Original Artwork by Papa, Azhan and Nine (click image to link)
‘In the Name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. By Time, indeed humanity is in a state of loss. Except those who believe and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in the mutual teaching of truth and in the mutual teaching of patience’ (Surah al-`Asr, 103:1-3)
"Professional Architect lives almost by faith. When called upon he can do the job without fear or favour. He possesses aspecialized skill and lives by a code of ethics cloaked in honour andintegrity. He is expected to speak his mind and give his views. Whenfaced with absolute wrong, he can resolutely disagree and walk away." quote from THE PROFESSIONAL MAN by Ar Dr Tan Loke Mun PRESIDENT PAM

Wednesday, 30 January 2008


28 January 2008,
I was driving with my wife to a peaceful, small village in a valley surounded by hills somewhere back in Malaysia. It was chilly and a bit foggy that morning when we arrived. I was so amazed and ask my wife "what is this place?" she replied, " I think it's called Chukai, Terengganu". "Are you sure that's the name of this place?" I asked again. "I really want to stay in this place for the rest of our life". My wife just smiled as we held hand and looked over the valley of peace "welcome home sayang (love) !"
I woke up from the dream hoping that it will soon come true.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008


The firm that I working with has been doing a number of development in Bury since its establishment nearly 4 decades ago. From office building to retail development and even churches. Up until now it still plays a signification role in this small town. I am lucky to be on board and witness another development coming up just around the corner of the town where we live and buy our groceries. It would be interesting to see the place changes over the time for us to experience a new adventure but yet there are remaining pieces of the town that are kept untouched to remind us of the past memories.
The development site is located within an area which consists of a mixture of Retail and Industrial buildings,but immediately adjacent to an ASDA food store.

To the immediate NW facing Foundry Street the frontages are predominantly Retail buildings and associated car parking to the opposite side of the roadway. These buildings have been constructed in relatively recent times ,but in a completely random arrangement and are in mixed ownerships.They display the various phases of styling used in general Retail buildings varying from the adjacent relatively recent Matalan Store to the NE which at low level is faced with brickwork with metal cladding at upper level over, to the ASDA Food store immediately to the NW ,which has developed from an Industrial /manufacturing use ,and also across George Street where low level brick & flat metal cladding panels predominate.

To the North & East along Foundry Street and Lord Street are a mix of Industrial buildings of varying age ,style,materials and condition.This includes the Senior Hargreaves (vendor ) sister site at the junction of Lord Street/Cook Street which is currently being improved & extended as a result of the Proposed Development.All are located immediately at the back of footpath reinforcing the general Industrial nature of the area.

The site comprises multiple Industrial buildings previously extended but separated by Back Foundry Street which has previously been stopped-up to traffic.

Delivery vehicle access to the buildings from Foundry Street & Lord Street is directly at the site perimeter which restricts vehicle movement ,visibility & safety.

The above factors have been important in determining the layout for the proposed development and in ensuring that the building can relate to the surrounding premises ,with a clear definition of the public vehicle or pedestrian access or servicing requirements to each, can relate to the Existing ‘Angouleme Retail Park’ and form a new closure of that ‘square’.

The building has been set centrally within the site with the main facade and customer entrances facing the bulk of the adjacent’ Angouleme Retail Park’,including glazing elements which return on the South cross Street Elevation enhancing the Street scene and maintaining visual interest.The building has a low pitched metal clad roof, which is concealed by the wall parapet. The walls are fully clad at upper levels with flat/microrib metal faced panels generally in an silver colour but with a horizontal grey contrasting panel set above the height of entrance doors and ground floor glazing.A substantive number of two storey glazed panels are included to the main elevations where the contrasting panel is developed as a secondary location for product signage. Th store entrances are each set within a projecting frame, which contains main entrance doors and glazed screens with the tenant’s signage panel above. A projecting glazed canopy separate the two elements.

The surrounding properties have a mixture of traditional and modern styling and construction ,with many varying materials and forms.The Proposed Elevations have been designed to reflect current building practices and provide a modern well defined Retail presence with clearly separate Customer and Servicing aspects ,which will enhance the local built environment.

The proposed development will provide a building which in design terms will clearly show a modern approach relating to their respective Retail neighbours. Existing tired and ultimately redundant buildings fronting Foundry Street and Lord Street will be replaced with a building which is relevant to, and will enhance, the location in terms of usage and design, and will complete the Retail presence in the area.

