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Q & A - C J Lim Studio 8

When and where were you born?

1964, in a small village in Ipoh, Malaysia.

What is your favourite building and why?

Definitely the Maison de Verre in Paris. It is spatially poetic, beautifully crafted and inventive.

What is your favourite restaurant/meal?

I don't eat out that much, but I can consume a whole box of Battenbergs in one sitting.

What vehicle(s) do you own?

I don't drive.

What is your favourite film?

I'm very fond of 1940s and '50s movies from Hollywood. The Hours would be my favourite recent film.

What is your favourite book?

Bette and Joan: The Divine Feud by Shaun Considine. It's a hilarious read about egos and survival in a viperous creative industry. No, it's not about architects.

What is your favourite 'design classic'?

The 'Hollywood' sign in LA.

Who or what is your biggest architectural influence and why?

Movies, of course! They allow me to fantasise and imagine. Stories about people and their lives fascinate me. Architecture should also be about people.

If you hadn't been an architect, what would you have been?

Probably a fifth-rate screenplay writer. I enjoy storytelling. In recent years, most of our projects for Studio 8 have been heavily influenced by narrative: 'Sin' was inspired by the film Se7en, and 'How green is your garden' by the adventures of Alice in Wonderland.

What would your advice be to architectural students?

Don't do it! It's a lot of sweat for little return. Do brain surgery or rocket science. Those were my exact words to my brother when he thought of doing architecture.

He's now a very successful surgeon and makes buckets of money.

What would your motto be?

Give it your best shot.

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