Architects have a unique and interesting way of looking at the world. When they look at a building, they don't see shops and cafes, instead they see an art piece that's formed by concrete and beams.
This might not be true of all architects, but it certainly applies to Syukri Shairi, a Malaysian architect. With a habit of sketching on his trusty 6-year-old notebook, he has been sharing beautiful and complex sketches of different cities around the world through his Insta account @syukrishairi.
Syukri has sketched famous cities from around the world, including the beautiful floating city of Venice...
... and Brighton, the English city with its clock tower landmark
If only our travel itineraries looked this good!
His passion for sketching has given him the opportunity to collaborate with Chaiwalla & Co, a container cafe chain
We managed to get in touch with Syukri over the weekend. Here's what we learnt about the Instagramming architect:
SAYS: Why do cities inspire you so much?
Syukri: I'm always moved by a city's diversity: it's ability to sustain so many lives, so many stories, so many realities. It's overwhelming and humbling at the same time. I suppose my drawing the cities and cityscapes is my attempt to create conversations with these stories, these realities.
What has been your favourite city to draw thus far?
I like to draw the former Straits Settlements, especially Penang and Singapore, for the history they embody perhaps, but also for the strong-will and optimism they carry.
How long does it take for you to sketch a full piece?
It depends on the size and scale definitely, but a two-page of my sketchbook should not exceed an hour.
Where do you sketch on?
I mostly draw in my pocket-sized sketchbook I'd bring around, everywhere—it's a habit I have been keeping for nearly six years now. Mobile, portable, immediate, intimate, straightforward.
If you could draw any city in the world, where would it be? And why?
Kabul, I suppose because I'm attracted to cities that have survived conflicts, war, animosities and are experiencing renewal afterewards—it's the inhabitants and therefore the city saying: you can bomb us, burn our homes down, but we shall exist and persist. At a smaller scale, it gives in you hope to survive the challenges in life.
Could you share with us 3 of your favourite sketches so far?
A sketch of Masjid Hajjah Fatimah, Singapore – simply because of I liked the atmosphere while producing the drawing, plus small yet valuable interactions I managed to make with passing locals from many of walks of life.
Sketches done in a group, drawn on site at the Golden Temple in Amristar, India during a trip my friends and I made last year.
Not particularly a sketch, but a drawing of Penang, with the spilled yellow ink. I wasn't happy about it at first, but a friend convinced me that it was OK. It taught me about celebrating mistakes and looking at them at a different way, and that a part of moving on is about accepting failures.
For more sketches, follow Syukri here