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Analysis on the Conservation of the Architectural Identity of Shophouses in Jonker Street, Malacca Project 1 : Research in Asian Architecture


Since 1700, shophouses in Jonker Street contain a rich history of

Occupancy Figure 1.1 : The Royal Press (Malaysia Asia, 2010)

Cultural influences


Figure 1.2 : The Peranakan (Wikipedia, 2018)

Figure 1.3 : Shophouse facade (Pineda, 2017))

Figure 1.4: Photo montage of how shophouses in Jonker Street have developed (Chan, 2018)

Cultural heritage tourism + Development = Loss of actual architectural identity of shophouses


To evaluate the development of conservation of shophouses in Jonker Street, Malacca

To analyse changes on the architectural identity of shophouses

To identify effects from the changes implemented from conservation of the shophouses



Journals Historical timeline Literature reviews

Research papers

Jonker Street

Jonker Street also known as Jalan Hang Jebat, is one of the 4 streets located in the Chinatown area. This area is in the Historic Residential and Commercial Zone which is part of the core zone of Malacca.

Figure 1.5: Zoning of Malacca City (Chan, 2018)


Mainly used for commercial purposes while the shophouses on Heeren Street were mainly residential.

Mixed use of commercial with families or workers living above.

Jonker street used to house the servants of masters living in the nearby Heeren Street during the 18th century.

The country’s oldest heritage buildings dating back to the 17th century.

Architecturally influenced by the Portuguese, Dutch and Chinese.

Built in rows with shared party walls.

Figure 1.6: Shophouses along Jonker Street (traveling2thailand, 2012)

Development of shophouse style is influenced by changes to fulfil certain needs of each era.

Figure 1.7: Development of shophouse styles in Malacca (Shamzani, 2012)

The buildings will have one or more air wells to let light and air into the interior of the building.

LAYOUT The front portion of the lower ground shophouse consists of the shop area where families conduct their businesses.

Figure 1.8: Features of a traditional shophouse (remembersingapore, 2016)

The living quarters and bedrooms of the families are located on the first floor of the shophouse.

FIVE FOOT WALKWAYS Consists of arched openings and joins one house with the rest on the street front. Thus, creating a continuous walkway on the front facade of the shophouse block.

A covered walkway located on the ground floor outside the shophouse.

Shade the entry from the strong direct sun.

Traditionally, the room over the five-foot way would have one or more peepholes to allow residents to see who was at the door. Figure 1.9: Five foot walkway in Malacca (malaccatownhouse, n.d.)

2.0 UNESCO Regulations and Guidelines of Shophouses Conservation in Jonker Street

United Nations, Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations

2. How does the restoration regulations and guidelines form stakeholders (UNESCO, MPBM) affect the conservation of shophouses in Jonker Street?

Building Use Guidelines

Guidelines on Public Convergence Activity

Guidelines on The Protection of Shophouses Conducting Traditional and Threatened Activities

Signage Guidelines

Colour and Paint Used Guidelines


Residential Purpose

Religious Purpose

Figure 2.1.1 Residential Shophouses (Ho, 2018)

Figure 2.1.2 Cheng Hoon Teng (Ho, 2018)


Strong Historical Link

Building Architecture


Located at Town Centre

Historical Linkage

Building Architecture

Function as Node


The intended function of Shophouses in Jonker Street should be maintained

Upper level should be maintained as residential use.

Lower level consists of commercial use (art gallery, antique shop, boarding house, cafe, restaurant.)

Figure 2.2.1 Shophouse (Chiak.T, 2018)


Traditional Wholesale Activities

Pubs & Cafes

Controlled Measures


Controlled Measures


Figure 2.3.1 Malacca River (Ho, 2018)

Figure 2.3.2 Wholesale Mall (TripAdvisor, 2018)

Figure 2.3.3 Geographer Cafe (Jiu, Flickr)

Figure 2.3.4 Calanthe Art Cafe (Asia Web Direct, 2018)

Regulate Loading Activities Reuse Malacca RIver

Only existing wholesale activities are allowed.

Only allowed along roads with commercial orientation

Tourism & Economic Booster

Hangout Spots

Warehouses & Storages

Controlled Measures


Tenant Activities

Controlled Measures


Figure 2.3.6 Char Kuey Teow Vendor (Ho ,2018)

Figure 2.3.7 Variety of Street Vendors (WordPress ,2018)

Figure 2.3.5 Warehouse and Storage Area (ColdStorageService, 2018)

Prohibit storage of heavy items

Only existing warehouses and storages are allowed.

Prohibited on main access roads Best on roads with potential to be fully closed

Historical Linkage Image & Local Ambience Variety of Design


Shopping Complexes


Results in heavy traffic and detrimental effect to small scale traditional business sector.


Figure 2.4.1 Mahkota Parade (GoMalacca, 2018)

Figure 2.4.2 Malacca Mall (GoWhere Malaysia, 2018)

Warehouse and Industry


Results in pollution and risk towards safety of building.


