STAGE III Field survey
5.3 Field Observation Results on Physical Elements Associated with the Towns’
5.3.1 Man-made features .1 Buildings
It has been highlighted that the observation survey conducted in this research formed the very first stage in producing the inventory list. In view of that, the results in this section are discussed in tandem with the data obtained from the inventory record. Table 5.5 summarizes the number of buildings identified as important in making contribution to the character of each studied areas. The distributions of these buildings are shown in
Plan UM/HBM/KKB/001, UM/HBM/SGL/002 and UM/HBM/KGK/003 in Appendix F. As highlighted in Section 4.5.2 of Chapter Four, only places that meet the predefined criteria were considered for inclusion in the inventory.
Table 5.5: Distribution of buildings of local significance in the stipulated towns
Kuala Kubu Bharu 146
Sungai Lembing 145
Kampung Kepayang 50
The observation survey result revealed that there were a relatively high number of buildings of local significance identified in the intended small towns as shown in Table 5.5. This is not surprising since small cities are mostly perceived to be the place where the original historical heritage is protected (Yuksel & Iclal, 2005). Besides, there was a significant difference in the number of historic buildings identified in the current research as compared to previous building inventory. As in the case of Kuala Kubu Bharu town, there are 95 buildings recognized in an inventory study undertaken in 1992 by the Heritage Trust of Malaysia in conjunction with the National Museum, and 102 buildings in survey conducted by the MDHS. The difference is probably due to the limitations imposed on both surveys in terms of age and coverage area respectively.
In order to ensure consistency and clarity of data collected, a standardized survey form was used. In the following section, the results of the recorded information which includes year of built, occupancy status, use, ownership, condition, architectural styles, cultural values, and character-defining elements are presented and discussed in the percentage form.
Findings from the observation survey indicate that the majority of the buildings in the three towns were constructed in the period before World War II. This represent by 93.8 percent of the buildings in KKB, 86.9 percent in Sungai Lembing and 98.0 percent in Kampung Kepayang as shown in Figure 5.17 below.
Figure 5.17: Periods of buildings
The earliest buildings identified in the KKB town consist of the two storey shophouses, the most widespread building type that dominate the historic core of small Malaysian towns (Jackson, 1973). Built in the 1930s, the shophouses was originally constructed to lure people to move in to the new township of KKB, thus played an important role in the early development of the town. Other buildings constructed in the early 1930s comprised the post office, former fire station, district and land office of Hulu Selangor, traffic police headquarter, hospital, and other housing quarters. The Al-Hidayah mosque and Kok Yong Kok temple which believed to be the two surviving buildings from the original Kuala Kubu town are also included in this category of pre-war buildings. The remaining 6.2 percent of post-war buildings consists of the Dataran KKB, Ar-Rahimah mosque, KKB Magistrate Court and the Hulu Selangor District Council building.
20 40 60 80 100
KKB SGL KGK
Pre - war Post - war
Viewing the Sungai Lembing town, it was during the town‟s heyday as the world‟s largest subterranean tin mine that most of the pre-war buildings were constructed. This includes the Sungai Lembing museum, general offices of the PCCL, Tapis resort, Lembing Chinese Primary School, British officers‟ bungalows, labour club building, shophouses and the former tin miners‟ houses known as rumah kongsi. On the other hand, buildings which fall under the post-war category encompassed the traditional Jamek Mosque of Sungai Lembing, post office, Asian bungalows and some of the British officers‟ bungalows.
Formerly positioned as a lively business centre in the sub-district of Sungai Raia, the vast majority of the pre-war buildings identified in Kampung Kepayang constitute the double storey shophouses along Jalan Gopeng-Ipoh. Other buildings which classified under the same category comprised the Toh Sedewa Raja Abdul Wahab bungalow, Ahmadiah mosque, post-office, Sri Siva Subramaniam temple, Kong Fook Ngam temple, Syed Kamarul Ariffin bungalow and the Smart Islamic Primary School (SRIP), most of which were located right along the main road of Jalan Gopeng.
