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Collections of an Old Town

Research – Academia Thesis Project // Location: Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia // Year: 2011  // Supervisor: Rutger Pasman

The old towns of Southeast Asia are in a crisis.  An unseen urge for modernisation has led vast culturally and historically important urban landscapes into a polarisation of disrepair and restoration.   This project uses the questions of contemporary life in Ipoh’s labelled civic buildings to rejuvenate the old town urban landscape.  Designed as monuments in the landscape, the role of existing civic buildings has deteriorated and a growing disconnection between them and the civil urban life has appeared.

The project is interested in reinstating a more civil role for Ipoh’s public buildings with a strong interest in the civic edge, informal activities, events and occupations within the existing urban fabric. In addition, this fabric of shop houses has been analysed, curated and catalogued to respond to a more contemporary civil urban network.

Threshold and civic informality are used to describe a new institutional hybrid that diffuses the scales and activities of Ipoh’s old town. This is achieved by the containment of intimate space, engaging socially with the urban life and forcing a more dispersed flow of interaction. As such the building is bringing civic and civil together.