China Town

Topics: Art Deco, Neoclassical architecture, Neoclassicism Pages: 7 (2154 words) Published: January 9, 2012
1.0 Introduction

During the 19th century, Malaya had been colonised by the British and many Chinese and Indian had migrates to Malaya. As a city, Kuala Lumpur had become the most crowded and fast development place. Many colonial and migrations stay at Kuala Lumpur. Through colonisation and migration, both knowledge and methods of house construction had been adapted to the Malaya architecture during that time. Therefore there are many heritage buildings especially the Chinese shop houses had been influence by the foreign design.

In this essay, I had make a field trip to Petaling Street to collect photographs of shophouses. Through the characteristic of the design of the shophouses I need to identify the Malaysia and foreign design influences of the traditional shop houses in Petaling Street. Description and contrast had been made of the influences of the shop houses by comparing the buildings which the structures had been influence by.

2.0 Background

2.1 British Colonisation In Malaysia During 19-20 Century

Figure 1: Tin mine

Tim mining, a popular activity amongst there and they increases many Chinese workers to migrates to Malaya (figure 1). Chinese migrates brought their tradition dwelling design where the two storey Chinese shop houses becomes common.

“During British colonise Malaya, many public and private building had been built by the British which contain the mixture of architecture styles such as Renaissance, Palladia, Neoclassical and revived Gothic because Kuala Lumpur has become the Federal Capital and Headquarters of the Resident General.” (Mohammad Iza,(2010),p.45.)

2.2 Shophouses

Before 1880's Chinese shophouses was a very simple construction of one storey houses which only use wooden parts supporting on attap roof which is open to the street. While the rear section of the shophouses was usually built on piles over a river to facilitate the delivery of goods. Most of the construction is use the locally available materials combine with Chinese architecture influence. Therefore curved gable are glazed ornamental tiles are some of the Chinese shop houses characteristic. Moreover the stucco decorations is the intention of which was to emphasis the character and background of the owner.

The early shophouses are build in rows with uniforms façades and a continuous, covered five-foot way in front (figure 2). There are also jack roof on the shop houses which rise above the main roof to allowed accumulated hot air in the house to escape (figure 3). Besides that, there is also low rickety, shuttered window on the front of the first floor.

Figure 2: Five-foot way Figure 3: Jack roof

“Before World War II, the commercial centre of every Malaysian town was featured by one or more streets lined with usually two storeys high shophouses, where trading were occurred at the lower floor and the upper floors as residential accommodation area.” (Anon,(2008),p.44.)

However, the position of the shop and residential space might be different depending on the number of floors of a shophouse. For an example, a single story shophouse tends to include residential area behind the shop; while for the shophouses of two or more storeys have residential space typically located above the shop.

Early masonry shophouses were often built around 6-7 metres wide and 30 metres deep occasionally extended to 60 metres according to its location. They were often built in rows with uniform facades and a covered five-foot way in front of the shophouse. “The five-foot way was first imposed by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, a British colonial administration that founded the city of Singapore in 1822.”(online, It is an old practice specifying that all shophouses should include a minimum five-foot-wide veranda on the ground floor. This building tradition addressed the extremes of the tropical sun and rain, and created pedestrian linkages at ground...
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