lee yang yang

an architect


submission entry for electronic waste design challenge




Silicon Valley has successfully manipulated us to buy undurable and fragile hardware so we have to buy new iterations of electronic devices every year. Led primarily by Apple, we have been told that we should not tinker or repair our electronic devices, and hardware is specifically designed to be difficult to repair. Silicon Valley has always been struggling to find material aesthetics of their identity. Examples are;

Skeuomorphism; digital aesthetics that mimic real-life counterparts such as faux leather notebook and faux timber background. Minimalism; the race for thinness and a cop-out in regards to functionality of number of ports and battery sizes.


However, there is beauty in the richness and complexity of electronic artifacts. Why call them electronic waste when they are electronic artifacts; they are objects of our technological past. Wall-e, circuit boards, antique electronics, Blade Runner, control panels, appliances junkyard. Such electronic artifacts are aesthetic manifestations of the digital revolution and should be embraced as such.


The proposal is to build the Monument of Silicon Valley, an installation that manifests upon the aesthetics of different electronic artifacts. To impress the public beyond planned obsolescence and walled gardens spouted by electronic companies and embrace right of repair, open source hardware and precipitate the tinkering mind.

Vines of Cables: Like weeping trees and vines, obsolete cables hang from the ceiling as one journeys through the passageway. We question the numerous types of the cables and plead the manufacturers to work together to standardise their interfaces.

Main Frame: Legacy of material aesthetic of the digital age, with its ventilation holes and modularity. Why can’t this be the utilised as cladding for electronic companies rather than the faux wood wall panels. The universality and beauty of the Philips head screw, synonymous to the tinkering approach, to repair rather than replace, and to adjust whenever necessary. Adjustable and modular steel frames allowing flexibility of space configuration. These industrial and archival aesthetics should be embraced.

Array of Batteries: Contained by a mesh, the variety of batteries and their predisposition create patterns of shadow and light.

Fruit Tree of Mobile Phones: Like an apple tree, these obsolete mobile phones dangle from the top by their charging cables, spinning by themselves wondering why a computer company name themselves after a fruit.

Catacomb of Appliances: A cemetery of appliances where we can pay our final respects to our humble electric servants. Go inside the tower memorial and look up,where their electric souls rose to the heavens above.

TV Room: Huxleyan aside, don’t we get fascinated by walls of televisions that are turned on at the same time? Wouldn’t it be more fascinating if this is a room fully surrounded by televisions?

Electronic artifacts not electronic waste. This is an appreciation of the material aesthetics of the digital age. Why pursue skeuomorphism of faux timber and leather, of glossy white and glass when there is such a rich aesthetics legacy to continue to build upon. Make repurposing electronics as exciting as reviving a vintage car, a trip to the yard as interesting as going to the antique shop. Disband the planned obsolescence and the walled garden, and allow and encourage tinkering and repair. Embrace the beauty of electronic artifacts so the headquarters of digital revolutionaries of Silicon Valley are clad with these past memory fragments and to be proud of their heritage. And in turn be aware of what they leave behind.


shortlisted entry for a landscape ideas competition

in collaboration with Chua Hong Zhi

Our proposal stems from questioning what is a park for; and how does it sit in the context of Melbourne. The public park, with its English origins of recreating the idealised and internalised natural environment alongside the development of a city. We have come to understand that the development of our cities meant the destruction of our natural environment, intensified particularly by the growing population of the city. But is there another way? Both Frank Lloyd Wright and Buckminster Fuller calls for removal of this distinction between the built and the natural environment.

The exercise of mapping the existing green spaces in the city; including the colonial parks, green reserve areas and leisure open spaces. we saw an opportunity to connect these open spaces. Rather than a single park we proposed to connect all the parks with the intention of reintroducing natural ecosystem and wildlife back into the city. The waterways, flowing from the extinct volcanic ranges is one such opportunity and we propose various linkages such as wildlife bridges, green lanes and sky canopy to ensure safe traverse of wildlife through the city.

We anticipate the laneways inherent in the Hoddle grid to be the dominant drop-off lanes in the advent of self-driving vehicles – freeing up roads and carparks to be possible open space to be claimed back as urban parklanes. Such continuous green corridor allows wildlife to traverse from natural ecosystem through the city whilst also providing landscaped parks and gardens for leisure and enjoyment. We look towards the future of the city of Melbourne, where the distinction between the natural and the built is blurred; hopefully one day we can live side by side with wildlife kangaroos in the city.