Exploring the key role of an architect
By: Aisyah Suwardi
Ar Ezumi Harzani’s interest in the art of designing and construction started at a young age after being influenced by his great grandfather’s work as a house-builder. Back then, he had always admired his great grandfather’s handcrafted work, which utilised only natural materials found around the village such as timber, “nibong” and bamboo.
His late father who was an art teacher at several private colleges from 1970 to 1992 was also one of his influencers. According to Ezumi, his father often encouraged him to take art classes during his studies in primary school.
It was later during his years at MARA Junior Science College when Ezumi realised his true calling in the field of architecture.
For this instalment of the Career in Real Estate (CaREA) series, StarProperty.my interviewed Ar Ezumi Harzani, the president of Malaysian Institute of Architects to elaborate further on his passion for the field as well as his understanding regarding the field of architecture.
After graduating from University of Science Malaysia (USM) Penang as a graduate architect in 1994, Ezumi started work in an architecture firm by the name of Asas Arkitek for three years.
Ezumi said that the bulk of a fledgeling architect’s work involves drawing, adding that it is an essential step towards further advancement. “As you expand your career, your drawing skills will help set a good foundation for you to understand the principle of designing,” he explained. As a practising architect for 24 years, Ezumi is currently a partner at Arkitek MAA Sdn Bhd.
“Sooner or later, you will have to get involved with the planning process,” said Ezumi, adding that his work also involve the management of resources and personnel. Besides that, Ezumi is also looking out for new technologies to be incorporated into his projects.
Drawing attention to the Dayabumi Complex at Central Market, Ezumi stated that the building was designed in a way where it will self-clean during the rain.
“Back then the team did extensive research under a wind tunnel for several months to study the direction of the wind, as they tried to understand how this element could be used to self-clean the building.
“That is how architects work back then, spending a huge amount of time researching their design to ensure that there is a purpose behind it,” he said.
Citing a few role models in his life, Ezumi stated his admiration for Hijas Kasturi, an architect who tried to pursue the Malay identity at that time. Hijas designed the Bangunan Tabung Haji, which is one of Ezumi’s favourite building in Malaysia. Built in 1984, it was one of the first building in Malaysia with a curved feature. According to him, Hijjaz erected five pillars to create the curved structure. It also symbolised the five pillars of Islam.
Another of his role model was Dr Kenneth Yeang, who did extensive research and design on green environmental building and sustainability. Responsible for the creation of Menara Mesiniaga, Dr Yeang employed a new automaton building system to respond to the effects of climate change.
Ezumi claimed that the designs found nowadays are unique, but there is little objective or usefulness behind it, besides aesthetical reasons.
“Architecture is different from art as we need to have a clear sense of direction and function when designing a building, be it for maintenance, social and environmental impact,” he said.
Ezumi stated that an architect must also contemplate other concepts such as the movement of the occupants inside a building, how they are supposed to stay and where they play.
Touching on the aspects of becoming a registered architect, he said that a student needs to complete an undergraduate degree, also known as LAM Part 1, followed by a masters degree (LAM Part 2) in an accredited architecture programme.
“But to acquire the Ar title, a graduate architect needs to have at least two years of working experience in the field.
“He or she must also pass the professional examination, called LAM Part 3,” said Ezumi, adding that registration with the Board of Architects Malaysia (Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia - LAM) is necessary before an architect could provide his professional services.
Aside from that, Ezumi also suggested that fellow architects register with the Malaysian Institute of Architects or PAM (Pertubuhan Arkitek Malaysia). According to him, PAM’s objective is to promote excellent services to clients besides fostering professional development among members.
“One of the activities conducted by PAM was a seminar called continuous professional development (CPD) courses where we shared with our members the latest regulations related to our field.
“If you are not attached to PAM, you might miss out on this new addition,” said Ezumi.