Figure 2.4.3 Auto workshop (Autopro Car Service, 2018)

Figure 2.4.4 Motorcycle workshop (imotor, 2018)


Night Markets, Cultural Centres

Cultural Activities, Performances

Street Vendors, Buskers

Figure 2.5.1 Night Market (Chiak.T, 2018)

Figure 2.5.2 Performing Stage (Chiak.T, 2018)

Figure 2.5.3 Jonker Street Vendors (Chiak.T, 2018)

Suitable Activities


Retail activities related to local cultural arts and products.

Suitable ambience with the cultural concept and historical ambience.

Prohibition of sale of modern appliances.

Medium scale with not exceeding 10 stalls.

Display of workmanship related to local culture.

Space outside of traffic flow.

Emphasis on traditional and modern arts.

Car parking facilities located within walking distance.


Procedure to Survey on Commercial Activities

Assess the classifications of the traditional commercial activities.

Identify existing commercial traditional activities and threats they face.

Acknowledge activities categorised as traditional and threatened activities.

Promote the activities as tourism heritage products.

Record and expand skills related to arts and crafts.

Provide monetary incentives to encourage traditional activities.

2.7 SIGNAGE GUIDELINES (Centre, n.d)

Appropriateness of Advertisement and Building Signage Positioning On Frieze and Cornice Line of Buildings Signage and advertisements smaller than the size of the building frieze are allowed.

Using Banners Banners must not obstruct the view to the shop front particularly the corbels and vents

On Gable Side of Buildings â—?

Small sign boards are allowed.


The road name can be displayed at the top corner of the cornice line on the second floor of the building

Between Party Walls Allows the height of the advertisement board to not exceed the shaft and pilaster

Figure 2.7.1 Signages identified in Geographer Cafe (GeographerCafeInMalacca, 2018)



Building Facade ● ● ●

Colour usage should not be divergent to the site context. Paint is used to conserve building facades. The original colour can be identified through chipping the paint of the building.

Bright or contrasting colours in context are not encouraged. Figure 2.8.1 Geographer Cafe (GeographerCafeInMalacca, 2018)

Encouraged to use similar colour and paint as original building. Figure 2.8.2 Mei Jing Kopitiam 1999 (S, 2011)

3.0 Methods of conserving a shophouse in Jonker Street

Definition Conservation of shophouse is the action taken to prevent decay, and an act to prolong the life of shophouse.

Aim Architectural conservation deals with the issues of prolonging the life and integrity of the shophouse character and integrity.

Considerations before conserving a shophouse in Jonker Street Rules and Regulations


imposed by the local authority and the guidelines by UNESCO.

shophouses’ characteristics are the five-foot way , materials, scale and building height, facade, decorative elements.

(Source : Preservation and Recycling of Heritage Buildings in Malacca, Wan Hashimah Wan Ismail, 2013)

(Aditi Koshley, 2012)

Stage 1: Documentation i. Historical research

Ii. Measured drawing

Stage 2: Dilapidation Survey and Building Investigation gather and record information of the finished surfaces and exposed structure.

i. Site testing

ii. Laboratory test.

Prepare a proposal (renovation work can proceed only after a written approval)

Stage 3: Conservation Works

Top down process

i. Preservation:

Ii. Restoration :

iii) Adaptation :

(retains highest value or authenticity and historical fabric)

(emphasizes the retention and repair of historic materials, replace worn out materials to today’s new materials.)

giving a new purpose to the shophouse, turned into hotels, cafes, shops

(source: Preservation and Recycling of Heritage Buildings in Malacca, Wan Hashimah Wan Ismail, 2013)

Example of Adaptive Reuse:

Geographer CafĂŠ // Mei Jing Kopitiam August 1999 KHP Architect

Retained : i) originality of the building ii) enhance the characteristic of the building

(source:, n.e.)

(source : Geographer Cafe, n.e.)

(source : Geographer Cafe, n.e.)


Architectural elements : Columns , Windows , Facade, 5 foot way

Amended/ Renovated

Function, Colours

4.0 The changes of the architectural values of the shophouses due to adaptive reuse in Jonker Street

Adaptive Reuse Guidelines

Ensure the adaptive reuse action is taken based on the conservation principle, a specific building which will be used for adaptive use purposes must:

1. Ensure the proposed use is suitable with the image and identity of the area and without any disputes

2. Protection of Shophouse Activity Conducting Traditional and Threatened Trade to ensure such activities are not taken over by the new building use.

3. Reuse of Natural Pattern and Original Design to ensure the adaptive reuse of any heritage premises will enhance the unique architecture of the building.

Giving a new purpose to an old building - Most of these “homes� has since been rented out to tenants who runs various businesses. (Ground Floor) - Renovated into multiple chambers that houses several tenants at once. (First Floor)

(Source: Malacca World Heritage, 2017)

(Source: Malacca World Heritage, 2017)

- In a way to diversify their scope of business activities (cafes, bars or restaurants on the ground floor) - While the first floor would constantly be rented out solely for the purpose of turning the space into temporary art galleries, exhibition spaces, etc.

