Jonathan Ong


At 16, my school counsellor asked me about my future aspiration, to which I answered that I wanted to leave something behind for the world. Perhaps it was fate that his simple question and my idealistic reply would lead me away from my original goal to enrol in a Junior College and unto my journey at Singapore Polytechnic (SP) to pursue Architecture. A journey, despite all the ups and downs, was a truly fruitful and stimulating one.

If passion was a flame, the School of ABE was its devoted nurturer. I graduated at the bottom of my class in O's as a introverted teen. However, at SP, I met the best of tutors whose dedication has helped me better articulate and trust my ideas, and to explore Architecture in an unconventional way. Their firm belief to expose me to various in-school projects like the campus rejuvenation and Gradation Show '11 (to name a few) was fundamental in cultivating my mere interest into a refined appreciation for not only Architecture itself but also Art and Design.

On top of that, I see in SP the aspect that draws me to metropolitan cities - the environment for two worlds to collide. Being trapped in my world of (for a lack of a better word) homogeny prior to SP, I have not before made as many diverse friends from different disciplines and backgrounds. I believe that it is this exchange of ideas, not solely from lecturers, but also from my good friends that has enhanced my learning curve and helped me mature as a person and designer.

ABE's well-thought out curriculum of projects, guest talks and multi-disciplinary programmes is not what I would have expected of a typical Polytechnic education. It combines the encompassing training of a polytechnic education with the freedom of expression of a Architecture Design school, which was quintessential to my development as a well-rounded, balanced designer heading for Varsity and the industry. To conclude, studying Architecture in SP was not a walk in the park and at times the pressure seems too much, but all was worth it in the end and the experience invaluable. Not to sound overzealous but as a saying goes, pressure is what makes rock into diamonds.

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