Rising from the ashes

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Long before most Malaysians thought green was trendy, when recycling was something you needed a bicycle for, there was Jimmy Lim. Architectural maverick, outspoken critic of rampant development, green prophet… and, of course, owner of the most flamboyant hairstyle ever to grace the Malaysian Institute of Architects. Lim talks to Penang Economic Monthly about 15-year cycles and why he’s setting his bar even higher.

IT WAS the fire that did it.

His entire office was burned to the ground, leaving nothing behind. “I lost everything,” Jimmy Lim said, his usual gruff , outspoken persona suddenly subdued as he recounted that fateful day. Losing one’s office – and the professional and emotional investment that had gone into it - would be enough to give any person pause, to say the least. But it was the date of the incident that shook the architect to the core: April 4, 2004 – four, four, four. (Lim was born in 1944.) Poignantly, 2004 would also mark the end of what he called his fourth “15-year life cycle”.


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