A disastrous fire swept through Kuala Lumpur in 1881, destroying most wood-and-thatch structures. This led to a regulation that called for new buildings to be constructed out of brick and tiles, so the area of Brickfields, rich with clay pits parallel to the Klang River, was then established as a brick-making district. Its nearby confluence made it a strategic point for a railway depot, and the area has since grown to become a bustling transportation hub that supports the industrial development of Kuala Lumpur.
By the late 19th century, Brickfields was known as the Indian Reserve and became a home to railway workers and municipal laborers, the majority of which were Tamil migrants and bureaucrats from British Ceylon. In present times, with the presence of the KL Sentral hub, Brickfields has had its historical identity scraped away. People’s requests for public spaces, parks and play areas have been denied in favour of ‘cash cow’ commercial and office developments that only serve a specific tier of society. According to the local community, Brickfields’ changing landscape as well as their ‘people-scape’ have left the area unsure of its destiny.
Based on interviews, narratives and mapping of intergenerational memories of the community, the entrant has determined that the old generation yearns for an acknowledgement and remembrance of Brickfields’ glorious past, while the youth wish to thrive in a culturally rich ground in their quest to develop skills and knowledge.
This proposal outlines a cross-generational, informal ‘school’ with the following programmes: a community market; artist residences, visiting schools and traveller’s pods; brick gallery and workshop space; a sunken clay play pit; and rooftop garden. Various activities are envisioned to bring together residents and visitors of all ages, allowing for stories of the older generation to be retold and passed on to the next generation.
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13,520 square metres
FUTURARC PRIZE 2023: MERIT
Tan Yin Yee is a recent architecture graduate of UCSI University, Kuala Lumpur who seeks joy in exploring the boundaries of art and design through materials, nature, people and the world around her.