top of page


The multiple thread of a post colonial movement

This dissertation taps on the relatively lack of attention given to domestic architecture in the post war 1950s-1970s in understanding them as sites of 'experimentation' within the search for a Malayan Architecture. The domestic houses built within this time frame display a plurality of formal expression that varied in its adaptation of the modern features and design approaches.

As with other architectural movement, the search for Malayan was more of a heteronomous than autonomous process. The Malayan aspires to be both modern and culturally grounded. While it may seem like 2 diverging ideas, the Malayan with its short fragmented past involved a process of inventing the cultural references rather than a direct return to tradition. The intangible aspect of both the modern and culture identity within the Malayan ideals finds itself constantly being redefined over the decade by various forces of colonialism, nationalism, economic and social interwoven with the architect's ideas.

The nature of the Malayan in its self-conscious search and experimentation for cultural identity and modernity at the same time, suggest multiple strands of initiatives, reasoning, reaction in built form as well as in the form of discussion.

This dissertation this sets out to identify the motivations and conditions within the multiple stands that led to the emergence of the Malayan Architecture.

I argue that its emergence had only been possible with the urgency of an identity that was enforced by nationalistic ideas and the necessity of adapting to local climate that warrants a translation and interpretation of architecture. without which, local architecture would have continued imitating from the west as with colonial times. Similarly the loss of significance in exerting cultural identity along with the popularization of air condition as a solution to tropical climate towards the end saw the demise of Malayan Architecture.

bottom of page