Cultural Centre in Merlimau, Malaysia

Ainna Sabri
National University of Malaysia(UKM), Faculty of Engineering & Built Environment, Department of Architecture, Bangi, Selangor

Project idea


Connection of Old and New Spaces Connecting Paths, Connecting Programs, Connecting People

Interconnect is a building consisting of Thai Kwong Theater, Abandoned Building and Merlimau Silat Center, This building is a project that responds to the urban context and History of Merlimau : Silat Warisan Bugis and Palembang and Kwong Thai Theater. The design is inspired by Vernacular Malay Architecture. a pedestrian connection that has a network of 12 pedestrians and plaza spaces.

1- Absence of cultural heritage sites for Merlimau residents who are multi-racial such as Malays, Palembang, Bugis, Indians and Chinese. .

2-Historical identity of Palembang and Bugis which is fading more and more in the era of modernization such as Heritage Architecture and Keris (a weapon of the Palembang people) and Bugis.

3-The town of Merlimau has many heritage buildings but these heritage buildings are unable to make the town of Merlimau a place of local unity.

Project description

This cultural integration center provides the city with a Heritage program suitable for Merlimau residents such as the Sendeng Silat Center, Hulu keris making activities, silat performances, cinemas, cultural performances, public squares, cafes and kiosks. And also held cultural and art exhibitions. the pedestrian gallery space is designed to provide a connection to the Thai Kwong Theater and the Silat Center. Cultivating the social relations of the public by providing a public park between the Theater and the Silat Center where culture and people can unite.

1.Design For Heritage

Incorporating Heritage Buildings

-The old shop building, Kwong Gallery Thai Theater and and Silat Center are connected by a pedestrian bridge.

-Residents can feel the atmosphere of being in heritage buildings and new buildings. .

2. Design For Integration

Incorporating Sustainable Strategies

-Sun and wind paths are taken into account in the building design.
-The public garden space 'plaza' captures the wind that moves through the site while drawing it into the building to create natural ventilation.
-Wind Lattice and Breathable Walls allow daylighting.
- The high building level of Pusat Silat allows 'outdoor' programs to take place under the building

- a program to make the head of a dagger
- martial arts show.
- cultural exhibition.

3. Design For Community
Extending the pedestrian web

-Replacing traffic lanes with pedestrian walkways by reducing urban carbon emissions and increasing walkability in the city center.
-Creating a new pedestrian web connecting spaces within heritage buildings by connecting continuous pedestrian paths between four plazas and 12 streets. The project site is located in the heart of the pedestrian web, just a six-minute walk from the main public transport hub.
- The split building footprint maintains continuous pedestrian traffic through the site, encouraging social and physical interaction among local residents.'

4. Design For Ecology

Landscape and River

-The Merlimau River became the main focus by being given a new breath and landscape.
-Pusat Silat designed near the Merlimau River.

-Landscape species of Rubber, Rain Tree provide shade for public parks and buildings from the hot weather in Malaysia. Small tree plants Oxalis, Kastuba, Flowering hibiscus attract species of butterflies. .'

Technical information

The construction is using Laminated Timber and Brick as a material. The design is on Stilt like a Malay Vernacular Housing Architecture. The construction also using Timber Bracing and using Joint and Mortise for the Structure of the centre. Below The area of the Centre people can do various of activities such as 'Hulu Keris' Making (the head of dagger of Weapon) , Outdoor Exhibition and Silat tournament/show.

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