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Melaka Environmental Education Centre

Part 1 Project 2012
Daniel Hodson
University of Huddersfield, UK

As a reaction to recent and ever growing pressures on the natural biomes endemic to Malaysia, and Melaka in particular, the brief for this project was to encourage awareness of preserving the ancient and important asset. The current pressures for Malaysia to become an economically developed country by 2020 have lead to both government and civilian destruction of unique, essential and biologically diverse habitats. Between 1990 and 2010, Malaysia lost 8.6% of its forest cover alone, which equates to approximately 1.92 million ha.

(http://rainforests.mongabay.com/deforestation/2000/Malaysia.htm)

Situated within the dense urban grain surrounding Melaka’s historic Dutch Square, the site occupies a series of dilapidated and derelict buildings. The project proposes to provide a series of spaces which will inform adults and children alike about environmental issues which are potentially of catastrophic consequence to Melaka and Malaysia as a whole. The building is designed to focus the user on issues such as deforestation, land reclamation and sustainable resource use; whilst providing information about what can be done to conserve and protect Melaka’s and Malaysia’s bionetworks from irreparable degradation.

To do this the building affords three large exhibition spaces, one of which is for the housing of visiting exhibitions, and two multi-use learning spaces. In addition the building incorporates a 50 seat lecture theatre to cater for events such as: WWF meetings, World Forestry Day events, Earth Day. Whilst also providing the community with a space to hold meetings and debate local environmental policy.

To reinforce the importance of ecosystems on the Malaysian environment the project creates a vegetated centralised courtyard; welcoming visitors out of the harsh and busy streets full of traffic into a tranquil oasis of green. The centre would draw attention to the established vegetation within the centre of Melaka, framing views out that focus on the vegetation within Dutch Square, St. Pauls Hill and the area of vegetation opposite the Church of St Francis Xavier, thus emphasising the fundamental message behind the building.

Daniel Hodson

2012
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