Visit : RGP have an innovative approach to architectural design. We have no dogma, no standard answers and we are spirited and fun to work with

Monday, 28 January 2008


27 January 2008, 21:47
Lying together in bed with my beloved wife. We were both reading stories under one study lamp. We were both indulged in seeking for a deeper understanding of ourselves and our purpose. Then, I got up to write this mini-sagas to tell the begining of my whole new mind.

"If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive" Barry Lopez, author of Arctic Dreams

Wednesday, 23 January 2008


It's a CPD seminar again! This time around I was introduced to a product that specifies something that is rather scary to hear but interesting to understand. Welcome to a new specification criteria "cradle to grave". It sounds like the film Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003). It might excite and intrigue others to it when they heard a seminar title similar to a movie but unfortunately without the beautiful Angelina Jolie. However this "cradle to grave" is actually one of the techniques in LCA (Life Ciycle Assestment)

Cradle-to-grave is the full Life Cycle Assessment from manufacture ('cradle') to use phase and disposal phase ('grave'). For example, trees produce paper, which is recycled into low-energy production cellulose (fiberised paper) insulation, then used as an energy-saving device in the ceiling of a home for 40 years, saving 2,000 times the fossil-fuel energy used in its production. After 40 years the cellulose fibers are replaced and the old fibres are disposed of, possibly incinerated. All inputs and outputs are considered for all the phases of the life cycle.

At the end of the session, it refreshed my understanding of the concept of sustainability which I'd studied in the university. Similarly, the intrepid British archaeologist Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie) in her movie has made perhaps the most important archaeological discovery in history: an orb that leads to the mythical Pandora's Box and this seminar opens it own Pandora's Box to architectural discovery. It lifted my imagination on the future possibility of architectural design and hope to open the secrets formula to make the world a better place to live. Just make sure it doesn't fall into the hands of an evil architect !

Friday, 18 January 2008


The proposed buildings are of contemporary design and detailing, making use of a combination of traditional and modern materials and providing a positive addition to the street scene and offering a significant improvement on the present utilitarian structures on the site.

The north-east and south-east elevations of the building will be clad in a combination of red facing brick and slate-blue flat panels on the projecting bays above the shop fronts and on co-planar areas of the south-east elevation. The brick and panel colours echo those of much of the surrounding traditional housing. The north-east elevation also has a glazed canopy linking the shop fronts and supported on circular columns, painted black. The top of the north-east elevation is articulated by allowing brick panels to project above the eaves line and by bringing the roof forward over projecting bays.

The north-west and south-west elevations are clad in the same red facing brick at lower level, with cream composite flat cladding panels above.

The designers believe that the resulting development proposals for this prominent site are appropriate in terms of size and scale and will provide a positive example of locally distinctive architecture.
Visit : RGP have an innovative approach to architectural design. We have no dogma, no standard answers and we are spirited and fun to work with

Friday, 11 January 2008


I've been keeping myself busy by reading books. It seemed like a long holiday with the office closing since the Christmas Eve until the New Year and yet I felt like it ended too soon. The book that I am recently filling my mind with is by Kevin McCloud which is best known as Channel 4's Grand Design; Grand Designs Handbook. This book is meant for anyone who cares about design and for everyone who has been thinking about building their own home. Thus is not really an architectural detail book for architects but actually a guide for ordinary people on thinking, dreaming and building their own homes.

And what on earth that I need to read this sort of "kindergarten" "DIY" or "basic" reading? It may seem a bit awkward but I started to realise and forget how does it really feel like to be just ordinary people who don’t know anything about design. Can you still remember? I believe that to be a good designer you should have the ability to understand people's dream. The dreams that we used to have before our minds were brainwashed for 7-8 years in architectural theory. And you will be amazed by the quote from the very first sentence in his book " I think there's no better phrase to sum up what architecture should do than 'make you feel like a better human being'." Sometimes that we designers casually forget.

By studying other people, we designers would have a better understanding to advice people or to transform the build environment that really 'makes you feel like a better human being'. Several list of dos and don’ts are also recorded in his book; one of them is;

"Don't expect the finished house to change who you are. It's more likely that the process of building it will teach you about yourself".

It reminds me of those who expect to buy houses located in the hotspots within the city which has top class facilities and hoping that it will turn them into a ‘somebody’ from the elite class which they apparently aren’t sure of. Those village people on the other hand, who built their own homes in the rural areas to provide shelters for their family and loved ones are the ones who learn and know about themselves better. These words of wisdom give me a different view about our "design process" which in a way would teach us about ourselves.
He wrote, "The architect is like a hairdresser, except that he or she is going to deliver you possibly 20 or 30 years of your future. They're not going to determine how you look, but how you live. So It's important first to understand what you can get out of architecture."

