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Ampang Park Shopping Centre | Joanne Bernice Chua Yunn Tze 0315905 | Loo Mei Chuen 0317379 | Teh Gie Eng 0316179 | Yeow Yi Chuan 0317576 | Lim Jian Jun 0316867|


Figure 1.1 Bird eye view of Ampang Park Shopping Centre (Source: Robert J. Steiner, 2006)


INTRODUCTION 1.1 FAST FACTS 1. Malaysia’s first and oldest shopping centres in Malaysia in 1973. 2. Designed by ABC Akitek's (currently known as DP Architect) Chan Sui Him and William S W Lim 3. Became a landmark to indicate the first move from main street shopping to a self-contained air-conditioned shopping mall.

Figure 1.2 Right side view of Ampang Park Shopping Centre (Source: Wang Segget, 2011)

4 The first complex with cinema, hosting car shows and fashion shows in that period. 5. Once a symbol of beginnings, of progress and prosperity of the growth of Malaysia’s architecture, economic and technology.

Figure 1.3 Location map of Ampang Park Shopping Centre (Source: Google Map, 2014)


1.2 HISTORY Ampang Park Shopping Centre (APSC) is recognised as one of Malaysia’s first and oldest shopping centres located near Suria KLCC, in Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. Designed by ABC Akitek's (currently known as DP Architect) Chan Sui Him and William S W Lim, it was developed by Low Keng Huat Brothers Realty Sdn Bhd with an area of 425,000 sq ft, using RM 10 million. APSC was the idea of the Low brothers following their successful project, the People's Park in 1968 which was the first shopping complex in Singapore.

Figure 1.4 Floor plans of Ampang Park Shopping Centre (Source: Ampang Park website, 2010)

architecture, economic and technology. Today,Ampang Park Shopping Centre is known for their extensive range in Malay fashion. Besides fashion, it also offers many other services and dining choices. APSC is conveniently located at the intersection of Jalan Ampang and Jalan Tun Razak, and are well serviced by the public transportation such as buses, taxis and Light Rail Transit (LRT) and within walking distance to the Petronas Twin Towers, Malaysia’s iconic building.

Officially opened in March 1973, APSC became a landmark to indicate the first move from main street shopping to a self-contained air-conditioned shopping mall. It was the first complex with cinema, hosting car shows and fashion shows in that periods.It was once a symbol of beginnings, of progress and prosperity of the growth of Malaysia’s

ARCHITECTURAL STYLE 2.1 ARCHITECTURAL STYLE ANALYSIS Ampang park Shopping Centre is the first modernized shopping mall with air-conditioning that was much influenced by Le Corbusier’s five points of new architecture. From the exterior of the building to its floor plans , the Le Corbusier style was clearly portrayed through its spatial organization, form and shape. In addition, the architect wisely adopted the development of Le Corbusier’s idea of “street in the air” which offers expedient places for people in the building to interact with each other .

Figure 2.1 .1 Idea of “street in the air” (Source: Google Image, 2014 )

Figure 2.1.2 Idea of “street in the air” in APSC (Source: Yeow Yi Chuan, 2014)




The middle walkway of the building was actually inspired by the combination of two concepts, the atrium from the western style and street market from the local style. The atrium was one of the special features derived from the ancient Roman dwellings, which was designed to give the building a feeling of space and light.The concept not only allowed natural sunlight penetration but also provides a better air ventilation inside the building, making the shopping centre more environment friendly. The shop lots were arranged in a way that look like a local street, which eventually gives visitors a more comfortable shopping experience as people from that era were used to do all the shopping along the street.

The composition of vertical and horizontal elements gives the building a streamline , modernize feeling. The boxy blank walls protruding out at selected portions and concourses are set in complementing the boxy wall panels and left open to allow natural ventilation for passers by along Jalan Ampang to view the “busy-ness� of the shopping complex.

