Looking at Documenting and Preserving Malaysia’s Modern Architectural Gems
Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia (PAM) recently organised the mASEANa Student International Workshop 2019 Kuala Lumpur, involving 60 tertiary students, at its Centre in Bangsar.
A collaboration between PAM, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and the mASEANa (modern ASEAN architecture) Project of the University of Tokyo, this workshop aimed to create awareness among the participating students who are also future architects of the importance of recording modern architectural heritage and memories in Southeast Asia. It is hoped that this collaboration would lead to more efforts towards identifying and documenting modern architectural gems in Malaysia for future references and conservation. The mASEANa Project, initiated in 2015, is designed to operate for six years until 2020. Within the defined period local and foreign architects, researches, politicians, and citizens are called to collaborate and to take action towards this aim.
In her welcome address on the first day of the three-day workshop, PAM President Ar. Lillian Tay said: “One of PAM’s priorities is to mentor our future young architects in their journey to becoming professional architects. We want our young architect graduates and students to understand the role and importance of good architecture and planning to create good living environments in our towns and cities, which is essential to building happy, healthy and productive communities. Besides that, excellent architecture also is part of the cultural achievements of a country.”
“It is my hope that our students and younger generation, gain a better understanding into the richness and diversity of the nation’s architectural heritage. We hope this workshop will produce an important inventory to record Malaysia’s many modern architecture landmarks, including both national monuments as well as common everyday buildings such as our early public housing in the 1960s, to be remembered and better appreciated now and in the future.”
Dato Ar. Zulkhairi bin Md Zain, who has been involved in the Project since 2017 when he attended the 2nd mASEANa Workshop and Conference in Hanoi, said: “Modern Asia has experienced various changes over time as a result of colonisation, wars of Independence, and post-Independence disturbances, economic growth and collapse. However, the buildings that have been built during this time have yet to gain the same recognition as traditional architecture. By documenting this modern architecture, the information can be handed down to future generations as assets and resources that will benefit communities, mankind and the global environment. The past provides guidance for us to address future challenges.”
Fully sponsored by Japan Foundation and Toyota Foundation, the workshop was also supported by DOCOMOMO Japan (Documentation and Conservation of Buildings, Sites, and Neighbourhoods of the Modern Movement) and ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) Japan. All inventories will be kept in the format of a digital archive, which will be made accessible to the public. All collaborative parties — PAM, UTM and mASEANa Project — will share the copyright of the archive for utilisation in future publications.