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With the history of over 600 years, Klang is one of the oldest cities in Malaysia. According to the history, instruments used during the Bronze Age called Tulang Mawas were found in Klang which prove Klang was o ccupied over 2000 years (Port Klang Integrated Costal Management Project, 2013). The first written account of Klang exists since the reign of Majapahit about 600 years ago. It came way earlier than the Malaccas History. The importance of Klang elevated in 19th century due to the rapid expansion of tin mining activities in Klang Valley as a result of the increased demand for tin from the West. After 1874, the British opted for Klang over Jugra as the center of their administration, and this remained until 1880 when they moved it to the mining center of Kuala Lumpur. (Klang Municipal Council, 2013).



Frank Swettenham, the British Resident was responsible in the earliest urban development of Selangor, Malacca, Penang as well as Kuala Lumpur. He introduced building regulations as such that original extract shelter settlements to be rebuilt from bricks with tiled roofs and buildings were to be built five-foot away from the road allowing for passageway. This was copied from the Town Plan of Singapore initiated by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1822. The shophouse is an urban terrace house characteristic of Asian towns from the 18th 20th century, normally low rise building which range from 2 to 3 stories high. The main function of the shophouse is commonly incorporates a shop or business premise on the ground floor while the family resides on the top floor, providing both convenience and security. (Cultural Heritage Action Team, 2010). Shophouses are built in rows and the faade must be facing the street. They are usually designed to be narrow and long, standing next to each other with no gap in between in order to fit in more shophouses in a single row. The materials used for the construction of shophouses are those local materials that can be found easily like timber and clay stone.



For two centuries, beginning from the 16th, Klang was one of the most important port and mining areas in the peninsula. This had cause the migration of labours from China to the Klang for tin mining. They settled down here and started to do their own small businesses here. This marked the starting point of the construction of shophouses in Klang. These lots, which were constructed between 1930 and 1940, made the area one of the busiest spots in southern Klang then. !" "

Now, there are only 29 shophouses left along Jalan Stesen 1. These old heritage shop lots painted in colourful colours are conserved as historical buildings and were included as part of the Heritage Walk (figure 1.1) by the Klang Municipal Council. Subsequent decline of the towns economy resulted in the existence of only a handful of shops remaining that are now functioning as commercial offices.

FIGURE 1.1: The Heritage Walk

SOURCE: http://thatsofarah.com/klang-heritage-walk-a-discovery/

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In the 19th century, Klang was developed into a large tin mine and Chinese workers were sent there to work. Around 1930, the shop lots along Jalan Stesen and nearby were built and the people in Klang started doing businesses. There were huge improvements in the economy and that made the area one of the busiest spots in Klang.



Klang is one of the oldest towns in Malaysia. Since 600 years ago people have been living in this town under the rule of the Majapahit Empire, and then under the Melayu Melaka. In the 18 th century, Klang was included in the Selangor state. Then in year 1875, Klang rose as one of the most important towns in Malaya as it was chosen as the capital city of Selangor. (Portal Rasmi Majlis Pembandaran Klang, 2013) Around 1898, a new palace was built as the Sultan of Selangor decided to move and reside in Klang. Since then the city also has been developing in various other aspects such as social, physical and cultural aspects. (Majid, 2003)



In the 19th century, Klang was just a small town with only some shops and houses owned by the Malays and Chinese. Those shops and houses were typically made out of wood roofed with nipa palm. Moving towards the 20 th century, Klang also developed as a town especially when the railway to Kuala Lumpur was built. Stone buildings were also built instead of wooden ones. Public and Infrastructure buildings such as government offices, schools, hospital, police station, mosque that were built during that period were the best evidence of the development of the town. (Majid, 2003)



According to the watch shop owner we interviewed, the earlier businesses that were started in Klang were bookstore, printing, pawn shop businesses and so on. Some of them are still running today, with their children and grandchildren managing the businesses; while some of them had no choice but to shut down as their children are not willing to take over the traditional businesses. Then, as more shops were built, more people started to open up other different businesses. He also stated that some of these shop owners, like himself, were sent to work since young, and that was where they learn to pick up skills and knowledge that enabled them to open shops such as watch shop, restaurants, textile and clothing shops and so on, at the same time contributing to the improvements of the Klang peoples quality of life.