Figure 2.2.1 Centralised shops in APSC (Source: Yeow Yi Chuan, 2014)

Figure 2.2.2 First floor of APSC (Source: Wang Segget, 2011)

Figure 2.2.3 Concourse of APSC (Source: Wang Segget, 2011)


2.5 LE CORBUSIER 2.4 ART DECO Ampang Park Shopping Centre has featured elements from the Art Deco period. One of the features of Art Deco was found from its external wall, which is the Shanghai plaster. Shanghai plaster is an interesting, cheaper alternative to stone that has a special kind of rendering effect that gives the building a raw and natural feel. The vertical fins or chamfered windows on the external wall serve not only for climatic solutions but also play an important role in decorating the building. There is also quite a number of decorative expression with different geometrical shapes that can be seen around the building, such as the columns, wall ornamentation and openings.

Figure 2.3 Left facade of APSC (Source: Yeow Yi Chuan, 2014)

Pilotis. The load of the structure is supported by the grid reinforced concrete columns to replace the supporting wall. The lifted structure looks more welcoming , as no supporting walls enclose the building. This principle works perfectly fine on the shopping mall as it’s a commercial center that should be gathering the people.

Figure 2.4 .2 Columns used in APSC (Source: Yeow Yi Chuan, 2014)

Figure 2.3 Comparison of APSC and Villa Savoye (Source: Wang Segget, 2011; Jeffrey Howe, n,d)


material 3.1 Characteristics of Building analysis & Construction Construction T Fig 3.1 Ampang Park Shopping Centre in the1970s. Source: Guide to Kuala Lumpur Notable Buildings, 1976.

he Ampang Park Shopping Centre has a heavy massing in the form of an inverted ziggurat, elevated on a rows of load bearing columns rising from the ground floor, a signature of the Art Deco period in the 1930s. The construction of this building very much follows methods applied in the West such as the extensive use of bricks to form the walls of the building, which is also seen in the Chrysler Building in New York City. The Chrysler Building, the tallest Art Deco Building to be constructed at that period, was constructed with 3,826,000 bricks that were manually laid, to form the non-loadbearing walls of the skyscraper. The construction of this building also features the 5 architectural concept of Le Corbusier, despite the later’s rejection of the Art Deco movement. His concept of Pilotis is applied throughout this building as well as a free plan.


3.2 Walls


ue to its step leveling facade on both interior and exteriors, materials such as reinforced bricks, reinforced concrete and concrete columns are used in this building to allow layers of mass construction to be built from the ground. Reinforced concrete, a material which became widely used since being introduced to Malaysia in the 1930s, was used to form the walls of the building, as the rebars inside the concrete wall have high compressive strength. Shanghai plaster was used on the exterior to mimic the matt sutfaces of exotic masonry as found in the west. Shanghai plaster, a good, cheap, external grade material which could be applied easily, by skilled craftsmen to achieve the matt appearance of stone, is used as the finishing for the columns.

being given a paint finishing. The usage of clay bricks is evident in the rooftop’s walls. However comparing to the progress in the West, Western countries have already started to adopt precast concrete as well as insitu concrete which have higher compressive strength.

Clay bricks were also used as one of the components to construct the walls for the shopping centre. Laid in Flemish bonds, the brick walls were then cladded with concrete before

Fig 3.2.3 Flemish Bonds sketch Source: Google Images.

Fig 3.2.1Exterior walls. Photograph by Ivanka Teh.

Fig 3.2.2Clay Bricks in Flemish Bonds. Photography by Ivanka Teh


3.3 Staircase


nother feature to mention is the staircase design of the building. The design of the staircases connecting to each level is designed specifically according to the design language of the building leveling.The bridging of the staircase from level to level creates an architectural visual of ziggurat steps in its construction. As the building is split into two, with a high volume walkway in the middle of the building, the staircase promotes circulation around the building with access to different levels.

mass production of construction materials such as metal and concrete during the 1930s, when innovation is heavily driven by mechanical industries. By the 1970s, elevator shafts have already made their way into the construction industry in the west and are implemented widely. A lift was only added for Ampang Park Shopping Centre much later on.

