Mr. Harris won the Colombo Plan Scholarship to study in Australia in 1975. After 10 years, he returned to Malaysia to serve the country followed by a six year stint in Brunei. In 1992, he was appointed as Principal Architect of KLCC and the Architect-of-Record for Petronas Twin Towers, the world’s tallest (twin) building. Armed with these experiences, Mr. Harris established RDA-Harris Architects in 1995, with the objective to provide world-class architectural and urban design services. Subsequently this merged into RDA-Harris Design Group, a leading design firm in the region.
He travels extensively in pursuit of greater knowledge in architecture and design. As an educationist, he has lectured in many design schools. In recognition of their achievements, his practice has won many international and local awards, including B.I.D. Paris 2000, ARCASIA Gold Medal, Macau 2003, PAM Gold Medal, Kuala Lumpur 2002 and in 2005 for a competition in Abu Dhabi. In 2007 his design for the Serendah House, Malaysia, was nominated for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture for 2005-2007 cycle.
Throughout history, mankind has shaped the built-environment to suit his needs. Civilizations come and go, each leaves its own unique mark on the planet. Invariably it is the man-made environment and architecture that reflects the greatness of a civilization. So, what would the 21st Century offer? Given the technological means and capacity available today we have an unprecedented power to shape the Earth. But we must do this responsibly and with respect; we simply cannot afford to do otherwise. The architect thus plays a pivotal role: he must contribute to a quality built-environment; one that is sustainable and humane. The built-environment must be in harmony with the natural. This is the hallmark of a great civilization. ABDUL HARRIS OTHMAN
Shaiful is a talented architect with a wealth of international experience in a diverse array of projects. He is a natural team leader. As a Senior Associate, he brings a rich blend of knowledge and ideas in sustainable design, green building and energy efficiency to practice. He also lends his extensive project management skills to significant projects in the firm. As a young architect, he strives to surpass the expectations of the 21st century built environment to future eras, championing the application of sustainability to design from the smallest product design to the largest new city.
"In the old days, architectural mastery is traditionally passed down through apprenticeship; from a Teacher to a Student; from a Master to a Disciple. The only tools needed are a pencil, a piece of paper, or sometimes on a napkin and a fistful lot of logic with a pinch of human intuition. With the advance of technology, the design thought is somehow cut short which may leave the intent soul-less. In RDA-Harris, we go back to the old school, where pencils are still being pushed, one sketch is replaced by another, logic is constantly challenged and human intuition is cared for. A thin line is born where a gap once reside." - Shaiful Samsuri
Jon S. Ignatowicz graduated from University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, School of Architecture. His long and illustrious career began almost 40 years ago, as an Architectural Assistant at R. Seifert Partnership Manchester in 1972. He worked in several notable firms in UK, before leaving abroad to Hong Kong to work with RMJM in 1982. His passion for travel soon led him to Vancouver, Canada, where he worked as a private practice in 1983. The Canadian venture did not last very long, however, for he was offered a senior position with FaulknerBrowns Newcastle, culminating as Associate Partner with the Practice 1985-1992.
By this time Jon’s portfolio included many projects overseas, from Cyprus to Saudi Arabia to Doha, as well as the multitude of projects in Hong Kong. Enriched by these international experience, Jon decided to move abroad again in 1997, this time to Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur now is his home, where he is settled with his family.
This was when his association began with RDA-Harris Architects began, initially as a Senior Architect and Urban Design Consultant for the Putrajaya UDG. Due to the Asian economic crisis in the late 90’s he left for Dubai, operating under his own firm, PJSI Consortium as the CEO and Chief Designer. Buoyed by the Dubai’s building boom, Jon’s venture in the Middle- East turned out very successful. Back in Kuala Lumpur now he rejoined RDA-Harris Group as the partner and managing director for RDA Harris International.
In recognition of his talent and professionalism, Jon won RIBA’s “Architect Under Forty Award” Special Award, 1992. Other awards include:
- Aga Khan award short-list for the Banking facilities in Saudi Arabia, 1984
- Structural Steel Design Award (Commendation) for Blackburn Leisure Pool,1986
- IAKS award for the Holywell Leisure Center 1987
- Civic Trust Award (Commendation) for Bolton Leisure Pool 1988
- Civic Trust Award, Ponds Forge Sheffield UK, 1992
- Bridge Designs in Putrajaya , Malaysia, 2003
'Jay' Folajuwon thrives as a young and dynamic architect with a drive to transcend conventional design, bringing to the practice innovative ideas in the use of materials in design, engineering, and technology. Skilled in a variety of 3D design software applications, he is well-versed in creating computer visualizations of building forms and structures to suite design needs. He is privileged to have much international experience having been immensely involved in a variety of projects including master plans, public facilities, high-rise developments, commercial and residential projects of diverse scope and scale in parts of Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
'The performance , and ultimate success of the construction stage in building is to a large degree predicated by the quality of design management. Thus, to ensure the quality of the final product, we pay huge attention to the management of the design process. At RDA Harris we has devised a protocol for managing the design process that encapsulates these ideals. It consists of a general plan for developing design activities, including the content of the main activities, their precedence relationships, the role and responsibilities of clients and consultants, and finallly a model of the information flow.'
