04 Apr 2013: Encounters with Ipoh – Familiar Spaces, Untold Stories

Not many towns in Malaysia can clain to have experienced so much within a hundred years … a city like Ipoh has many stories to tell. (excerpt from the book)

Encounters with IpohIn 2012, twenty architectural students from the University of Singapore and the University of Malaysia departed from their urban centres to explore the city of Ipoh, once the wealthiest tin mining town in the Kinta Valley of Perak. They soon realized that Ipoh has much more to offer than its illustrious history. Drawing inspiration from four shophouses – a trade house, a Sinhalese bar, a charcoal vendor’s shop and a seamstress’ modern shophouse – the students uncovered an intricate narrative between the city’s buildings and its citizenry; as one student rightly claimed, these buildings are merely an ’empty shell without its inhabitants’. Encounters with Ipoh: Familiar Spaces, Untold Stories documents the students’ work to show that, although it may never reach the grandeur it once had, Ipoh still thrives, thanks to the unique cross section of culture and industry that continues to lie within the city’s beating heart.
Ipoh-2Divided into six unique chapters, Encounters with Ipoh allows readers rare insights into this former ‘Tin Capital of the World’. The students’ work is expansive, delving deep into the city’s past and present through a series of site analyses, photographs, and interviews with the locals. Inclusive of the students’ drawings, measurements and explanations, the book provides ample information for city planners and lay readers alike. It includes chapters on urban morphologies, traffic studies, business communities and landmarks, along with detailed reflections regarding the city’s history. The book is a worthy addition to the collections of anyone with an interest in architecture, history or local culture.