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Heeren Interface

Part 2 Project 2010
Gin Yong Cheong
University of Malaya Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
Architect is challenged to create a sense of place for the historical Malacca community. In addition, architectural programs that fulfill the needs of the old folks are required corresponding to the issues identified. The prominent local context also calls for a design that can accommodate to changes; there should be some degree of flexibility in the programs and spatial arrangement, not forgetting the genius loci and materiality of Malacca Old Town.

The project aspires to give a new meaning and inject more life to the area by providing a public space belonging to the typical Malaccan and catering to the old folks. As a result, the scheme presents a sensitive exploration and interface of health-care activities, in particular traditional Chinese Medicine, community programs and commercial activities as an alternative for development of the folks. In a nutshell, the project aims to establish an interface building with a view to: addressing the needs of community in Malacca Old Town; addressing the lost sides and identity by revival of the traditional method of healing and reinforcing Malacca Town Centre.

The design concept is derived from the historical site. A social thoroughfare is created linking the history: folks’ settlement and civic area together symbolically and visually. The thoroughfare serves as a street which is imposed with multifunction. Just like the street of Malacca Old Town in the old days, Heeren Interface will be a gathering place of the folks, a place for sharing experiences, trading, commute and commune. The site is discovered to be part of the town centre and hence the project is designed to reinforce the town centre besides completing the strong edge of Malacca River by turning it into a community town centre which also symbolically connects past, current with future (institutional program) and a social stage interfacing the locals and the public. After all, the proposed building is not intended to make a statement out of itself but a building that sensitively blends with the surroundings and indeed acts as a part of the historical urban fabric.

Gin Yong Cheong


The challenge for this design thesis project was that the needs of the community is foremost compared to tourist needs, as Malacca had been recently designated as a World Heritage Town and the socio-economic impact of tourism has been felt drastically.

The community needed a site for recreation and social activities. The site is located on a recognised 'gateway' to the older community and faces the famous tourist hub of the Dutch Stadthuys (Town Hall). The designer had done a lot of research to determine what constitutes the community's important characteristics and identified core elements to explore the design.

In a project that challenged private benefits to be changed to community benefits the designer created a place for the community that also provided jobs for the elderly people.

The design used the Chinese shophouse typology by interpreting the patterns and forms of the existing feel of the place embellished by an architectural program that provided a public space for the community.

From across the Stadthuys, one could view the community activities and this underlined the importance of community over tourism, which created a balance to the growth of the town.





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2010
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