Razin Mahmood has won the praise of his peers and the wonderment of the man on the street for his designs
AWARD-WINNING architect Razin Mahmood, 46, clearly loves his job.
But while the praise of the critics and respect of his peers are satisfying, nothing gives him greater gratification than the wonderment of the man on the street.
That's because his designs are as much skilful disguises as they are striking art, arousing curiosity as often as they inspire awe.
His surau in Nusa Idaman in Johor Baru, for which he received the gold medal for the special category at the Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM) 2011 Awards, is an example of his brand of art.
Space is divided by glass and brick walls, allowing plenty of natural light and ventilation inside the building topped by a flat, square roof.
Futuristic, functional and eco-friendly, the surau does not, from whichever angle one approaches it, look like a surau.
He uses the "hutong" style of small narrow backlanes surrounded by wall on both sides to link the outside and the entrances to the congregation area.
The facade has shading panels with Chinese motifs.
This environmentally-friendly mosque is complete with a green roof and solar skylight.
If one had to guess at what the building might be, one would say shopping mall -- and one in Orchard Road, to boot.
It could also be an exhibition hall, auditorium, or a gallery.
The three district police stations -- Kota Tinggi and Nusajaya in Johor, and Cyberjaya in Selangor -- he designed look nothing like police stations.
There are big foyers, and corridors linking the blocks of buildings.
Stripped of the regulation blue and white, the complexes could be anything -- high-tech manufacturing plant, sports complex, deluxe offices.
As he puts it: "Architecture is an experience. I want to do something different. My main task is to convince others to agree with me.
"All architectural designs must not only be functional, the users must be proud of them as well.
"A building must evoke a positive emotion in its dwellers if it is a residence, and the employees if it is an office," he said.
While some architects apply feng shui in building designs, Razin incorporates Islamic elements.
His home in Kempas Baru, is built according to the concept of "paradise" as described in Ar-Ra'du 13:35 in the Quran.
"This verse talks about harmonious green and flowing water features. I incorporated these features into my designs," said the father of five.
Denai House, as it is named, is a double-storey bungalow sitting on slightly elevated terrain. The basement park, fitted with an elongated swimming pool, is much like a big, lush green carpet.
Staying there would not be unlike a dream vacation extended to last a lifetime.
The ground floor of the L-shaped building has a lounge surrounded by glass panels, a waiting area, as well as a small garden.
The top floor is all bedrooms, which are spread out like big balconies.
By the application of sliding door and pivoted timber screens, one can "switch on" the natural light and fresh air.
Razin has designed 25 bungalows.
To know more about Razin and view his works,visit www.razinarchitect.com