I am not sure what is so ‘heritage’ about this ‘mothership’, which has parked itself at one side of the plans for the Penang Heritage Square near Komtar.

And I don’t think full-grown trees can be cultivated on a roof-top garden.

The Penang Heritage Square plans were put up for public comment at Level 3 in Komtar until 30 September, but I think few people were aware of the display. I only noticed it when I happened to pass by and of course, I registered my objection to this structure.

The area would be better off maintained as a public park in the city or perhaps part of it could be used as a scaled-down street food (open air?) heritage museum and/or a street food area set in say, 1950s Penang.

Thanks to blog reader Spencer for sending in the image.

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17 COMMENTS

  1. Town planning for a UNESCO Heritage Site is not simply putting up a colorful ‘Lego’ contraption right in the middle as one might fancy towards contemporary taste, urban lifestyle & yuppie design. It (the site) has its own rules, strategic focus & conservation responsibility to consider for its long term UNESCO status, which can draw perennial economic interests, financial investment, international tourists, film producers & cultural exchange. Disciplined, integrated & thoughtful planning will not only ensure these returns of investing in consistent management of heritage assets & conservation practice, it also will bring about increasing value (like a jade) as a UNESCO site worth conserving. The Blue Mansion is one supreme example of international class heritage conservation.
    Many of the world’s heritage sites don’t simply morph like weather chameleon according to consumerist fads or fleeting designer trends but sustain their individual uniqueness, some as living & thriving heritage assets of thousand years.
    Do the Chinese authorities enthuse over the pink-painting of the Great Wall of China just because Nippon Paint decides to sponsor repainting the entire Great Wall with Sakura flowers?
    Penang has other areas outside of inner city heritage zones that can assimilate contemporary architectures like The Light Waterfront, Straits Quay & Queens Bay. It is not the end of modernism as some might dread of Penang Lau Yeah. In fact, it is the opposite if one cares to go round Penang island to experience the rapid development of new architecture.
    Let Penang’s scarce heritage assets consistently shine & stake a claim as the Island To Visit, Eat & X-perience Authentic Living Heritage Before One Dies.
    If one has a golden goose that lays the golden eggs, why try to DNAlter or bastardize it into Franken-gooz?

  2. I say, that thing is truly an ugly bot on Penang’s heritage buildings. Better start a campaign to pressure the stupid town planners to abandon this awful piece of work. If things keep going this way, the Unesco heritage thingy will soon be history.

  3. they should just turn the place into a quaint little park with public space for performance etc. Maybe build some small shop houses with colonial architecture. Sometimes, especially in a place like Georgetown, less is more

  4. I have seen the mock up model and it is beautiful.
    Maybe not to the other “old folks, Anil included” whom would prefer the “bullock-cart” design I suppose.
    You guys need to get out more from this country and see what countries like China and Vietnam are doing.
    Not all new buildings need to look like the old ones.
    Please don’t let Penang be left behind.

    http://www.e-architect.co.uk/vietnam_architecture.htm

    • Well I am sure I speak for everyone young or old when I say we do not oppose having modern contemporary looking buildings in Pg. What people are opposed to is having a huge building (whether it is ugly or beautiful is up to the individual to decide) on a piece of land which is already so small. Rather than doing that, we propose that the canal and surrounding areas be turned into a park since the area lacks green space. It can serve as a recreation area, green lung and even increase the appeal of surrounding property. This huge building can be built somewhere else where there is more space and less congestion. Tunglang has given Straits Quay, Queensbay and Light Waterfront as examples of where modern buildings are being built.

  5. Darth Vader has no place to stay or convalesce in Heritage Penang!
    Convalesce in Penang Hill, also no no! Lest we invite a Galactica overkill.
    What they can do here in Sia Boey is to build an underground Street Food Museum (see Ground Zero, NYC) & an above ground Ori-Maestro Street Food X-perience. The paying museum visitors can immediately adjourn to authentic heavenly street food above (recommended by Tunglang). That way it saves space & kill 2 Tham Chiak Kui birds in one! Not a Galactica overkill!
    Let SingLand have Darth Vader, an incongrous icon to old world charm Pulo Panang.

    • Underground street food museum sounds like a good idea; but first they need to overcome the problem of waterlogged/swampy soil beneath.

      • Actually, we don’t need to dig deep to accommodate a museum of 15,000 sq feet & 15 ft depth (my estimate). With today’s technology to build / reinforce sea front buildings that can even accommodate an aquarium, the scope for water/moisture proofing a livable underground structure is possible. Care must be taken not to drain off the existing under water table or destabilize the soil dynamics of entire area.
        Penang land is expensive. Why not go under to half the price/cost of land usability.

      • The authorities here are finding it exceedingly difficult just to even maintain structures above ground. I dread to see what will happen if things are built underground. But tunglang has a point, it is a good idea if properly implemented. in Sg almost every new building makes use of the land below. A good example is Terminal 3 of Changi Airport. It has a shopping mall going three storeys underground. Somehow it is still as green as ever and u don’t even feel that you are underground.

  6. Cant agree more with Kevin, have it somewhere else, not in the heart of Georgetown when space is already a problem !!!

    Anil, please stop it by all means.

    Yes, why must everything be commercialised, and Ellese is rght, the design is damn ugly just like the two arches in Botanical Garden before, and also the proposed structure at the bottom of Penang Hill, i hope they have scrapped it off.

    DAP/Pakatan government, am sure you can do better. TQ!

    • Kee, you and I criticise when we find something not quite right. It isn’t meant to run down any govt or party but rather to provide ideas for improvement. Sadly, I have found that many govt personnel and politicians do not understand this concept and get real defensive when you approach them. There is really no need to do that. With more input from the public, better plans can be generated for that piece of land. For example, PDC could have asked for suggestions from the public on what to do before making their own plans. From the ideas given to them, a few proposals could have been drawn up and then displayed for the public to vote on and further comment. Often, different ideas can even be integrated to suit the needs of everyone. It will save a lot of time, money and energy than the current practice of making their own plans first prior to public consultation.

  7. Why must everything be commercialized? And the design is absolutely ugly. Nothing art to it. Anyway our objection means nothing as it will proceed.

    • Not all the time. It is important that we register our objections and suggestions despite the govt being bad listeners. Silence will be regarded as an agreement. I don’t think the govt has anything to gain by pushing this design through unless of course the designer, or architect is a crony. This is probably a case of the wrong ppl given the wrong job.

  8. I couldn’t agree more. I don’t see how this can be considered to be heritage. First of all, the govt has stated that it is meant to serve as an arts and culture venue for Penangites. The idea of having such a venue is good but there are appropriate places for it. For example we have the Pg Performing Arts Centre in Straits Quay and IJM is building a theatre at the Light Waterfront similar in concept to the Esplanade in Sg. Plus there is Dewan Sri Pinang not too far away. There is no need to build one on a piece of land which is already very small in size. It will be better used as a green lung for people in the area like a mini hyde park or central park. With this huge building taking up a third of the land, the green space will be significantly reduced. By all means have it but have it somewhere more appropriate.

    • I was at Komtar to provide my comments on heritage Penang. Surprised little feedbacks i observed and hence i took some photos for Anil to publish hopefully you guys could provide constructive inputs by 30 Sep 12 dateline.

      I think better late or never. Send your comments fast.

      May be Anil can help to show these comments to person in charge ?

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