In the ultra-modern heart of Kuala Lumpur sits a small but exquisite reminder of traditional Malay architecture. The Rumah Penghulu was relocated from its original location in Kampung Sungai Kechii within the small town of Kedah. It was moved to KL and rebuilt by the Heritage of Malaysia Trust and is now open to guided tours. The core of the house was built in 1916 and acquired in 1924 by village headman Penghulu Abu Seman bin Nayan. He relocated the core and added to it in the 1930s. The building at left in the top photo was his office, where he dealt with administrative matters. Stairs and a separate doorway from the office section link to the main house. The building is a joy of carved panels and decorative fretwork, designed to allow access to cooling breezes through vertical shuttered windows which are inset with horizontal wooden louvres. It stands on posts which are set into decorated concrete pediments, keeping it to some degree out of the reach of rot and termites. So much modern housing in the tropics is just not right. Rumah Penghulu shows the practicality and beauty of a great tradition of tropical architecture. Long may it endure.
Great color schemes — at the top, a building from Malacca on mainland Malaysia and below, a building in the Sarawak capital Kuching.