"We frequently bring together the thoughts of leading figures from the building industry, academia, the public sector, professional bodies, and the media, to reflect on what the twenty-first century may mean for architecture and urban design. We examined which direction architecture progresses in the twenty-first century and how we should respond in terms of leadership and management to be effective."
"We believe, being culturally fluent means being able to enter a new context, master the norms, and feel comfortable doing so. Learning to be effective at cultural code-switching is the key to serve at best."
"I think one must approach architectural design with a '360 degrees' view. There are so many aspects to consider beyond meeting the Client's requirement. How one experience the building and spaces within is a result of the architects vision and efforts. The Architect has to consider how the building would relate to the surrounding topography and how it can impact the environment. He has to capitalize the opportunities and negate the constraints of site. He has to resolve conflicting needs which invariably arise during design and construction stage - from developer's vs. statutory requirement, environment vs. commercial needs, political, personal, social needs or any combination of the above. The Architect must not only rise above these challenges but exert his influence to push for a more sustainable design......."
Mr. Chew trained under the influence of Ecologically Sustainable Development from 2 of the Top 10 ESD experts over the last decade. He was awarded Graphisoft Rendering of the Month Competition in 2003 and showcased works on Abvent’s image database for publications and other online media. He has been actively involved in virtual building and architectural competitions worldwide, such as New York Street Light Competition, District-6 Mixed-Use Housing Development Competition at Cape Town, CG Visualization, Sustainability Development competition. He also collaborated with the recent winner of BCI Asia Top 10 Architectural Awards.
Our technical department works in partnership with our clients, synergizing the structure and efficiency of digital correspondence/ storage/real-time exchange of on-going information, in order to meet their project objectives or overcome problems.
RDA Harris Design Group
RDA-Harris Design Group is a leading design house in the country specializing in high-end architecture and urban design. Nestled in a 1.5 acre garden in the Jalan Ampang 'Embassy Row' of Kuala Lumpur, our main studio is the heart of our operation which spans across the globe, from Tokyo to Morocco.
The Studio is a hub of creativity and research for design excellence. The gathering of like-minded individuals with vast and varied experiences enable us to think differently; to provide solutions that are creative and innovative. As a policy, we encourage for a multi-cultural mix in our team members: we always think globally and transcend cultural barriers; often resulting in surprising design options. We are comfortable to work anywhere in the world, but will always respect the site context and genius loci. We believe in sustainability of the local cultures, traditions, economy as well as the environment.
"towards sustainable built-environment....."
As urban planners and architects we are often at the fore-front in land or property development process. It is our collective responsibility to ensure sustainability in design - in every sense of the word - as reflected in all our design products and processes. We have been advocating this principle and idea long before it becomes an industry norm.
At the same time we ensure quality: meeting all the client needs and more. Out attitude is about giving the best: providing creative design solutions turning problems into opportunities and adding value to the products. Ultimately we aim to leave a positive impact to the world.
This is the spirit we share across the globe..
A little background....
RDA-Harris Design Group was established at the beginning of 1995 with the incorporation of RDA-Harris Architects. The founder is Abdul Haris Othman, apam,araia, who remains as the Principal and Chairman of the Group. Having quickly established a good reputation, the firm was appointed to be the Lead Urban Design Consultant for the Putrajaya city, the New Federal Administrative Centre for Malaysia. The main assignment was to establish the Urban Design Guidelines (UDG) for this new city, with the aim to ensure continuation of quality in buildings, landscaping and environment of the city by other (subsequent) architects and developers.
Due to the scale and significance of the job, the firm rapidly grew to more than 50 staffs, including expatriates from UK, France, Iraq and Chile. Soon, to assist with the management, Nooraliza Abu Bakar joined the firm as the Managing Director.
RDA-Harris Architects Sdn Bhd. remains the core business of the group, providing quality architectural and urban design services. In parallel with the rapid growth of the country in mid-90's the group expands to cater for other related services including Interior Design (RDA-Harris Space Sdn Bhd) and the Product and Industrial Design (RDA-Harris Product Design Sdn Bhd).
Like most peers, however, the group had to consolidate in late 90's due to the Asian Economic Crisis. Optimistic as always, the firm then ventured abroad, in particular to the Middle East. Since then the firm has gained a strong foothold, with work spanning from United Arab Emirates to Morocco. The overseas venture is now consolidated under RDA-Harris International, with associate branches in Abu Dhabi, Doha, Casablanca and soon, Jakarta. Jon Ignatowicz, from the original Putrajaya's UDG team, joined RDAH International as a partner, bringing a wealth of experience, talent and strength to the team.
Further we believe in youth and young talents. We constantly seek, groom and engage them in our work. They brings energy, verve and alternate views in design. This spirits is epitomized by Shaiful Lizan Samsuri, our young Associate. He brings such qualities to the team and contribute to give that 'edge' to our design.
Overall, we have a balanced, creative and strong team capable to deliver that special design our Clients always desires.