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Haseef Rafiei

Manchester School Of Architecture, UK.

Kampung Baru remains as one of the few surviving villages in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.
As years have passed, the settlement (what was once an agricultural settlement) have developed into an oasis surrounded by countless development. The village remains untouched as a purest form of urbanisation located in the heart of the city. The 223-acre Malay settlement is often associated with notion of under-development. This is evident through the countless attempts to redevelop the village into a modern metropolis, which has received strong resistance from the public.

The project envisions the creation of a ‘Contemporary Kampung’ through the preservation of heritage, the planning of new housing typologies and the transformation of Kampung Baru into a cultural hub. The proposal for the new housing scheme will be in the form of prefabricated tectonics that becomes the generation of a contemporary Malay village. The new typology will accommodate the hybridisation of Kampung morphologies that complements the existing fabric.

To begin Haseef could you provide us with an introduction about yourself, where have you studied, what stage you are in your architectural career/degree and also any of your interests or specialities?


I am Malaysian-born designer whose work includes architectural design, tectonics and illustrative art. I am currently pursuing my RIBA Part II at the Manchester School of Architecture.



Your project is located in Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur, how did you decide on this location and was there any specific reasons behind this?


Kuala Lumpur being my hometown, the decision was quite personal and sentimental. I have spent many of my childhood years in an urban village and have been fortunate to experience its rich social landscape. So, the decision to focus on the preservation of these villages was a rather natural one.



The Kampung Hybridisation seeks to combine and merge traditional Malay architecture with contemporary design that is sensitive to its local environment, how does your design achieve this?  


The traditional aspect of the design exists through the adoption of vernacular attributes such as mimicking the kampung scale, informal breakout spaces, vernacular social systems and bioclimatic strategies. The contemporary aspect of the proposal lies in its fabrication. Prefabricated modules of Glulam and CLT tectonics replicate the vernacular houses creating a mass-customisation of units that respond to the growing needs of the place.

Your graphical style features a combination of photorealistic renderings and reduced colour axonometric drawings, how have you developed this style?


I have developed the skill of creating photorealistic visuals while working in practice back in Kuala Lumpur. Most of my drawings are expressed in graphical and experiential axonometric. I think these form of drawings create a richer form of imagery and spatial representation.



Could you provide our readers with an insight into your drawing process, what software or combination of programs do you use to produce your drawings?


The basic modelling softwares I use are Rhinoceros and Sketchup. V-ray for renderings and loads of Photoshop!.

Is there anybody or anything that has influenced you during your architectural studies?


I have always been inspired by the Metabolist movement of sixties. I was fascinated not only by their notion of architectural impermanence/ tectonics, but their sensitivity towards the elements of nature. It is the idea of perceiving buildings as living ecosystems rather than static objects.



If you could offer one piece of advice to our architecture student followers what would it be?


Don’t be conventional! This is the time to explore ideas that spur critical engagement without being tied down by any restrictions.   



Finally, where can people find out more about you and your projects?


More information can be found on my website:

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