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The Jalan Stesen, Klang shophouse is a perfect example of a green building, using materials that are locally available such as lime, clay stone and timber, and suited to local geology and weather conditions. They also possessing architectural features such as air vents that help with natural ventilation and cooling.



As its name suggests, a shophouse often contains a shop with separate residential spaces. More generally, space occupied by the former contains a semipublic function. While this usually is, and historically usually was, a shop, it could just as easily be a food and beverage outlet (e.g. coffeeshop or bar), a service provider (e.g. clinic or barber), an industrial activity (e.g. cottage industry or auto workshop) or a community space (e.g. a school or clan association). Residential spaces are meant to accommodate one or more families, or serve as a dormitory for single workers. Popular belief holds that shophouses were initially occupied by single family, with their private living areas in one space and the more public family business in another. However, it is possible that the two spaces were usually used by unrelated persons or groups, who may be tenants or resident owners.


Shophouses along Jalan Stesen are characterised by French windows, found on the upper storey facade, are full-height, side-hung and double-shuttered, and may feature transom windows or fanlights above them. The timber post and rail or cast iron balustrades are part of the original design of the French windows. The timberframed windows usually have timber-panelled shutters, which open inwards and vertical iron security bars. They!have a range of traditional features including demountable timber shutter boards, timber or metal sliding and folding doors, or glass display cases. Access doors are incorporated into the shopfronts and these may be single or double- leafed, glazed or timber-panelled, louvred or of rail and stile design. !



Roofs are pitched and finished with overlapping V-profile or flat natural colour unglazed clay tiles, laid on timber battens and bonded with mortar. Where the tiles end at the edge of the front and rear shophouse roofs, they are often covered with a timber fascia complete with galvanised iron gutters and downpipes. Roofs are waterproofed using bituminous asphalt, galvanised iron flashing and copings (Zhu, 2006). Shophouses along Jalan Stesen also have jack roof to allow large amounts of light in.

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The five-foot way which serves as a sheltered space for social activities and for circulation. It is an important element that contributes to the experience of walking through a conservation area. The elements that contribute to the experience are the floor, colonnade, residential or shopfront and the ceiling. In order to retain the traditional character of the five-foot way, the original height of the covered walkway, the design and size of the columns are to be retained. The retention or reintroduction of the traditional materials and finishes of the five-foot way is encouraged. Traditional finishes for the five-foot way floors include cement screed, terra cotta tiles, clay tiles, cement terrazzo, mosaic, marble-chip terrazzo or granite slab. The five-foot way often features granite edging parallel to the road side drain and granite steps. Tile patterns used on the five-foot way are sometimes repeated on the front wall of the shophouse either ending as a skirting or under the window to form a decorative wall.



Heritage shophouses in Klang fall into 3 main historical styles, each style has distinctive architectural and decorative features a represent a different period of times (Han, 2005). Late Straits Eclectic Style Style is the earliest style that occurred in the 1910s to 1940s. The exterior of the shop houses were normally white, ocre, opel green, and light indigo blue in colour. Rubber boom further encouraged more elaborate decorative faade. Furthermore, material catalogues and shipping in this period had allowed the import of decorative building materials such as glazed tiles and cast iron. it is common for Late Style shophouses to have red-coloured cement screed with gridded rope indentations and granite edge slabs. Compared to the same style of architecture in Spain, this type of architecture was born as a result of the Panama-California Exposition, and became a U.S. style movement from 1915 to 1931. It is a hybrid style based on the architecture found during the early Spanish colonization of North and South America. White stucco exterior and walls are commonly found with arches. Another feature of Spanish eclectic style is that ornamental ironwork is found which are finely crafted wrought iron work graces stair railings, gates, window grilles and lanterns. (David, 1996) Moving on to Art Deco Style, which is occurred in the 1930s to 1960s, wealthy local businessman returning from overseas schooling who are exposed to European, American and Chinese popular culture (cinema) had popularized Art-Deco style architecture and materials such as glass, steel and Shanghai-plaster. Art Deco shophouses may have marble-chip terrazzo finish in a variety of colours or mosaic finish. Some commercial shop houses replace their facades with the fashionable ArtDeco style using Shanghai plaster rendering and relief writing.