Figure 5.18 presents the occupancy status of the buildings identified. It provides information on whether buildings are occupied or unoccupied during the time period of the observation. The majority of buildings in KKB and Sungai Lembing town were occupied with 89.7 percent and 82.1 percent respectively. In contrast, only 12.3 percent of the surveyed buildings in KKB were vacant and these consist of the single and semi-detached government quarters along Jalan Hospital and Jalan Syed Mashor. As for the Sungai Lembing town, 17.9 percent of the buildings particularly the shophouses, British officers‟ bungalows and the former tin miners‟ houses were no longer being used or simply abandoned. Indeed, from the survey conducted, it was found that most of the occupied shophouses were also being used only over the weekend. On the contrary, the largest percentage of the identified buildings in Kampung Kepayang was unoccupied or
vacant. One of the buildings that contributed to this percentage was the former post office, where its move to Simpang Pulai in the 1950s marked an end of the town. Other buildings were the shophouses and Toh Sedewa Raja Abdul Wahab bungalow.
Figure 5.18: Occupancy status of buildings
Table 5.6 shows that majority of the buildings used varies from town to town. In particular, most of the buildings in KKB town were mixed-used and this represents by 49.3 percent of the double-storey shophouses located at the main commercial centre of the town. As illustrated in Table 2.1 of Chapter Two, the combination of both trading and residential use constitutes a typical feature of shophouses in Malaysian towns and cities. What it leads to is a more vibrant and alive atmosphere of the town as well as a safer environment due to the presence of people throughout the day and night, as stated by Shuhana (2011).
Secondly, the residential is identified as the most frequent use of buildings in Sungai Lembing town. The 40.7 percent of these buildings was mostly represented by the bungalows built for the mine officers as well as the quarters of former miners. Shuhana (2011) noted that the character of a town is very much influenced by the function of the
0 20 40 60 80 100
KKB SGL KGK
town and the geographical setting. Considering the former, this result in some cases reconfirms the function of Sungai Lembing as mining town. Finally, it was observed that almost 70 percent of the buildings in Kampung Kepayang, particularly the pre-war shophouses located along the busy Federal route between Simpang Pulai and Gopeng, have no current occupants or simply defined as empty buildings. This essentially indicated by the „other‟ category as shown in Table 5.6 below. Even though they have been left vacant, these buildings constitute one of the unique evidences of the town‟s existence.
Table 5.6: Use of buildings Use of properties KKB
(N = 146)
SGL (N = 145)
KGK (N = 50)
Residential 11.6 40.7 12
Commercial 16.4 9.7 10
Mixed use 49.3 19.3 2
Educational 1.4 1.4 2
Institutional 5.5 6.2 0
Industrial 0 0 0
Agricultural 0 0 0
Religious 2.7 0.7 6
Recreational 0 0 0
Cultural/ social 0.7 4.1 0
Transportation 0 0 0
Others 12.3 17.9 68
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0
With respect to the ownership, Figure 5.19 illustrates that most of the buildings identified in all the three towns are privately owned. This represent by 71.2 percent of the buildings in KKB, followed by 94.5 and 98.0 percent in Sungai Lembing and Kampung Kepayang respectively. Nevertheless, the findings of the literature review do
revealed that one of the challenges in protecting the old buildings includes the fact that they are privately owned properties. A relatively large number of abandoned and vacant buildings in the stipulated towns especially in Kampung Kepayang (refer Figure 5.18) intrinsically proves the fact.
Figure 5.19: Type of ownership of buildings
Building condition is another important aspect that needs to be considered in developing and managing building inventory. Viewing the KKB town, the highest percentage of 75.3 percent or 110 buildings were in fair condition as shown in Figure 5.20. Similarly, majority of the buildings in Sungai Lembing town are considered to be in fair condition where minor work is required. In contrast with Kampung Kepayang, most of the buildings with 74.0 percent were rated as poor. As suggested by Pearson & Sullivan (1995), this percentage already excludes the number of place that are embedded in severe condition, where conservation is impossible. This result supported the literature that the built heritage is increasingly threatened nowadays by obsolescence as well as re-development.
