there are a couple of challenges with these projects. Maybe if you could share with us a little bit more about these main issues that you face.

Adrian  37:23  
Yeah, it's actually, it's actually pretty, pretty interesting. So as in the architecture point of view, he really needed to go kind of go above and beyond on certain things, for example. So there's this one project, where we have this existing building. So in order to save money, we need to actually salvage the roof tile. And we'll also work with and also salvage the, the wooden window frame and doorframe. So we need to work within the dimension of the wooden frame of the window frame. And to design the new a new building, that's kind of totally different than then before. So really need to adjust our design our base off of that. So it's kind of pretty interesting. Also for so we they don't have enough kind of budget for landscape. So what we do is like, okay, we need to build around the existing trees. So then they still have,

Reuben  38:29  
Sorry we're talking about landed houses here, right, like landed,

Adrian  38:32  
This is, we're talking about landed asker. Okay, okay. Correct. Yeah. So we need we were, so we need to kind of work around the debt also. So it's, it's, in a way, it's a way of sustainability. Also, we salvage a lot of stuff. But at the same time, we, we cost a lot, we save a lot of costs because of that. So yeah, it's a pretty, it's a pretty interesting, free pretty hard at the very beginning of the design phase. But I think it's it's under construction right now, it's very rewarding, because we we somewhat make it work,

Reuben  39:08  
Right. It's all these very macro aspects that you probably wouldn't see in most commercial, like budgets, you know, where you just talk about bringing materials designing it to, to your identity. This is more of like this little things like the tiles and I mean, it's kind of cute but man, it's, again, hats off to you guys for doing this. Was there any sany issue, perhaps with you not actually being there, because now obviously, you're in San Francisco now. And you're handling office projects over in Indonesia, this the lack of you being around actually surface an issue.

Adrian  39:45  
Actually, I thought initially it would be an issue, but apparently, so our construction team is actually in Jakarta, in Indonesia right now. So they would be the one that kind of See on the day to day basis on the construction side and so on. In terms of in terms of side, looking at the side and context, I initially visited the site to Indonesia. Okay, so I was British. So all these several projects that are actually being done, especially because of COVID being done remotely, is surprisingly, working pretty well, because I think one of the key is because we have somebody on site, actually, to oversee, but the design portion of it doesn't necessarily need to be to be there. So all the design portion is being done in and the US from Diem in San Francisco and New York. And we just, we just collaborate THROUGH THROUGH THROUGH zoom conference call, and so on. If there's any problem lands on it. Yeah, we get that collaborate through that. And I think we, because we're all in on BIM. So I'm not in AutoCAD anymore. So we just shared 3d models, and then we just go kind of go back and forth. So that really helps, actually.

Reuben  41:21  
Okay, so having technology, that's the biggest bonus, and obviously having reliable people you can trust with the construction work on ground because it's something you can necessarily feel and touch. Right. So I think having that level of trust is incredibly important as well.

Adrian  41:39 
Correct Yeah, I think at the end of the day, it's a team effort.

Reuben  41:45
Very nice. Yeah. I mean, just to kind of zoom out of the entire thing. Do you have any long term goals for this project? Do you perhaps see it expanding to other countries? Other cities, you know, that sort of thing?

Adrian  41:58
Yeah, I think long term goals. So we've been talking about, like Custom Homes, right. So long term goals, I think what we're really doing is to elaborate architecture further. So what we're currently doing, it's actually to develop this kind of modular homes, modular homes, and also, it's actually on wheels. So it's mobile, too. So one of the problem with Indonesia, that's how people don't really talk about is actually earthquake. And then the problem with single family homes, they don't really take into account that scenario pretty seriously. So, so the modular homes on wheels would take account into that, because it's unreal. So it's not connected to any foundation whatsoever. At the same time, also it will it we really want to liberate it further to rural areas. So rural areas in Indonesia, they are Indonesia is an archipelago.

Adrian  43:06
So some rural areas in like, kind of smaller, more isolated islands, they sometimes have a hard time to get, like building building materials. And also labor would be kind of the problem. So what we're trying to do is actually to have the, to get them access to well built space. So through having this being mobile, so we would actually manufacture it off site, and then we'll just deliver it by boats. And then on top of on top of that, this modular homes is actually a kind of growing homes. So let's say your, your young family or a couple. So you just buy this one module for for you and your couple. And then as you grow, maybe you're planning to have like one kids and so on, you can get another module as an attachment. So that would be so that would be like an additional bedroom, for example. So as a young family that's kind of growing you don't, let's say you plan to have three kids, four kids, you don't have to afford the, the that the space that would be required for those in at the very beginning, as you're like growing a young family, you might have difficulties in order to provide the financial burden, of course, also so so as you grow, the house kind of grows also. So that's, that's also one of the one of the long term goals for for for this very nice liberating architecture to the masses.

Reuben  44:57  
Oh, yeah, that's that's a good one liberating architecture to the masses There we go. That's, that's the title of this podcast. I actually, I think just to be a little bit more about modular housing, maybe we didn't get this clarified at the beginning, I think no, many people in Singapore might know what modular housing is. So essentially, it's pre built homes, which then brought to the site and then this kind of opened up set up with minimal construction whatsoever.

Adrian  45:27
Yeah, very minimal construction. So in fact, is actually it's very so what we see also not only homes but also for kind of a resort, or like hospitality industry. So it's a it can be actually deployed really easily in you know, beautiful spots, you know, with the sunset and everything, you just, if you can just kind of rotate it and very easily and then really, really directed to the view, right. And then at the same time, there's no there's no construction for there's no foundation so you're not destroying the site in itself. So it's actually a good way to, to expose the areas without destroying. So what we're trying we're trying to promote is actually We see an opportunity and sustainable tourism. Awesome.

Reuben  46:26
Very nice. Well, I mean, obviously, there's so many pros and cons into that, but we won't go to that today. Agent, thank you so much for joining us, I guess before we kind of let you go, your project is something that's incredible. And so, for our listeners who maybe want to check out a little bit more of that project, or even to find out more about yourself, where can they go to?

Adrian  46:48  
Yeah, they can go to Instagram can go to myself @adrian_emanuel, with one m, one m, or with an M, or to Instagram also

Reuben  47:07  
Okay, and so how do you spell trope?

Adrian  47:10  

Reuben  47:12  
Ah Trope. Got it. Well, that's perfect. Thank you so much, again Adrian for joining us today. And hopefully I get to see as others soon in New York, or San Francisco

Adrian  47:21  
Or San Francisco, of course. Thank you.

Reuben  47:25  
Once again, that was Adrian Emanuel, New York registered architect currently living in California. And of course, he's had so much experience under his belt. We wish him all the very best as he brings affordable architecture and a design and built scenario back to his hometown in Indonesia. Well, if you guys enjoy what you've just listened to feel free to hop on to for more of us. And if you have any comments, queries, or suggestions, drop us an email at Thanks so much for joining us. I'll see you guys in the next podcast.

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