The Street Museum

In the early 1800s, there were only a few main streets that existed in Kuala Lumpur. One of them was Tun HS Lee Street, previously named as High Street and Jalan Bandar. History was embedded and narrated in the street as the city evolved. However, the street had been forgotten and developed into a tourist spot, which led to the loss of culture.

The culture and heritage of the current streets in Kuala Lumpur are either forgotten or demolished due to urbanisation. The street became a gathering place for the new foreign worker community. The shoplots along the street became their dwelling units. Some of the old shops had been turned into business premises for foreign workers to adapt to the changes.

The Street Museum was proposed to conserve and enhance the identity of the street culture. It will showcase the legacy of old Kuala Lumpur, which will help to engage and bring people back again to embrace and celebrate the forgotten street and long-lost memories.

The objective of the museum is to stimulate human curiosity, providing open and exposed spaces that serve as a visual backdrop as they embark on a journey to discover an embedded heritage. People can also walk through a series of interwoven spaces with blurred boundaries that manipulates light and shadow patterns, while connecting one place to another.

After analysing different types of streets in different layers of appropriation and their changes, the proposed design was inspired by the existing historical streets and explores their morphology through urban design analysis. The design theme is in-betweenness, which is an idea regarding the threshold and transitions of the spaces in a dynamic volume, a transitional interval in which new or different state of affairs are likely to begin or occur. The selected site consists of two lots that are required to be joined together to engage the existing High Street—Jalan Tun HS Lee—and translate the idea into a building typology.

In The Street Museum, the street is an in-between element that lies at the edge and in the urban context. Streets consist of contrasting elements—such as narrow and wide, high and low, bright and dark, vertical and horizontal.

The concept of the street is perceived and transformed into ideas, which facilitates the spatial design elements that express different junctions, spaces and materials.

The outcome is a structure that interweaves the different programme spaces to create a dynamic environment that promotes conducive and incidental interaction between history, people and the place they live in. The building consists of a street at the edge, a street in the building, a street in the air, a street to be privatised, a street that triggers memories, and a street that is temporary and permanent. The Street Museum illustrates the relation between the street and building, vertical and horizontal dimensions of the street and composition of the street typology. The design creates the atmosphere and ambience to animate history in a creative way.

The existing mural artwork will be preserved to allow natural light to penetrate through the gap, lighting up the wall and artwork. The bridge lies suspended in the air across the void, becoming a threshold space that engages different programme spaces. The escalators that transfer people across different levels function as a street that moves and connects people from one place to another. The walkway is placed at the edge of the building to serve as an element that softens the edges and interfaces between the inside and the outside, while the atrium serves as an interval space that engages the individual spaces at the centre.

The Street Museum will raise awareness of conservation through different interactive media, such as documentation, film screening, photography, workshop and talks. It will provide a place that allows visitors to walk into the past and secures memories, while protecting and preserving the street culture.

There will also be a gallery that will host an exhibition about street culture, which is divided into several segments:
• A temporal gallery that allows the older generation to share and showcase their antique collections. The   local community can share and discuss their common story, which creates a sense of belonging and reinforces the identity of the place.
• A permanent gallery that composes a sequence of journey that narrates the history of the street through different media, which provides an opportunity for visitors to experience the street life, such as taking a heritage walk, interacting with locals and celebrating the street culture.
• A workshop that demonstrates traditional work.
• A library that functions as a research and social gathering space for students and visitors.

Bricks and concrete are used as main materials in this simple and minimalistic design. The brick façade will be left unfinished to celebrate the idea of the street that changes throughout the years, but is long-lasting at the same time.

Student Name: Teow Ker Loo
School: Taylor’s University
Instructor: Ar Anand Krishnan
Programme: Master of Architecture
Project Name: The Street Museum
Location: Jalan Gereja, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Status: Proposal
Site Area: 0.4 acre
Gross Floor Area: 9,300 square metres
Building Height: Five storeys
Images/Photos: Teow Ker Loo وان ایکس بت بت فوروارد