(Source: Gan, 2015)

Facade - Fully-fledged coverage of front facades with a modern twist in overall appearance. (Source: Malacca World Heritage, 2017)

- Roofs were torn down to make way for bulky and heavy signages irrespective of its sizes. - Air-conditioning condensers were installed right on the facade, hence leading them to seal off the windows of the facade wall. (Source:, n.d) (Source:, 2016)

Airwells - Airwells were mainly covered with roofs after undergoing major renovation - Giving a new lease of function to that particular area (dining area, etc.) (Source: Malacca World Heritage, 2017)

- Neglecting the crucial aspect or main purpose of the airwell which was originally intended for ventilation

(Source: Traveloka, 2017)

Implications of Adaptive Reuse Positive


- Can restore an old building to continue appreciating the site’s historical significance and maintains links to the past.

- Absence of integration of design (old and new building) cripples the identity of the historical area.

- Significantly reduces energy consumption that usually comes with demolishing a structure and building a new one to replace it.

- Negligence of owners in regards to the stipulated building guidelines leads to ‘overdevelopment’ of the shophouse (causing much damage and little preservation)

(Source: Lim, 2000)

(Source: Malacca World Heritage, 2017)

(Source: Trip Advisor, 2017)

(Source:, 2018)

5.0 Challenges of conserving shophouses in Jonker Street



Building Owners


Conservation plans are not properly established (S.N. Harun, 2011)

- Requires a proper planning - Stage by stage approach based on the conservation process - Decisions are made without the dilapidation result and are based on assumptions.

Figure 5.1 The differences of height of the shophouse facade due to an unplanned conservation (Shamzani, 2012

- Rushing on repairing will cause future damage to the building’s fabric - need approval before starting the project

Figure 5.2 shows an example of dilapidated shophouse facade in Jonker Street (Google Map, 2018)

2. Lack of expertise in construction techniques and skilled workers (Zahari Zubir et al. ,2018) -Dependent on the knowledge and skills of senior craftsmen - Both repair and maintenance stages requires the understanding of building defect investigation - Analysis on constructional detailing lead to endless search, cost and time consuming

Figure 5.3 shows the details of timber joining used in a shophouse in Jonker Street

50% Planned Maintenance Programme

50% Unplanned Maintenance Programme

3. Lack of knowledge on future repairs and maintenance work (Zahari Zubir et al. ,2018) - Required from time to time to avoid further deterioration

Figure 5.4 shows respondents who adopted proper maintenance procedures to their historic buildings and those who do not. (Rashid, 2011)

-May not have the knowledge or awareness of adopting suitable methods in carrying out the maintenance and repair work.

Figure 5.5 shows reasons on intricacy with maintaining historic buildings. (Rashid, 2011)

4. Difficulty in sourcing original materials

(S.N. Harun,


- Must obtain the same material to match with the original material - Compatible with original material - Must been tested on similar strength, texture, scale and form.

Figure 5.5 Roof tiles on a restored shophouse in Jonker Street (Lamont, 2015)

5. Lack of architectural aesthetics reference (Zahari Zubir et al. ,2018)

-Based on old photographs and knowledge of artisan craftsmen - Difficult to obtain due to lack of records and time consuming

Figure 5.6 Old photographs of Jonker Street shophouse (ICOMOS, 2008)

6. Complying with owners’ needs (Zahari Zubir et al. , 2018) - Requires serious commitment from the business owners for it to be successful


in conversion of the shophouses for financial gain as well as maintaining the authentic heritage experience of Jonker Street

Figure 5.7 shows neon signages on the facade of the shophouse to attract customers for financial gain (Jass, 2010)


As we enter a new era, a new breed of shophouses has existed to fulfil the needs of this modern era. However, this results in loss of the original identity of the old shophouses. We should preserve the original image of these shophouses because these buildings are living evidence of the past.


Retain the intended usage and essence

Thank You

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Centre, U. W. (n.d.). Conservation Management Plan for the Historic City of Malacca. Retrieved from Ismail, W. (2013). Preservation and Recycling of Heritage Buildings in Malacca. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 85, pp.574-581. Malacca Shophouses. (n.d.). Retrieved October 27, 2018, from Mohd Baroldin, N. and Mohd Din, S. (2018). Conservation Planning Guidelines and Design of Malacca Heritage Shophouses. Asian Journal of Environment-Behaviour Studies, 3(8), p.61. S.N.Harun, (2011). Heritage Building Conservation in Malaysia: Experience and Challenges. [PDF file]. Retrieved at 23 Oct 2018 from Weebers, R. C. (n.d.). Analysis of Facade Typology of "Dutch" Shophouses in Malacca. Retrieved October 27, 2018, from Zahari Zubir et al., (2018). Rejuvenating The Shophouse. [PDF file]. Retrieved at 25 Oct 2018 from

Asian Architecture Seminar Presentation  

Asian Architecture Taylor's University Lakeside Campus

Asian Architecture Seminar Presentation  

Asian Architecture Taylor's University Lakeside Campus