What makes architecture? (according to this book)

1. (one idea)Great architecture makes you feel like a better human being

2. (2 ideas) People and place
(a) the way in which proper architecture is designed around the people who commission it and use and inhabit it everyday
(b) the way in which proper architecture responds to place, to uniqueness of its setting

3. (3 ideas) "Firmness, Commodity/Comfort and delight" Vitruvius

4. (4 ideas) Contextural, Sustainable, Contemporary, Nice place to live

These are 4 principles also could be consider as a basic brief when designing a house. Above all the idea is to list a set of experience that we wanted to get out of the place; a list of things that had make us happy in the past! Result: happiness

The most importantly, the most interesting homes are those where you can sense the passage of time; where the clapboards are greyed and furniture have been collected over time. What turns a house into home is our use of the place and the idiosyncratic mark we make on itwith our mess and our cherished belongings, and the added resonance of who we are and where we've been. The best homes are not style statements, but autobiographies.

These are some of the few points in the first part of the book; Thinking. And it made me to re-think and re-value my approach towards the client self-thought. This knowledge could be used an ice-breaking sessions with them and should be a guiding book to translate our architectural jargons and interpret design process into simple and small words such as happy!

" a good architect is FREE. They'll cost you no money in the long term, because if they're any cop they'll take your vision of what you want, strain it through their own peculiar and labyrinthine mind, prod and knead it gently with pencil and rubber, and then bake it at 200 C in their CAD software before delivering it back to you in a pretty box. You don't get the raw ingredients of a building with a good architect, you get the perfumed, heavenly experience of the finished syllabub: you get your vision fully wrought and resolved and handed back to you perfectly formed and larger than you ever thought possible. As a result, your home will be better and therefore worth more, and you will be happier. Now that is a secret of life" Kevin McCloud, Grand Designs Handbook

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Kembali kepada asas kediaman Islam

Somayeh / Mr. Taleghani's House, Courtesy Hamed Saber


RUMAH atau kediaman dalam Islam sering dikaitkan dengan syurga. Mendirikan rumah tangga di kalangan orang Melayu adalah ibarat mendirikan masjid. Sementara mendirikan masjid pula adalah ibarat mendirikan syurga.

Jika masjid melambangkan alam besar (makrokosmos), maka rumah kediaman pula dilambangkan sebagai alam kecil (mikrokosmos).

Rumah adalah ekspresi atau salinan kepada tuan rumah. Kalau rumah dianggap sebagai pembalut dan tuan rumah sebagai inti atau rumah sebagai jasad dan tuan rumah pula sebagai rohnya. Bilik dianggap sebagai kalbu bagi seseorang, di mana ia menjadi tempat manusia mendapat ilham, berfikir, merancang segala-gala yang berhubung dengan kehidupan dunia dan akhirat. Kalau kalbu memerintah seluruh anggota manusia begitu jugalah kuasa yang datang daripada dalam bilik ini ke atas seluruh rumah.

Rumah kediaman sebagai keperluan diri dan keluarga daripada perspektif Islam sebenarnya ialah rumah kediaman yang dibina atas asas-asas takwa kepada Allah s.w.t. dan disokong oleh as-sunah. Islam telah menetapkan peraturan-peraturan yang wajib dipatuhi umat Islam. Rumah kediaman Islam hendaklah merealisasikan konsep kesederhanaan dalam semua urusan mencakupi material dan spiritual.

Kesederhanaan dari sudut material dapat dilihat menerusi saiz dan reka bentuk sesebuah rumah, perhiasan dan peralatan atau kelengkapan rumah tangga. Dari segi saiz kediaman dan reka bentuk seni bina, Islam menganjurkan kesederhanaan yang disesuaikan dengan keperluan. Keluasan saiz rumah kediaman hendaklah berdasarkan jumlah ahli keluarga dan kegunaan ruangruang yang diperlukan demi menyediakan ciri-ciri keselesaan dan kesejahteraan seisi penghuninya. Rumah kediaman yang terlalu besar dengan reka bentuk yang terlalu indah dianggap sebagi suatu pembaziran jika keperluan terhadapnya tidak dipenuhi, misalnya jika dibandingkan dengan keperluan penghuni yang menghuni rumah tersebut.

Rumah kediaman ideal merealisasikan konsep kejiranan dan silaturahim.

