Year built:   2014
Architect:    U Soe Lin

Although his major works are further south (City Hall and Myoma National High School), Myanmar’s star architect U Tin and his descendants have had a profound influence on this part of the city, which recurs frequently over the remaining pages of this chapter. U Soe Lin is one of U Tin’s grandsons. His modern residence stands adjacent to the old master’s own house (which unfortunately is off-limits these days). Like many in his family, U Soe Lin followed in his grandfather’s footsteps. He read architecture in the USA in the 1970s, at the University of Oklahoma and at the Catholic University in Washington DC; his practice today is also located in the US capital. U Soe Lin has mainly worked in the United States but makes frequent trips back home, and has built here too. Notable structures include the Pun Hlaing International Hospital, which was finished in 2005. With the boom in Yangon today, he is seeing a rise in assignments in his native Myanmar. Another noteworthy project is the Royal Textile Academy Museum in Bhutan.

Driveway of the residence (photo © Arkar Win)
The interior features a generous two-storeyed living space (photo © Arkar Win)

U Soe Lin’s Yangon residence is currently rented out to the Danish ambassador. This building perpendicular to Inya Road is one of dualities. It reflects the architect’s roots in Burma as well as his Western training. Being residential, the front of the building is kept private with a gate and stone wall shielding the living quarters. Behind that wall, the house opens up to a landscaped garden with an open terrace. The functional spaces and bedrooms are located in the modern masonry structure, made of reinforced concrete. The side wall features narrow windows. A pavilion area, visible from the outside and covered in glass, contains the living room. Exposed steel supports it, covered by a wooden roof with subtle nods to vernacular temple architecture. It towers above the building section like an umbrella.