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American Art Deco Style not only influenced the architecture of most American cities but also had an impact on fashion, art, and furniture. (Carla, 2003) From 1925 to 1940, Americans embraced Art Deco as a refreshing change from the eclectic and revivalist. Most of the architecture elements found come in three, which is found also in the windows of the shop houses. This style emphasizes on simple and clean horizontal lines. Besides that, new materials are used such as glass and stainless steel. While in 1950s to 1970s, Early Modernism Style appeared. This style emphasized on simplification of form and design based on availability of new building materials and engineering developments such as metal framed glass windows. Expressionism was an architectural movement that developed in Northern Europe during the first decades of the 20th century in parallel with the expressionist visual and performing arts. Making notable use of sculptural forms and the novel use of concrete as artistic elements, examples include Rudolf Steiner's Second Goetheanum, built from 1926 near Basel, Switzerland and the Einsteinturm in Potsdam, Germany. The style was characterised by an early-modernist adoption of novel materials, formal innovation, and very unusual massing, sometimes inspired by natural biomorphic forms, sometimes by the new technical possibilities offered by the mass production of brick, steel and especially glass.

FIGURE 1.2 Heritage Shophouse Styles Source : http://penangshophouse.blogspot.com/

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BUILDING INVENTORY ! ! ! ! ! ! ! 2 storeys mixture of Malay, Chinese and European ornaments colours used : light indigo blue, ocre and white have windows on the top floor craved wooden door is used on the ground floor. Air vent on both side between the doors Theres pillar on both sides with pillar head on the top


Brief description The faade is almost the same for every shop house, where all come have 2 storeys with windows on the top floor. However, the designs of the windows are different from each other. Pillars are found on both sides of the shop house which is the support of the faade.

Internal courtyards

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Provide natural light to laminate the house Good ventilation for house.

Brief description Every shop house has one open space courtyard.


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Roofs are typically made out of orange clay bricks either U shapes or V shaped.

Brief description The whole shop house has two roofs, front and back.

Five foot-way

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Shelter for pedestrians Space to separate the road and the space for pedestrian Arches were built between all shop houses.

Brief description Some of the shop houses has turn into all sorts of business therefor this walk way has become useful and safe.

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3.1.0 CHANGES OF THE SHOP HOUSES During our site visit, we found out that the initial shop lots that were built had timber as the main materials. Some of the shop lots today still remained a few small parts and elements of the original building. However, according to a watch shop owner we interviewed, a fire that happened in the 1970s severely damaged some of the shop lots at Jalan Stesen. The shop lots were then renovated with newer materials such as concrete. Some of the other shophouses were also renovated to serve better functions and purposes.

3.1.1 STRUCTURE From our site visit, we realised that one of the most obvious changes that can be easily observed would be the structure of the shophouses. The shops that were built initially are generally terraced low rise buildings with 2-3 storeys. Over the years, some of these shophouses were renovated according to the owners needs. New style buildings which do not belong to any of the styles of shophouses mentioned above were built. These new shophouses have an almost completely different structure from the old shophouses, some as tall as 4-5 storeys, which give the shophouses a totally different faade from before renovations. The OCBC Bank building is a perfect example of renovated building which stands out among the other older shophouses. (Figure 3.1)

FIGURE 3.1 : OCBC Building which was renovated in 2005

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3.1.2 MATERIALS Material wise, the main materials used to build the shophouses changed from timber to concrete. As mentioned earlier, some of the shop houses were damaged in a fire that happened in the 1970s, therefore new materials like concrete were used instead of timber. From our observation during the site visit, we realized that a very clear comparison of materials can be made from the facades of the new and old shophouses. For example, we can see that on the upper floor, the old shophouses (Figure 3.2) have old style wooden shutter windows, in contrast, the new shophouse (Figure 3.3) has large glass windows. Besides that, the polycarbonates awning, and the shop signage which was replaced by stickers on the glass windows were also the renovations which caused the building to lose its original style of a heritage shophouse as these were newer materials that were not used in the old shophouses.

FIGURE 3.2: Example of an old shop house facade

FIGURE 3.3: Example of a renovated facade

Besides that, the materials used for renovation in the other parts of the building are also different. For example, from the picture of five-foot ways below (Figure 3.4 and Figure 3.5), we can see that the materials used for the ceiling and flooring are very different. The old shophouses usually has a timber ceiling, whereas after renovations, they are replaced by ceiling tiles. Besides that, the original shophouses also has lime-ash floor, which is grey in colour. On the other hand, floor tiles are used in renovations to replace the old flooring. Last but ot least, the materials of the doors also changed from timber to metal roller shutter.

