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Published by Afterschool.my on Jun 05, 2013, 12:15 pm
Kuala Lumpur stands out as a global city where antiquity and the urban sprawl co-exist. Heritage sites complement the city’s modern skyline and this unique mix serves as a strong draw for discerning tourists. Although this winning formula is widely acknowledged, rampant construction has placed a question mark over some of these sites and the burning question is: Are we doing enough to preserve our heritage buildings?
UCSI University lecturer Teoh Chee Keong believes that architectural conservation is not solely about nurturing appreciation for heritage buildings.
“It’s also about sentimental value,” opines Teoh who teaches at the School of Architecture and Built Environment. “Each building represents more than just its market value. It’s about creating a collective memory in a community that recognises a common building, which existed in the time of our forefathers; one that provides a connection to each member of that community.”
Teoh’s infectious passion for architectural conservation has rubbed off on his students, who voluntarily join him on some of his projects.
UCSI University Architecture students in the midst of presenting their model of the Sungai Buloh Leprosy Centre to the residents and its caretakers.[/caption]
One key example is the ‘Knowing Our Neighbour’ initiative that was part of the Hulu Langat Art Festival. “Before proposing this project to my students, I visited the olden houses in the Hulu Langat area to see if the residents there were willing to host our students for three days.”
“Three households – one Chinese family and two Malay ones – agreed to my request and I proposed this idea to my students,” he explains, adding that several voluntarily spent part of their semester break on this project.
The project necessitated students to measure, sketch and photograph their respective ‘home’ as well as conduct investigation surveys before presenting their artwork in an exhibition to their host family at the end of three days.
“Such hands-on projects not only enable students to feel a sense of ownership in their learning but also opens their minds to a world of opportunities in terms of architecture-related careers,” enthuses Teoh, adding that students became more well-rounded and better adapted to handle stress and changes in life.
“As for the host families, they were definitely impressed with the exhibit and were able to better appreciate their own home.”
Another project that Teoh had taken under his wing was the Sungai Buloh Leprosy Control Centre. Known as the Valley of Hope, the Centre – one of the largest leper settlements in the world – which was set up in the early 1930s was about to be relocated due to redevelopment plans.
“Generally, leprosy sufferers are treated like exiles because of their disease, regardless of age, and were forced to live in isolation from the rest of society,” says Teoh, expressing his concern over the issue.
“After visiting the site, I did my best to create awareness – by organising public talks and publishing articles – that the Centre was indeed a heritage site. The effort paid off and many international scholars visited the site during the campaign.”
Teoh later roped in UCSI students for the project and adds: “Our students were required to investigate ‘problem areas’ in the settlement and to use their creativity to design concepts and models for the residents.
“If the Centre is preserved as a heritage site, it needs to be open to the public. And if there are tourists, the Centre would need a museum to educate visitors about its history and perhaps even a café.”
“I am certain that our hard work paid off as our presentation gave the residents a sense of pride and appreciation for their community and the place they call home.”
Teoh describes the project as a great experience for his students, as it allowed them to develop a better grasp of cultural preservation and to work closely with members of a community.
UCSI University Architecture students posing with their sketches and other artwork during the exhibit organised for their host families.
“Through such assignments, students become better architects because they are exposed to other elements like historical value, social implications and cultural significance, to name a few,” he adds.
“Only then will they be able to produce designs that will positively impact the community or even the world.” Commenting on his efforts, Teoh explains that social engagement is pivotal for the advancement of knowledge. He carries on by lamenting that most universities lack the holistic emphasis when in architecture.
“Many institutions equip their students with professional knowledge and skills,” he muses. “However, I believe that the love for humanity is just as important.”
“One may be an expert in his field – for example, an architectural conservation professional – but may not know how to mingle with others or to reach out to society. I believe that is vital for our students, who are budding architects; not only will this be beneficial for them in terms of their studies but also when they step into the working world.”
On the weekend of Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd October, 14 intrepid students of Kolej Yayasan UEM, as participants of the DofE Silver Award , in two groups of 7, set off on their first taste of adventure – the Silver Trial Expedition. This three-day, two-night expedition is a practice and training e..
Sunway College winners of the 2023 Outstanding Cambridge Learner Awards Ceremony with Ruth Cheah, Director of the Sunway College Cambridge A-Level Programme Young Malaysians have consistently demonstrated their remarkable ability to dominate global rankings, and the recently announced 2023 Outs..
Chong (third from left) receiving her certificate of achievement from Assoc Prof Dr Hazizi Abu Saad (second from left), Vice President of MASO.As an institution transitions into a university, the emphasis on research takes centre stage. This is why the achievement of TAR UMT’s PhD student in L..
After a First Runner-up finish in a tax competition she participated in last year, Tan Hui Theng from TAR UMT was motivated and even more determined to finish higher in the Ernst & Young Young Tax Professional of the Year (EY YTPY) 2023 Malaysia. This time, she succeeded in emerging as the winne..
Ms Josephine Ong (rightmost), representative from MDEC presenting the PDTI certificate to Asst Prof Dr Wong Thein Lai (leftmost), Deputy Dean of FOCS, Asst Prof Dr Lim Li Li (second from left), Dean of FOET and Ms Dearna Kee June Chen (second from right), Dean of FCCI.Recognising its excellence in d..
Mr Ling (left) receiving the President’s Award on behalf of his daughter from Prof Ir Dr Lee (right).TAR UMT’s September 2023 Convocation Ceremony on 9 - 10 September 2023 was conducted in its usual celebratory fashion, but this time it was capped with a special moment that exempli..
On 20th October 2023, KYUEM’s batch 26.0 hosted their Cultural Performance Night 2023 (CPN) presenting a night of fun that emphasised unity amongst diversity. The CPN celebrated the diverse and rich cultures in Malaysia. The night started sharp at 8 pm at the Great Hall. The festivities b..
The first thing you hear about the appeal of KYUEM is its university connections and ability to provide you with a bright future but the second is the range of events that the school holds. Amongst these are Housetrips, which are among the most anticipated events of the year. This Garnet Housetrip a..
On October 21, 2023, around 90 Sapphire members embarked on a trip to Eco Venture Resort & Retreat in Semenyih. Upon arrival, we received a warm welcome from the facilitators. Prior to our first team-building activity, we divided into 10 groups, each consisting of 9 members, and assigned a team ..
On the 7th of October, Kolej Yayasan UEM’s (KYUEM) Indian Cultural Club (ICC) held its Colour Run, a flagship event that takes inspiration from the traditional Holi festival. The event was joined by students of all races and ethnicities, in line with the nature of the Colour Run.The event star..
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