Diagramming Modernism

School of Architecture, Building and Design, Taylor’s University in collaboration with Malaysia Design Archive present

Diagramming Modernism: Alternative Perspective on Malaysian Modern Architecture

Date: Monday, 20 August 2018
Time: 8 to 10 pm
Venue: Malaysia Design Archive, 2nd floor, 84, Jalan Rotan, Kampung Attap, 50460 Kuala Lumpur, Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur

Panel of Speakers: Datin Dr. Nor Hayati Hussain (Architecture researcher and writer), Dr. Simon Soon (Visual Art Program, Cultural Centre, University of Malaya and Malaysia Design Archive)

Moderators: Nazmi Anuar, Siti Balkish Roslan

One of the most important transitions in Malaysian architecture history began in the late 1950’s. Malaysia was then a newly independent nation, looking to formulate an identity through various cultural endeavors including architecture. Because the symbolic significance of buildings are able to express and transcend the idea of nationhood, Malaysia sought to build an identity on that idea, thus Malaysian Modern Architecture was born. Studies of significant buildings of this period have focused on symbolic and socio-historical significance in relation to Nation-Building and the legacy of the architects who designed them. While socio-cultural and historical readings of the Malaysian Modern Architecture of the period are undeniably crucial, a complete understanding of their significance will benefit from appreciating their qualities from formal and spatial perspectives. There is an unexplored research area to analyze significant buildings of Malaysian Modern Architecture from the Post-Merdeka period, identify the formative ideas behind their architecture and understand their qualities from a formal and spatial lens.

This event will discuss the background of this research through looking at a student project involving a methodological analysis which was implemented in class as a pedagogical tool to produce a chronological diagrammatic interpretation of Malaysian Modernism. A critical analysis of these buildings is done by viewing the subject of study at a diagrammatical perspective to understand the ideas of modernism from various aspects such as contextual relationships, spatial relations, and formative ideas. This diagrammatic analysis of Malaysian Modern Architecture seeks to introduce visual, analytical and critical thinking to the students and promote a reading of Malaysian Modern Architecture of the Post-Merdeka period from a design perspective. The combination of the historical perspective from existing literature and the formal-spatial understanding generated through the analytical diagramming of the architectural works built during the Post-Merdeka period of Malaysian Modern Architecture will contribute towards a richer and multi-layered understanding among the students of these buildings not only as historical artifacts, but more importantly as a set of precedents for architectural design. The possible next stage of elaboration for the research is the development of a framework with which to critically analyze existing works of Malaysian architecture in order to identify their underlying formative ideas and eventually generate and compile a set of local precedents of Malaysian Modern Architecture.


8.00 to 8.15 – Short intro by Nazmi/Balkish
8.15 to 8.45 – Project sharing by Azeerah and Ng Zien Loon (Students)
8.45 to 9.30 – Panel discussion
9.30 to 10.00 – Q+A

Event Dates



Scroll To Top