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FIGURE 3.4: Example of an old five-foot way

FIGURE 3.5: Example of a renovated five-foot way

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3.2.0 RESPONSE 3.2.1 LOCATION Klang Railway Station was built in 1890. The road that intersects the station, Jalan Stesen was named after it. The construction of the railway station has promoted the economic growth in that area. As a response to that, businessmen choose to build the shophouses near the railway station (Figure 3.6), facing the main street which is Jalan Stesen in order to attract more customers.

Figure 3.6: Shophouse were built facing Jalan Stesen due to its strategic location.

3.2.2 CULTURE Influenced by the Greek architecture, the faade of the shophouses are designed symmetrically to create sense of harmonious and balance. Besides from serving as support, ionic column and arches are used as ornamentation for the faade (Figure 3.7). Traditional Chinese architecture element: gable end roof with terracotta tiles can also be found. It can withstand our local weather perfectly.

Figure 3.7: Greek architecture element (ionic column and arches) can be found on the faade of the shophouses.

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3.2.3 CLIMATE As a response to the local climate, full-length windows and air vents (Figure 3.9) are used to improve air ventilation and lower the indoor temperature. The light color painted faced can reflect sunlight hence reduce heat gain and lower the indoor temperature. The five-foot way provide shade from sunlight and rain to the users. Materials such as concrete and bricks replaced timber as the main construction material due to their fire resistance and weather proof characteristics.

Figure 3.8: The five foot way provide shades and ease off circulation for the users.

Figure 3.9: air vents help for air ventilation. It can often be found above the main entrance.

3.2.4 NEED As time passed, the development of suburban area in Klang increase. People choose to move there for a more serene living area. Some of them even shift their businesses there. The design of the traditional shophouses is no longer practical to the users need. Many of the shophouse owners rent the upper floors whic h were their living spaces to other businesses. Meanwhile, big companies moved in and expanded the traditional shophouses. Even though the newly built shophouses have more modern look, but they are still designed symmetrically (Figure 3.10).

Figure 3.10: Foreign company for example the OCBC Bank moved in and expanded the size of the traditional shophouse. It is still designed symmetrically and keep the distinct characteristic of the full length windows.

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CONCLUSION "Maintenance is the single most important conservation process. Whether the place is architectural, mechanical or botanical, prevention is better than cure." (Semple Kerr, 1996) Built heritage in Klang has special values and significance in architecture related to history, use, aesthetics, building methods, design, material and culture. If this special significance of built heritage is ignored or replaced then built heritage value is eroded. The features and styles of these shophouses evolve over the years. They started from simple early shophouses with cheap attap roof and wooden structures. With the unique culture and races in Malaysia, the styles of the shophouses were influenced by the mix of cultural background of all major races residing in Klang at that time. Despite being old and dilapidated, many of the shop houses have the potential to be restored and given a new lease of life. It would be great if the town council would pay more attention to these old shop houses along Jalan Stesen and prevent people from demolishing the shop houses to build modern new offices.


REFERENCE LIST 1. Breeze, Carla. American Art Deco: Architecture and Regionalism. New York: W. W Norton, 2003 . 2. Cultural Heritage Action Team. (2010). Introduction to Shophouse. [blog] Retrieved from http://penangshophouse.blogspot.com/2010/03/introductionto-shophouse.html 3. Gebhard, David. The National Trust Guide to Art Deco in America. New York: J. Wiley, 1996. 4. Klang Municipal Council, 2013. History. [online] Available at: < http://www.mpklang.gov.my/en/sejarah> [Accessed 3 October 2013]. 5. Majid, S. Z., 2003. Sejarah pentadbiran tanah di Klang 1874-1940. Petaling Jaya, Selangor: Universiti Malaya. Jabatan Sejarah. 6. Port Klang Integrated Coastal Management Project, 2013. Background. [online] Available at: <http://www.luas.gov.my/icm/knowledge_center/bckground_general.htm> [Accessed 3 October 2013] 7. Portal Rasmi Majlis Pembandran Klang, 2013. Portal Rasmi Majlis Pembandran Klang Sejarah [online] Available at : < http://www.mpklang.gov.my/sejarah> [Accessed 12 October 2013] ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! "#!