‘Architecture should speak of its time and place but yearn for timelessness.’
The Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall was founded in 1923 while its establishment was completed in 1934. The building was officiated by the Sultan Alauddin Sulaiman Shah of Selangor. In 2005, the then Ministry of Culture, Arts & Heritage allocated funds to renovate the auditorium on the ground floor and was subsequently awarded the national heritage status.
A building must fulfil 3 elements, namely practicality, stability and aesthetically.
In the recent 80 years since its establishment as a public space, KLSCAH has been bustling with activities ranging from meetings, talks, stage performances, banquets to other relevant events. Members of the public usually head for the auditorium, meeting rooms, office and toilets, while the highlight of an event would naturally fall on the podium, stage, speakers, performers and presenters. Whilst standing in the building, perhaps members of the public did not have time to take a step back and enjoy the magnificent architecture that the building offers or to observe the decorations by the door and the different pillars, each with its own distinctive style or follow the railings of the stairs, up to the first floor to look up at the structure of the dome.
Sometimes, it can be impossible to perceive the meaning or the stories hidden behind a set of architecture. There are also some who choose to ignore them or take them lightly. Hence, it will be good to have a moment and take a closer look at this building from now on.
Reminiscing Kuala Lumpur in the 1930s, a building with similar architecture to KLSCAH would be considered luxurious. The building’s design, including its layout is a perfect choice for performances and social gatherings. Former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dato’ Seri Haji Abdullah Ahmad Badawi once held a wedding in the building. In Malaysia, with the exception of religious buildings, there are not much private-owned buildings with a dome. A dome is said to represent perfection, stability and elegance. The interior of the dome consists of a quadrilateral arch that forms a semi-circle that is split into eight pieces. The center of the semi-circle is the raised part of the dome.
The pillars in KLSCAH on the other hand, is a column made of a base, shaft and capital. The Doric, Ionic and Corinthian orders, developed by the Greeks, became a trend in Western classicism and had a lasting influence on architecture across the globe. The two scrolls called volutes on the capital are the most common example of the Ionic order.
There are floral decorations above the door at the entrance of KLSCAH. The wing-like floral design resembles the Air Force symbol. The curved staircase connects the ground floor to the first floor. The stairs follow the bend of the banister to make a striking architectural statement and gives it a dynamic feel.