The staircase is constructed using reinforced concrete slabs. To form a flight of stairs, about 12 slabs that forms the steps, are cemented onto one long concrete slab running across the 10 slabs. The slabs are then supported by a metal structure that forms the skeletal frame of the staircase. This construction method is possible due to the advent of Fig 3.3.3 Floorplan Circulation Diagram by Loo Mei Chuen.

Fig 3.3.1Staircase for Circulation Photograph by Ivanka Teh.

Fig 3.3.2 Construction details of staircase Photograph by Ivanka Teh.


3.4 Ceiling and Roof


t the ceiling of the top level is constructed with waffle slab ceiling, with the use of prefabricated hollow sheet-metal domes to create a grid pattern of voids in a solid floor slab, saving material without reducing the slab’s strength, at the same time relieving the structural stress load onto the building. The roof of APSC is made of structural joist sheated by aluminium foil in the interior. The aluminum foil is

light and it is able to block 95 percent of the heat radiated. This reduces the load bearing of the roof on the columns and is able to maintain the cool temperature in the building.

Fig 3.4.2 Aluminium Foil roofing Photograph by Ivanka Teh.


Fig 3.5.2 Elongated ribbon windows at rear elevation Photograph by Ivanka Teh.

3.5 Windows


teel and glass are another prominent materials used in the art deco architecture. Constructed with thin framing, the glass panels on the faรงade are secured on the openings created on the walls and aligned in linear with fins in between of them. The fins of the window are used to limit light penetration from direct sunlight and restrict visibility as well.

Fig 3.5.2 Glass Panels used for showcase in shoplots.t Photograph by Ivanka Teh.


Elongated ribbon window at the back of the faรงade is as well constructed with glazing window glasses to reflect heat from entering the building.

Moving to the interior of the buildings, glass panels with aluminum steels are extensively used to showcase and the display the products of the shops.

component analysis 4.1 streamline moderne


4.2 decorative expression


he Ampang Park Shopping Centre manifests an essence of Streamline Moderne architecture. From the exterior, there is a strong emphasis on the vertical and horizontal elements. It is shown through the horizontality of the faรงade and the verticality of the columns beneath.The color palette used in the building were of subdue shades; base colors were typically light earth tones or off-whites, such as beige and light yellow, while the trim colors were dark colors such as dark orange and green to contrast from the light base. In addition, walls had smooth surface finish made of stucco to enhance its sleek linear appearance.

Figure 4.1.1 External faรงade

Figure 4.1.2 Sketch illustrating the horizontality

(Source: PAM, Dec 1987)

and verticality of the facade

Due to influence from the Art Deco style, fundamental geometrical shapes such as circles, squares and rectangles were used as minor ornamentation for the building to achieve a monolithic appearance with applied decorative motifs.

Figure 4.2.1 , 4.2.2 Geometrical shaped elements inside building (Source: Teh Gie Eng & Loo Mei Chuen, 2014)


4.3 windows and openings

4.4 Horizontal banding

The building comprised of a few types of windows, one of it being the punctured openings, either square or small circles, to preserve its streamline appearance. Ribbon windows wraps around the corner of the building to provide further linear exaggeration and predate the glass wall found in future modern architecture. Vertical fins or chamfered windows were used for climatic solutions, in relation to the use of energy conservation devices.

Wide eaves which keep out the sun and rain were adapted as horizontal banding devices that merge into the heavy horizontal articulation in the building. The banding devices were also used to form vents above glazed window openings, hence the fine line between decorative form and practical function..

Figure 4.3.3 Ribbon windows in the front facade of the building (Source: Loo Mei Chuen, 2014)

Figure 4.3.1 , 4.3.2 Round openings and chamfered windows

Figure 4.4.1 Horizontal banding cornering the building

around the building (Source: Teh Gie Eng, 2014)

(Source: Loo Mei Chuen, 2014)


4.5 threes The influence was clearly seen in the building, as everything seems to come in threes; the staircase railing being the most obvious.