0 20 40 60 80 100
KKB SGL KGK
Figure 5.20: Condition of buildings
Table 5.7 presents a range of architectural styles reflects by the buildings identified in each of the studied towns. The findings demonstrate that the large number of buildings in KKB town was erected in a simple Neo-Classical style that is with 74.0 percent or 108 of the buildings. Since architectural style is closely associated with a particular time in history, assessment of the buildings‟ styles is considerably aided by knowing the completion date of the building. In the case of KKB town, buildings with Neo-Classical style (a decorative style of design widely used in the late 19th and early 20th centuries) were built in 1930s. This predominantly represented by the double-storey shophouses located within the commercial centre of the town.
Its unique architectural style featuring tall columns that rise the full height of the building, symmetrical façade, light colour and a sparing used of ornament on exterior wall enabled the buildings to be easily distinguished from the new shophouses even though they were standing right next to each other. While used to protect pedestrians from sun and rain, the sheltered passageway, commonly known as the five-foot-way or
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KKB SGL KGK
Good Fair Poor
in the Malay language called kaki lima, also gives the buildings their unique character and therefore assisting in creating a clear sense of place. Collectively, they form a strong and cohesive streetscape. A number of empty lots with undergrowth which have been vacant for some time is however spoiled the overall view of the shophouses area and perhaps, making it a perfect hideout for criminals.
Table 5.7: Architectural styles of buildings Architectural styles KKB
(N = 146)
SGL (N = 145)
KGK (N = 50)
Art Deco 0.7 0 0
Chinese Baroque 0.7 0 0
Chitya Indian Vernacular 0 0 0
Colonial 10.3 6.2 2.0
Euro-Islamic 0 0 0
Malay Vernacular 8.9 17.9 6.0
Modern 4.8 5.5 4.0
Moorish 0 0 0
Neo-Classical 74.0 0 0
Sino-Malay Palladian 0 0 0
Straits Eclectic 0.7 0 4.0
Tudor 0 0 0
Others 0 70.3 84.0
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0
Located within this shophouses core are the former fire station and the Coates Theatre at Jalan Dato‟ Tabal and Jalan Dato‟ Kamaruddin respectively. Similarly to the shophouses, the fire station with triangular pediments on the upper part of the building reflects the neo-classical architecture. On the other hand, the Coates Theatre is a fine example of the art deco style, featuring ziggurat (stepped) rooflines, symmetrical façade and a distinctive smooth exterior surface. Apart from its unique art deco architecture,
the eye-catching colours of the building also contribute to the aesthetic appeal of the theatre.
It was found that majority of the buildings in both Kampung Kepayang and Sungai Lembing town were classified in others category with 84.0 and 70.3 percent respectively. These mainly comprised the shophouses of Utilitarian styles built during the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century. In Sungai Lembing, these two to three storey shophouses can be found along North and South Canton Street as well as North and South Main Street. Apart from the overall designs of the facades, the original shophouses can be also easily distinguished from the newer ones by means of materials used for the buildings. The former is notably constructed using the nonrenewable resource of timber while the latter made used of concrete which is standard in modern construction.
Built in areas lower than the British officers‟ bungalows, the former tin miners‟ houses of a Malay Vernacular style (17.9 percent) were built on raised footing purposely for under-floor natural ventilation and most importantly, for flood protection. Although this characteristic is common in all Malay houses throughout the Peninsular, there is one thing that makes the Malay houses in Sungai Lembing unique that is the used of asbestos board as the wall of the houses. Despite all its negative qualities, asbestos is also useful in the field of construction as it tend to be fire proof, insulating against electricity, and reinforcing properties. Perhaps, this is the reason why most of these houses remain standing in a considerably good state.
As for the Kampung Kepayang, a number of crumbling shophouses which flanking a busy main road between Ipoh and Gopeng has become a constant source of worry not only to its residents but also to other road users who passing through the area. Although deemed as structurally deficient, these double storey shophouses had their charms in old