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|August 7th, 2006, 11:51 AM||#1|
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Kuala Lumpur
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W HOTEL & RESIDENCES | Kuala Lumpur ( Bok House site, Jalan Ampang ) | 50F | 232m
Do we want to save this house?
DRIVE along Jalan Ampang in Kuala Lumpur and you’re bound to notice the magnificent house standing forlornly back from the bustling road. The Bok House is a grand testament to the city’s architectural and social history. This single building encapsulates the hopes and loss of our built heritage, standing as it does with its structure intact, yet facing impending demolition.
In June, a Development Order for its site was filed with the Kuala Lumpur City Hall. Badan Warisan (the Heritage of Malaysia Trust) noted that the proposed development would include the razing of Bok House and the building of a 60-storey building.
On June 12, Badan Warisan nominated the Bok House for classification as important to national heritage, as allowed under the National Heritage Act 2005. They see this nomination as a test of the new Act, which was passed in March.
The non-governmental organisation deems the house one of the best examples of classical European architecture adapted to Malaysia’s tropical climate while retaining the principles of its Palladian villa inspiration.
The Bok House in an old photo (left) provided by the Architects Institute of Malaysia and as it is now (right): sadly diminished.
While it remains a Western building, much of the Bok House draws its concepts from Malay building traditions. The large verandas and anjung, or porte-cochere, give it a feeling of being built on stilts. More importantly, it uses the concept of rumah ibu and rumah dapur (literally, mother house and kitchen house), where the front building was the formal entertainment area while the adjoining smaller building was the less formal family area.
The Bok House was built by self-made millionaire Chua Cheng Bok, founder of the Cycle & Carriage Company. He commissioned Singapore-based architectural firm Swan & Maclaren, one of the best in the region then, to build the house in 1926. And there is the oft-told tale of why Bok did this: to impress the father of a woman he wanted to marry!
The building housed the Yokohama Specie Bank during World War II and was later a boarding house. Its heyday was during the 1960s and early 1970s when it was the grandly named Le Coq D’Or Restaurant. Since the restaurant closed in 2001, Badan Warisan noted that the structure has deteriorated badly and has suffered a lot of vandalism.
Badan Warisan executive director Elizabeth Cardoza says, “The Bok House has so much cultural significance for our heritage. It has high architectural, social and symbolic values. It is one of the last remaining buildings of its kind in Malaysia and has been well documented through the years.
“The question is, does KL want it or not?”
The MALAYSIAN Forums
Last edited by TYW; April 8th, 2011 at 08:38 PM.