Roof in Central Market come in two types which are barrel vaulted roof,and skylight glazed roof (Figure 14). However there is no leakage found during rainy days (there was heavy rain during site visit) and the skylight glazed roof also provide sufficient light into the market and act as a good energy saver.

Figure 14: Skylight glazed roof along the center of central market Source : Field study 2009

(d)Doors and Windows Doors and windows in central market are entirely made up from blue green colorex glass with metal grilled stepped designed added with some Art deco motive moulded decorations. There is no broken glass or crack found in any part of window or doors. All windows are fixed window as the central market is fully air conditioned. Overall windows and doors is in very good condition

. Figure 15: Two types of windows at central market. Source: Field Study 2009


Significant Of Conserving Central Market At first, there are many shop houses near to the Central Market. When UDA Sdn Bhd

decided to demolished all the shop houses, Central Market got 175 car parks at its main entrance. This gave advantages to the local visitors and tourists to park their vehicles near to the entrance and no need to walk faraway. Preservation has been made to its original Art Deco features, blue-green heat resistant glass, metal grill work and strongly moulded friezes. This can perpetuate the originality of specialty of early Central Market. Before this, the building used load bearing party walls without damp proof course. In order to conserve the building, the walls were injected with chemical that provide damp proof course. This can prevent any rising damp that can destroy the building structure. The timber floors have been rebuilt and upgraded to a multilayered sandwich using gypsum boards. These changes gave the floors fire proofing to minimize ruination if there is any emergency case. It also gave Central Market prestige when it became to a ‘modern historical building’. All the original exterior facades glazed by blu-green heat resistant Calorex glass and moulded friezes, with the original colours; pastel pinks and baby blue, have been restored.

These gave a very good perception to the visitors and the building itself can perpetuate its uniqueness. The building enhanced its charm and character as a cultural centre through the refurbishment works at its interior. The visitors can feel as they were in Central Market long time ago and the tourists can gain knowledge about Malaysian culture through the shops in it. Nowadays, Central Market used fixed windows due to the retrofitted air-conditioning in the building. The installation of air-conditioning in Central Market is to give comfort ability to the visitors and tourist as the climate in Malaysia is hot.


Changes in Building by Elements

Building Element/Design

Before 1888, there is no building façade for central market, it’s a large square open area where people selling wet stuff (see figure 16), then, after government have build a building in 1890, it

Layout and floor plan

become a ‘box’ shape and some refurbishment afterwards (see building chronology pg 15), in 1909, central market’s layout is like ‘I’ shape, (see figure 17). Extension process has taken place in 1920 where it become wider and longer (figure 18). In 1986, after renovation for adaptive reuse, central market layout has become a trapezoidal shape until today (figure 17).

Roof The first roof for central market which is in 1890 is made up from zinc sheet with pitched roof design, then during extension in 1907, roof material have changed from zinc sheet to asbestos sheet( figure 17) and re-roofing process with the same material have taken place in 1923. In 1936, whole building has been demolished and a new central market roof is made up from concrete with flat roof design added with a glazed colorex tinted skylight running along the middle atrium (figure 21). In 1986,

adaptive reuse has taken place, and a pair of barrel-vaulted roof made up from colorex-tinted glass, steel trusses and metal sheet has been added on the roof to enhance natural lighting (figure 23) and it is remain until today. In 1888, British government has design central market with Floor concrete tile (figure 21) and floor re-rendering process with the same material taken places in 1912, and it remained until 1986, and after that, the floor have been tiled with two types of tiles which are terracotta tile and ceramic tile till today. Central Market’s wall have been fully made up from timber since British government has built the central market building in 1888 until the construction of new central market in 1936 where all peripheral wall is made up from 4 inches brickwork and remained until today (figure 20 and figure 22). However, the shop’s wall in Wall the cluster is excluded from previous statement as the shop’s owner have been given permission to design their shops according to their own style and therefore the shop’s wall currently made up from various types of material such as timber, glass and brick. 1986, natural ventilation louvers under the parapet wall were sealed with colorex tinted glass as it use fully mechanical ventilation afterwards. Windows and Doors Windows and doors before1936 is made up from timber and have changed to colorex tinted glass in 1936 during restoration of central market. During adaptive reuse rehabilitation in 1986, three sky bridges (figure 23), six double storey clusters and a mezzanine floor have Other elements been built in the central market, some new column have been built to support some of new structure including water tanks, all columns and beams are made up from concretes after 1986 and before that, are made up from timber.

