The University of Malaya and National University of Singapore recently held a joint architecture study of Ipoh for 20 students, 10 from each university, who stayed in Ipoh for two weeks. Named the ‘UM-NUS Joint Studio Programme 2012’, this programme has been ongoing for several years with an earlier programme covering Taiping in 2010.
According to Mr Roland Sharpe Flores, Visiting Senior Fellow, School of Design Environment, NUS Department of Architecture, the programme allows students to be exposed to the methodologies of historical documentation and analyses of places and buildings.
Additionally, it enables its students to engage with the town’s residents as part of its cultural study segment.
Flores explained that Ipoh was selected as “it had a significant stock of shop houses with its historic core fairly intact”, and its development was historically significant referring to the Great Fire that destroyed many parts of old town.
Unlike Old Town which was developed organically with some blocks having different sized shop lots, New Town that emerged after the fire, was a planned modern development that featured wider roads and alleyways to provide for fire breaks and services.
For the students, their two week stint here was an eye opener where they noted a variety of architectural styles. All of the students interviewed described their two week stint as “an enriching study experience”.
A point noted by all the participants was that preserving one’s heritage is always a good practice especially for the next generation. Flores gave advice saying that “whenever a new preservation was happening, to publicise it so that more restoration can occur”.
The students, who were also taken on a tour of Kuala Kangsar (KK) by Perak Heritage Society VP Law Siak Hong, also found KK very interesting saying “there is so much to see”.
Is there a ‘niche market’ for architectural tours here?