Architecture co-op student gets published in Helsinki

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

By Nikola Skobo

Justin Ng with copies of his book.Between experiencing a co-op work term abroad and authoring his first book, winter 2016 turned out to be a pretty good term for architecture student Justin Ng.

Ng traveled to Helsinki, Finland when he secured a job with ALA Architects, a global firm that specializes in concert halls, theatres and elaborate public spaces.

At ALA, Ng spent his time producing drawings for design development and renderings for clients. “Most of my time was spent on the design for the Helsinki Central Library, due to be completed in the summer of 2018,” Ng explained.

But Ng didn’t stop working after he left the office each day. A designer by nature, Ng maintained a personal urban sketchbook while in Helsinki. He wandered the streets of the city and sketched when he wasn’t at the firm. At the end of his work term, he had produced a 180-page book that illustrated his journey through Helsinki and nearby locations.

“Finland inspired me to examine my surroundings more carefully and eventually led to my decision to publish a book,” says Ng. It didn’t take long to generate interest in his designs.

In February 2017, Ng’s book was released by a Finnish publisher. Through his sketches and maps, Ng tells about these sights and discusses his experiences of living in Finland. An Urban Sketcher’s Guide: Helsinki, Stockholm, Tallinn, Turku & Porvoo 2017 can be previewed and purchased online.

Now that he is back in the classroom, Ng says that his experience at ALA has provided a strong foundation for his future projects. “Working at an office taught me some of the very practical sides to architecture, from structure to building codes,” he says. “This knowledge can then be reapplied to school work, adding another layer of depth to my projects.”

What does the future look like for Ng? “I aim to get my masters of architecture and get licensed so that I can open my own firm,” says Ng. To find out more about Ng’s work, projects, and sketches, visit his personal website.