Disk 53

When the proposal to develop the Selangor Club Padang was first mooted, there was an outcry and much was said and published about why it ought to be left intact and undisturbed. Many activists, artists, architects and environmental movements expressed their concern. Now that Phase 1 of Merdeka Square is completed and is relatively successful, there has not been any comments or praises for the first public space in Kuala Lumpur.

In its short existence, Merdeka Square has become very popular with the people with Kuala Lumpur. There is no place in Kuala Lumpur where the public can walk, stroll or relax. This is the first. That it should attract large crowds in the cool evenings demonstrates its usefulness and success. Prior to this there is no such place. In the day, the Square looks magnificent and dignified. Viewed from the Penthouse of Dewan Bandaraya, Kuala Lumpur building it is a sight to behold. Majalah Akitek takes this opportunity to congratulate those responsible for making the first public space possible; and into reality.

Like all things there is always room for improvement. More greenery could be introduced to soften the harshness of the concrete pavings and around the flag podium; and to cool the otherwise hot concrete surfaces. Having accomplished Phase 1, there is need to address itself at Phase 2, which involves a shopping and car parking basement level. Careful, sensible and sensitive planning and design considerations are required to ensure that the success of Phase 1 is maintained and continued through to Phase 2. Hopefully, the same people involved in the planning of Phase 1 would provide the proper guidance to the developer and to their architects. Do not sit back on your laurels, as an unsuccessful Phase 2 will spell the end of Phase 1 as an attractive Square.

When Central Market was opened, it became an instant success. People flocked to the market to enjoy the pleasure of walking and strolling on the boulevard along the riverbank. With the creation of the Merdeka Square it becomes click here almost mandatory for the city planners to provide a natural pedestrian linkage between these two centers of public space. There should be other public spaces created and connected with pedestrian linkages to enable movement and enjoyment of Kuala Lumpur more easily accessible.

The Klang and Gombak rivers provide a natural linkage; if properly conceived and thought through. Riverbank walks and boulevards could be created on both sides. The next few years could see more exciting design ideas being implemented. Hopefully?

Moving away from the city, many housing schemes under the jurisdiction of Dewan Bandaraya, Kuala Lumpur seem to lack the imaginative planning which Kuala Lumpur City Centre appears to be blessed with. Open space, landscaping, visual control of the townscape etc; are sadly missing. Whether the fault lies with the developers or the enforcement units of City Hall no one seems to know. But as an encouragement, City Hall’s planners, designers and implementers ought to channel some of their expertise to those lack lustre developments to ensure the enhancement of the quality of life. Kuala Lumpur has come of age and it is only right that its inhabitants should look forward to an environment worthy of the 21st century. Open spaces set aside as part of requirement for approval are very often left unkempt and full of weeds, children’s playground littered with debris, are common sights around Kuala Lumpur. The city central has set the pace and standard for the others to follow.

Architects have a major role to play in planning and designing environment for living in. This is all part of nation building. It becomes mandatory for architects to have the moral fibre to strife for quality, quality in the environment, quality in design and quality of life. Therefore, architects must play their contributive and responsible role in directing and advising their client/developer on what is the right thing to do to achieve the above mentioned qualities. Architects build for the future and what we leave behind must be worthy and worthwhile as a legacy to be enjoyed and cherished.