Building Ideas From Paper to Concrete

bca built environment scholarship
Muhammad Hafiz Bin Hanip

As an architect at DP Architects, Muhammad Hafiz Bin Hanip gets many exciting opportunities to shape the built environment, designing a diverse range of sites both locally and abroad.

Design Journey

Since his Secondary school days, Hafiz has constantly involved himself in design projects, from class t-shirts to school camp logos. When he progressed to Anderson Junior College, he contributed to the designing of the school’s collaterals, including promotional banners and handbooks.

Outside of school, Hafiz also clinched awards in several design competitions, including the 2006 World Red Cross Societies conference in Singapore, as well as a competition to create a special Sentosa Monorail Die-Cast Model limited edition livery. In his spare time, Hafiz dabbles in photography, cooking and sewing projects.

These experiences have laid the foundation for his keen eye for detail and propelled his design skills – which he applies in his everyday work at DP Architects, creating new, refreshing and exciting buildings.

DP Architects – Firm of Choice

Hafiz was awarded the BCA-DP Architects iBuildSG Undergraduate Scholarship while he was pursuing his Masters Degree at the National University of Singapore in 2012, which gave him the opportunity to secure employment with DP Architects (DPA). He is thankful that the scholarship programme provided him with a smooth transition from university and connected him with DPA, a company which nurtures young talents and gives ample opportunities to express and exercise creativity. As Singapore’s biggest architectural firm, DPA has a myriad of building typologies in its wide portfolio, giving fresh graduates many opportunities to learn and grow. Among DPA’s projects in Singapore are Our Tampines Hub, Singapore Sports Hub, Singapore University of Technology & Design (SUTD), Resorts World Sentosa and Esplanade–Theatres on the Bay.

DP Academy, a department within DP, frequently organises workshops on Building Information Modelling (BIM) and other current industry topics which cater to various levels of expertise and are open to all staff. Guest speakers from local and international firms are occasionally invited to give talks on subjects ranging from academic discourse to trade talks on the latest constructional products and technologies. Hafiz often finds himself at these talks and workshops, as he believes in broadening his technical knowledge and keeping up to date with the latest building technologies and architectural trends.

Creating Memorable Designs

Since joining DPA in 2013, Hafiz has been involved in numerous local and international projects of varying scales, from urban master-planning to unique and memorable sites, including a zoo and a Ferris wheel.

His work also takes him abroad, where he coordinates meetings with industry partners and shares his ideas through client presentations. Such overseas trips also help him experience first-hand the environmental conditions of the building site, giving him a better understanding of the place.

A particularly interesting project for Hafiz was when he had to work with a zoologist for the zoo project. The experience was truly an eye-opener as Hafiz got a behind-the-scenes look at animal enclosures and how his design work would eventually contribute towards the health and comfort of the animals living there. By being present at the site, Hafiz was able to appreciate the operations of a zoo and this aided his design thinking process.

Exciting Design Process

The design process involves a lot of imagination – the rigour of doing, undoing and redoing involves constant innovation and exploration – and an architect must push the boundaries of human interaction with the built environment. It is this pursuit of new spatial experiences that excites and drives Hafiz as he creates his designs. His designs are recreated across a number of media, moving from initial thoughts on paper to scaled cardboard models and computer models in the virtual world, and finally, transformed into life-sized mock-ups.

At the end of the day, an architect’s challenge lies in crafting a building that addresses the clients’ needs while respecting the local building codes and ensuring a safe and user-friendly environment. Hafiz believes in going beyond an architect’s standard responsibilities by injecting his designs with flair and aesthetics that tie these aspects together.

Designing for a Sustainable Future

Hafiz recently completed the design stages of a project in Dubai, which has since progressed into the construction phase. He was responsible for the layout design, coordinating with the engineers and overseeing the obtainment of the building permit from the local governing body, which was required for actual construction to start.

Part of the approval for construction requires the architect to incorporate several key sustainable design principles into the design of the building. So, very early in its concept stages, several environmental analyses were done by DPA’s sustainable design specialist, DP Sustainable Design (DPSD), on the computer model of the building to assess its impact on the environment. One of it was sun path and shadow analysis, which studies the amount of direct sunlight the building experiences and the amount of shadow it casts onto itself and its neighbours.

Working in collaboration with DPSD, these analyses inform the building design so as to produce a more comfortable internal living environment for the users. Besides this, the incorporation of sustainable design principles and elements in the design help to reduce constructional and operational costs for the developer, too.

As a result, some of the canopies around this building are, for example, 60cm deep while others are 180cm deep. These are the depths that were critically required, beyond which, it would not make much difference to the comfort levels for the users.

Looking Ahead

Hafiz is grateful for the opportunity to witness how a building starts off from a simple sketch and progresses on to the actual construction. He now looks forward to the completion of the building in a few years’ time.

Currently, Hafiz is keeping busy with his projects, designing two prestigious malls and a private residential complex in Morocco.

Five years on, and Hafiz is still amazed at how architecture shapes our lives and how our lives, in turn, shape architecture. The relationship between humans and the built environment is not a monologue; it is a constantly evolving dialogue. There is much to discover as we continue to design new buildings and discover new ways of living.

BCA-DP Architects
iBuildSG Undergraduate Scholarship 2012
(formerly known as BCA-DP Architects Built Environment Undergraduate Scholarship)
Attained: Master of Architecture, National University of Singapore
Now: Architectural Executive, DP Architects
From: Anderson Junior College