Figure 4.5.3 Railings of staircase (Source: Loo Mei Chuen, 2014) Figure 4.5.1 Decorative element within building (Source: Teh Gie Eng, 2014)

4.6 LOGO The use of logo on the building is a significance of art deco.

Figure 4.5.2 Sketch illustrating elements coming in threes

Figure 4.6.4 Logo of APSC (Source:Yeow Yi Chuan, 2014)


4.8 FLAT ROOF 4.7 TOWER-LIKE STAIRCASE The staircases in the building were of tower-like construction and were used to accentuate the corners of the building.

The building had a flat surfaced roof as to not disturb the horizontality of overall building besides giving a distinct modern look while the exterior walls were extended beyond the roof line to form a parapet that wraps around the building.

Figure 4.7.1 Sketch illustrating placement of main staircases

Figure 4.7.1 APSC (Source: PAM, 1987)

Figure 4.7.2 Tower-like staircase at corners of the building (Source:Yeow Yi Chuan, 2014)

Figure 4.8.1 , 4.8.2 Flat roofline of the building (Source: PAM, Dec 1987; Loo mei Chuen, 2014)


t is conclusive that the spatial arrangement, form and shape of Ampang Park Shopping Centre was able to portray Corbusier’s points of architecture and it was clear that Art Deco elements and features were incorporated into the building. The use of grid reinforced concrete columns which acts as support structures allowed a free facade, giving way to the emphasis on the horizontalily and verticality of the building. Since the building was free from load bearing walls, the plan could be designed in a way that expresses the idea of “street in the air”, offering a similar shopping along the street experience just as how people used to do during that era. With the use of subdued colors, it creates an essence of Streamline Moderne feel within the building. Emerged as one of the most successful shopping centre in Kuala Lumpur, the modern looking APSC is constructed with the advanced construction methods with reinforcement technology and materials for a 5 storey high shopping centre, highlighting the liner stretchedring circulation in the building.

Built with the influence of modernism and art deco movement, APSC is no doubt an spectacular design in the 1970s , very much influenced with the local context to accommodate the busy streets and also the weather condition in Malaysia.


Figure 5.1 Rear facade of APSC (Source: Ivanka Teh, 2014)

References - Kuala Lumpur Guide : Kuala Lumpur Images of Ampang Park. (n.d.). Kuala Lumpur Guide : Kuala Lumpur Images of Ampang Park. Retrieved June 22, 2014, from - Ampang Park 70s. (n.d.). : Ampang Park 70’s. Retrieved June 22, 2014, from - Ampang Park Website. (n.d.). . Retrieved June 22, 2014, from - MALAYSIA CENTRAL – Information Directory. (n.d.). MALAYSIA CENTRAL Information Directory. Retrieved June 22, 2014, from - Wikipedia, S. (2013). Materials . Malaysian architecture: art deco buildings in malaysia, buildings and structures in malaysia,. (). S.l.: University-Press Org. - Wikipedia, S. (2013). Construction Details. Malaysian architecture: art deco buildings in malaysia, buildings and structures in malaysia,. (). S.l.: University-Press Org. - Malaysia construction today (). (1985). Structural Elements. Kuala Lumpur: Master Builders’ Association. -Bulman, J. N., & Smith, H. R. (1972). Reinforced Concrete. A full-scale pavement-design experiment in Malaysia: construction and first four years’ performance (). Crowthorne, Berkshire: Transport and Road Research Laboratory -Wikipedia, S. (2013). Art deco skyscrapers: empire state building, chrysler building, rockefeller center, chicago.... S.l.: University-Press Org. -100 Years Kuala Lumpur Architecture. (1990). : PAM. -Post Merdeka. (1987). : Pertubuhan Arkitek Malaysia. -Fee, C.V. (1998). The Encyclopedia Of Malaysia . : Archipelago Press.

Final history report  

Culture & History II Project.

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