Rasulullah s.a.w. menegaskan bahawa seseorang yang menjadikan jiran tetangganya tidak aman daripada kejahatan-kejahatan yang dilakukannya tidak dianggap benar-benar beriman.
Sungguhpun Rasulullah s.a.w. menyifatkan rumah sebagai tempat yang perlu mempunyai perlindungan peribadi, di mana Baginda s.a.w. pernah memberi amaran akan menyucuk mata sesiapa yang mengintai ke dalam rumah orang, tetapi aspek perlindungan peribadi yang dimaksudkan tidaklah sampai menutup pintu silaturahim dengan jiran tetangga.

Dalam Islam, perlindungan peribadi yang diperlukan dalam rumah adalah bagi tujuan bermunajat dengan Allah s.w.t. terutamanya pada waktu malam. Sementara perlindungan peribadi dalam reka bentuk rumah bermakna pembinaan ruang-ruang yang mengambil kira batasan aurat antara muhrim dan bukan muhrim.

Kecenderungan masyarakat membina tembok-tembok dinding tinggi yang menutup dari lingkungan luar dan tetangganya boleh mencetuskan bibit-bibit individualistik dan melunturkan semangat kejiranan. Sebaliknya reka bentuk yang dipilih hendaklah menggambarkan semangat kesediaan menerima kunjungan tetamu pada waktu-waktu tertentu dan tetamu juga merasa diterima dengan baik.

Kehadiran Islam di alam Melayu mempengaruhi aspek arah rumah yang hendak dibina itu disyaratkan menghadap kiblat. Inilah konsep pembinaan rumah kediaman yang ideal dan bertepatan dengan kehendak Islam, di mana Rasulullah s.a.w menyifatkan rumah kediaman laksana sebuah masjid bagi kaum perempuan menunaikan solat fardu dan kaum lelaki menunaikan solat-solat sunat seperti solat hajat, tahajud, witir dan jenazah.

Namun pada hari ini, kiblat tidak lagi diambil kira. Hasilnya ada rumah yang dibeli oleh orang Islam, tetapi kiblatnya menyerong hingga ada yang menghadap ke tandas.

Kiblat adalah titik rujuk di bumi, di mana dalam Islam selain daripada menjadi arah dalam solat, amalan-amalan ibadah yang lain juga dituntut menghadap ke kiblat seperti sembelihan, akad nikah, membaca al-Quran, mandi dan sebagainya.

Bahkan seawal kelahiran manusia ia dibawa menghadap kiblat untuk diazan atau diqamatkan sehinggalah apabila manusia itu meninggal ia dikebumikan juga menghadap ke kiblat.

Rumah kediaman turut memainkan peranan penting dalam mewujudkan kebahagiaan kepada seseorang. Kebahagiaan seseorang sebenarnya bermula dari rumah. Kalau di rumah lagi seseorang itu tidak bahagia, maka di pejabat, di masjid dan di mana-mana sahaja dia tidak akan bahagia.

Dalam hal ini Rasulullah s.a.w. menegaskan bahawa empat perkara yang boleh menjanjikan kebahagiaan kepada seseorang, iaitu isteri baik, rumah selesa, jiran baik dan kenderaan selesa. Apa yang dimaksudkan dengan rumah selesa oleh Rasulullah s.a.w. bukanlah terletak pada nilai material dan hiasan mewah, bahkan lebih memfokus kepada nilai keimanan dan ketakwaan yang ada pada penghuni rumah.

Rumah ideal ialah di dalamnya selalu mendirikan ibadah kepada Allah s.w.t., rumah yang di dalam menjadi tempat pembentukan nilai-nilai qudwah hasanah (teladan yang baik), ditegakkan syariat Islam, dan dapat menghindarkan penghuninya daripada hal-hal yang bertentangan dengan ajaran agama, dan berperanan sebagai tempat pembinaan generasi akan datang.

Secara umumnya konsep rumah kediaman ideal ialah rumah yang mencerminkan tiga hal pokok yang utama, iaitu hubungan manusia dengan Allah s.w.t. (hablum minallah), hubungan manusia sesama manusia (hablum minannas) dan hubungan manusia dengan alam (hablum minal alamin).

Adalah menjadi tanggungjawab utama kaum bapa sebagai ketua dalam rumah tangga membentuk konsep rumah yang ideal meliputi aspek kebendaan dan kerohanian seperti yang dimaksudkan oleh Rasulullah s.a.w. bahawa faktor rumah menjadi penentu kepada kebahagiaan seseorang manusia.

- AFFENDI ISMAIL ialah Ketua Pusat Pemikiran dan Kefahaman Islam (CITU), Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Kampus Melaka.
Sumber: Utusan Malaysia (23 Jun 2006 )

Rujukan lain: Kesenian Dalam Islam