Research Areas/Interest

Architectural Education  

My experiences as 1) a member of the Council of Architectural Accreditation and Education Malaysia – Board of Architect, Malaysia), 2) a member of the Council of Heads of Architecture Schools (COHAS)  3) an external examiner to schools of architecture, 4) a head of school of architecture, 5) a Manager of Part-Time education, 6) a head of architectural projects, and 7)  a lecturer, have equipped me with a comprehensive pedagogical knowledge in architectural education.

My interests in architectural education are 1) planning of new architectural programs, 2) managing the running of architectural program, 3) evaluating architecture and other related programs, and 4) managing Part-Time programs.

Research: Human Behaviour and Architectural Design

Currently, I am exploring a concept known as “Person Environment Congruence (PEC)” which is the ultimate goal of every creation of our built-environment. The concept suggests that the success or effectiveness of any built-environment depends on how much it fits expectations of the end user/s. Only when PEC is achieved, sustainability of the built-environment can be ensured. Most of my publications center on this concept, and all my postgraduate students are working within the framework of this concept.

Application of Person Environment Congruence (PEC)

The main application of this Social-Science concept (Person-Environment Congruence – PEC) is currently on developing frameworks of user centered housing design and the setting of learning environment.

In housing, I am working on three important components conceptualized as being essential in achieving PEC in housing, i.e. a) Systematic understanding of Person – Environment Relationship, b) Development of Appropriate User Participation Programs, and c) Strategies for flexible housing design.

In learning environment, I and my students have started exploring attributes that are suitable and/essential in making the environment appropriate for learning activities.

Involvement in art activities

I am also self-taught artist, interested in exploring the hidden forces in the natural and man made environment. My art works are inspired/driven by man-environment relationship based on my research works on human behavior, my personal experiences living in a rural village, and my academic studies on urban environment of Malaysia. Most of my paintings are attempting to explore the reality of the natural and man-made environment that is the existence of genius loci or the spirit of places in them. The “spirits” are at work, organizing and monitoring, but they are often unrealized by almost all of us. They are there in the setting, often visible and real. It is the spirit that makes the environment alive and meaningful. Only the meanings of the places are perceived and may exist in abstract forms. It is the spirit that makes us attached to the places.

The development of the concept was initially inspired by Paul Klee’s line works, which were interpreted by the author of “Design of the Cities”, Edmund Bacon. He argues that “Orders” that exist in our environment are not necessarily realized, felt or discovered. But they are at work all the time. They exist in various forms. They may directly or indirectly be interpreted, or explained.. Nothing is left unorganized by the “order” because “Yang tiada itu ada” (the nonexistent actually exists). I later developed a conceptual expression using pen lines and patches of colours to resemble a chaotic situation, hoping that the organizing forces can be perceived by observers. Just like how one may perceive a forest environment which is full of different artistic elements such as lines, colors, textures, and what not.

Only when we critically analyze the setting will we be able to recognize the spirit of the place. It is the same way as when we observe our urban environment. It is not an easy task to realize the important forces that make our places meaningful and valuable to us. Therefore many of us – including those who are regarded as our scholars – are willing to disregard or even to destroy them.