Figure 16: Central Market area in 1887 Source: www.centralmarket.com.my

Centra l Market

Figure 17: Central Market in 1909 (left) and 1986 Source: www.centralmarket.com.my

Existing Area Centra l Market Open Area New Area

Figure 18: Central Market layout plan in 1920 Source: www.centralmarket.com.my

Figure 19: Central Market’s layout plan Source: www.centralmarket.com.my

Figure 20: Central Market’s entrance view in 1983(left) and 2008 Source: www.archnet.com

Figure 21: Central Market inside view in 1983(left) and 2008 Source: www.archnet.com and www.centralmarket.com.my

Figure 22: Central Market inside view in 1987(right) and 2008 Source: www.archnet.com and www.centralmarket.com.my


Figure 23: Barrel vaulted roof, stairs (left) and sky bridge Source: www.centralmarket.com.my PROBLEMS AND ISSUES In years of 1970’s, Central Market together with the old shop houses near to it acquired

by the Urban Development Authority (UDA) was to be demolished for Dayabumi Phase V, a multi-million dollar development of highrise offices, hotels and shops. Concerned citizens group, Heritage of Malaysia Trust campaigned for its conservation and possible reuse as the home of Malaysia’s National Art Gallery, then about to be evicted from its former premises in 1983, but to not avail. In order to serve the local population, government had proposed 3 new wet markets to take the place of Central Market, which are located in Taman Maluri Cheras, TTDI Damansara and 4.8th km Jalan Gombak. The 835 stall tenants (only 641 licensed stallholders) have been asked to move from Central Market.

Figure 24: Central Market - Old market Kuala Lumpur Source: http://www.centralmarket.com.my/history.aspx With the economic downturn coupled with the glut of office and commercial space on the property market, government agreed to the developer’s proposal to save Central Market. A window of opportunity presented Central Market itself during the economic downturn and over building at the time seized by the enlightened developers with vision. It was the first major adaptive reuse project of Harta Bumi Sdn. Bhd., a private developer. The historical ambience is maintained and even enhanced.

However, the shop houses on the north of the Central Market have been demolished before the decision of the new proposal. The site was then turned into car park for the Central Market. The central location in its historic setting with pedestrian routes and available car park was a real estate dream site for heritage conservation development.

In 15th of April 1986 Central Market reopened and has been turned into Cultural Market. It has since being classified as a Heritage Site by the Malaysian Heritage Society and it is now a landmark for Malaysian Culture and Heritage displaying a wide variety of Malaysian Arts and Handicrafts, Batik, Antiques and attractive souvenirs. The success of the Central Market in its new role gives similar buildings a new lease of life. Therefore, architecturally interesting buildings need not be demolished to give way for new development.

Figure 25: Success of Central Market for being awarded “The BrandLaureate SMEs Chapter Awards” in Year 2007 (left) and 2008 (right) Source: http://www.centralmarket.com.my/news.aspx



Central Market, currently a cultural market, is the most successful example of adaptive reuse the existing historical building. The credit goes to Heritage of Malaysia Trust who campaigned for its conservation and adaptive reuse.

The realization of Central Market is a result of many factors. They include increasing public awareness on heritage issues, suitable economic conditions, politic support, enlightened developers with definite visions, responsive bureaucracies, committed and dedicated designer. Public response is quite overwhelming up to now. The superb location should ensure its continued success.

The success of the Central market in its new role gives similar buildings in the Old Town a new lease of life. Its historical ambience is maintained and even enhanced. Therefore architecturally interesting buildings need not be demolished to make way for new development. Conservation can be a positive planning tool for urban development in Third World Countries. Government   take   care   of   these   cultural   and   heritage   sites   in   order   to   appreciate   the   world  heritage.

By the conservation and adaptive reuse, we are able to keep the sense of human scale and homeliness that the old buildings have while keeping our heritage and our identity in the city centre.

BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. A. Ghafar Ahmad. (1997). British Colonial Architecture. Malaysia: Museums Association of Malaysia.

2. A. Ghafar Ahmad. ( Edited 2008). Conservation Bodies. Heritage Conservation. Acquired Janaury 21, 2009 dari World Wide Web : http://www.hbp.usm.my/conservation

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