Ar. Hijjas Kasturi is a Singaporean-born Malaysian renowned architect who has been involved in the architectural industry for more than fifty years. Named after the architecture figure himself, The Inaugural Ar. Hijjas Kasturi Annual Lecture was held at the Faculty of Architecture, Planning and Surveying (FSPU), Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Puncak Alam on 15 November 2019. Entitled “The Games of Architecture”, the lecture was a part of PALAM Fest 2019 (an annual FSPU Puncak Alam festival), hosted by Centre of Studies for Town and Regional Planning. The event was launched on the same day by Ar. Hijjas Kasturi as a recognition and appreciation for his role as the founder of the School of Art and Architecture at MARA Institute of Technology in 1967.
At the beginning of the talk, he recalled his early years as a kid who had always been interested in design and architecture. He was fascinated by architectural books, hence, at the times when going to school was much easier for the wealthy and privileged, he always found other ways to get knowledge on architecture through reading. His very first inspiration in pursuing architecture was the Fallingwater by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935.
In this talk, Ar. Hijjas Kasturi explained how ‘the games of architecture’ is like playing games in sport. In sport, you can play as solo, in a team or with a partner. “Sometimes you compete with others, and sometimes you compete with yourself,” he said. According to him, “to succeed in the challenging field of architecture, one needs 3F – fun, fortune and fame.” He felt that he always has the fortune, thus his life has been blessed with a remarkable career path. However, along the way, his ideas also got rejected many times but he just continued doing what he believes in.
Although it sounds cliché; love does play a vital role in the games of architecture. Ar. Hijjas Kasturi believes that “to sustain your work in architecture, you must love what you are doing.” The importance of love is not only applicable to the architects themselves, but also in their responsibility towards the environment. “You are responsible for the built environment – you can pollute it, enhance it or inspire it,” he claimed.
Towards the end of his talk, Ar. Hijjas Kasturi, who is now 83 years old, said that his career enjoyment comes from the journey, rather than the destination. Among his prominent buildings are Wisma Equity (1982), Menara Maybank (1989), Tabung Haji (1986), Telekom Tower (2001), Putrajaya International Convention Centre (2003) and the 4G11 Tower in Putrajaya (2008). While brilliant design concept is one of the significant factors behind his recognition as an architecture figure, his buildings’ design also paid excellent attention to the practicality aspects. Ar. Hijjas Kasturi concluded his talk, by saying that “The function of it becomes architecture”.
“Reconnect your World with Design and Creativity”
Prepared by: Syazwani Abdul Kadir, FSPU, UiTM
Edited by: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Geetha Subramaniam, Fellow InQKA, UiTM