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Malaysian Institute of Art

Part 2 Project 2009
Kar Wai Lim
University of Malaya, Malaysia
The Malaysian Institute of Art is an art and design school founded in 1967. The expanding school needs a new institution that triggers creative thinking. Inspired by the Bauhaus, the thesis project focuses on a singular idea, the creative interaction. The concept will derive a strategy to develop movement, encounters, and free exchange of ideas between students, areas and disciplines. A busy urban site in the city with intense complexity is chosen so that the school will benefits from its unlimited resources and creative energy.

What distinguishes the art and design student is the attachment to studio and emphasis on project work. Therefore the studios are flexible modular units to support a variety of group activities and beehive of activities spilling out to a break-out area where informal learning takes place. The break-out is an important social arena since the students learned by doing and they often gained as much through interaction between peers. The use of space is not restricted and is open to imagination. Sliding walls will be used to replace partition for presentation. Pivoted walls of ever-changing graffiti make an unpredictable facade. The corridor where learning experience often happens is an interactive spine with voids, bridges and incidental spaces as large numbers of students, overlapping of schedules and high mobility determine great chances of interaction. One can always see and be seen. The administration and studio wing are interlocked with the Grand Review Hall where students showcase their masterpiece upon graduation and it forms a melting pot for the diverse art forms, dialogue and culture exchange.

Environmental design strategy such as extensive use of local materials, maximising day lighting by means of collapsible louvers, promotes natural ventilation using vent blocks and green facade is being integrated into the design. In macro scale, the school functions as an exhibition hub by freeing up the ground space and the art plaza is created as there is a lack of positive urban park in the city. Overall, the school is not created as single entity but a microcosm of the city.

Kar Wai Lim

Lim Kar Wai's Malaysian Institute of Art deals with learning spaces for future designers conceived with the idea of achieving flexibility of use and the engagement of the collective. Sited in a strategic urban corner of the popular Kuala Lumpur's Chow Kit, the students in graphic, fashion and fine arts draw inspiration from the character of the notorious red light district area, forgotten but thriving. The school of art and design with its incessant buzzing of the collective ideal, a public square pairing off with the huge crit hall, and the hive of activities created by the flexible and adaptable studios are in constant flux, night and day. The concept is vibrant, textural and fluid. Inspiration of the city right into the heart of creativity.

The design thesis succeeded in various levels. It answered the hypothetical statement of how a school of design should function and allow for creativity to flourish. The choice of site is excellent in giving vital life to the community external to the school, both the students and the public would make possible this collective ideal. The studios and spaces around them are very carefully designed to maximise the potential of learning and creating. Something for everyone.


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