SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE, BUILDING AND DESIGN
BACHELOR OF SCIENCE (HONS) (ARCHITECTURE)
MARCH INTAKE 2013 - SEMESTER 2
ARCHITECTURE CULTURE AND HISTORY 2 - ARC 1323
PROJECT - ARCHITECTURE HERITAGE BUILDING ANALYSIS
LA SALLE SCHOOL, KLANG
BUILDING ANALYSIS REPORT
ALFRED LEE XUE CHYI
CHARLENE CHAN HUI SHAN
KIAN SOON JEAN
NICK LIM WEI ZE
History of La Salle School Klang
List of Principles
History of Klang
Art Deco Architecture
Comparison of Art Deco
SMK La Salle is a Malaysian national secondary all boys’ school, founded in the year
1940 by Adrian Devales and Reverend Father L. Guittart. It was initially established as a
missionary primary school named the St. Bernadette’s School during the flourishing of other
missionary schools all across the Straits Settlements such as Penang and Malacca. After
several ownership and name changes over the years, the school was divided into two
separate schools, namely, SR La Salle & SM La Salle. The former functions as a primary
school whereas the latter functions as a secondary school. Today, the La Salle secondary
school is known by the name of SMK La Salle. Similar to all Malaysian national schools, it is
administered by the Ministry of Education Malaysia.
During its humble beginnings, SMK La Salle operated upon a school fee of $2 per
student and was dependent on the donations of church members for funds. In the year
1947, principle Fr. Edmund was forced to build a wooden extension to the original existing
building as well as rent a double-storey private residence in Jalan Koto (Fort Road) to
accommodate the growing number of students. Unfortunately, tight funds and limited
capacity in the midst of a rapid student body growth eventually lead to a closure and
takeover by the La Salle Brothers who renamed the school to “La Salle Institution” in 1951.
They also bought a 12-acre piece of land along Telok Gadong Road (where SMK La Salle
is presently located)l for school expansion. Fund-raising activities were held for the sole
purpose of improving the school’s aging facilities. The school officially reopened in 1957
under the authority of the La Salle Brothers. In the following year, the construction of 2
Science laboratories, a school hall, 3-storey block containing 4 classrooms, the Lee Kuo
Chuan Library, the Office and teachers’ room and a building for the teaching of Woodwork,
Metalwork, Electricity and Power Mechanics was completed. In year 1963, La Salle
Institution Klang split into La Salle Primary School and La Salle Secondary School but
education activities were still conducted within the same compound.
In 1965, a rapid growth of the school’s student body forced a set up of temporary
sheds to accommodate student activities. The library was used by “floating” classrooms
while the old canteen was modified into a science laboratory to solve the over-crowding
issue in the school.
Three years later, extra-curriculum activities were provided for the healthy
development of both the student’s mental and physical forms. In 1971, the Students’
Service Council was founded and a new canteen was opened.
SMK La Salle grew rapidly once again in the year 1977 to over 1000 students in
number. Consequently, its director decided to replace the temporary sheds with a 3-storey
building containing 22 classes, 3 Science labs and an A.V.A. Room which set the school
back by $270,000. Funds was raised via a charity function with financial aid from the
Parents’ Teachers’ Association and the Old Lasallians Association of Klang. In 1983, SMK
La Salle became the first school with a computer lab in Klang. In the year 1989, The
Ministry of Education Malaysia took over SMK La Salle from the authority of the La Salle
Opened as a private primary school called St. Bernadette’s School
School name changed to La Salle Institution
School name changed to La Salle School
New administrative building was built
School was renamed to SR La Salle & SM La Salle, with two separated schools in
A Science lab building was constructed (named as Rex C.C. Michael Block)
Operating first computer lab in Klang
Administrated by the Ministry of Education Malaysia and known by the name of
SMK La Salle
Replacement of new roof and sidewalk downstairs in Science lab building
Construction of new single storey building for counseling room and art room.
LIST OF PRINCIPLES
Reverend Father L. Guittart
Reverend Father John Edmund
Reverend Brother Stephen Phillip
Reverend Brother Leo Manicasami
Reverend Brother Celestine Jennings
Reverend Brother John Mathew Neo
Reverend Brother Harold Reynolds
Reverend Brother Cassian Pappu
Reverend Brother David Liao
Reverend Brother Michael Wong
En. Rex C.C. Michael
Pn. K. Sadasivam
En. Shum Kwok Hong
Pn. Hajah Zainon binti Kasim
Pn. Hajah Hasimah binti Karim
Pn. Lily Lee
Pn. Hajah Adliyah binti Ramli
Pn. Ding Sooi Chong
SMK La Salle is situated in Klang which is one of the oldest Malaysian settlement as the
earliest record of its existence dates back to 600 years ago during the Majapahit
Government. It was originally named “Port Swettenham” and appointed as an administrative
centre by the Britains when they colonised Malaya. Klang flourished in the late 19th century
as its tin ore mining industry grew. Thanks to Port Klang, it became an important trade
centre leading to a population spurt in commercial areas following economical successes.
However, there seem to be no spill of the economic wealth in trade upon Klang even until
today, which explains the relatively low cost of living in Klang.
The Location Plan of La Salle in the context of Klang.
The Site Plan of La Salle as an overall.
Although the human population in Klang today is racially diverse, the Indian-Muslim
community forms the majority of Klang’s population. This is directly reflected in the diversity
of La Salle’s student body which comprise of 70% Indians whilst other racial groups make
up the remaining 30%. In Klang, the notion of Hinduism being a traditional Indian religion is
challenged. Nevertheless, cross-cultural programs are encouraged by the MPK and are
held at the “dataran seni klang”.
Today, Klang is governed by an authority board formally known as the MPK (Majlis
Perbandaran Klang). The MPK, lead by the “yang dipertua”, was formed in the year 1977
and is mainly financed by Klang’s tax-paying land owners, the renting out of public buildings
and facilities, and the licensing of businesses and their operating locations. In 2008, Tuan
Mislan Bin Tugiu was chosen by the Malaysian public services board to lead the MPK.
Spanning over 574 square kilometres today, Klang’s cityscape is rather flat compared to its
neighbouring cities such as Petaling Jaya and Shah Alam as there are very few skyscrapers
around. This can be linked to the fact that around 30% of the land in Klang is employed for
agriculture means, covering about 17 000 acres. Despite the common trend of people
moving out to more urban towns such as Petaling Jaya over the years, human population in
Klang increased from around 562 000 people in the year 2000 to a total of 1042 000 people
in the year 2010.
Due to an expansion of La Salle’s student body over the years, subsequent blocks of
building were added on to the school compound and several existing structures such as the
school canteen was expanded. The whole school was also repainted so that it stands in
green and white colours today. One of the earliest structures within the school compound
now functions as headquarters. The La Salle School, amongst several other schools are
located in the south of Klang, whereby residential houses and shophouses are largely
located. These schools are conveniently built within an average distance of 3km from the
local residential houses.
ART DECO ARCHITECTURE
The original building of SMK La Salle Klang was completed at the year 1952 at the
schools current location along Jalan Raja. SMK La Salle was designed in the influential Art
Deco architecture style which was birthed in France after World War I, succeeding the Art
Nouveau architecture period. It flourished globally during the 1930s and 1940s before its
popularity waned after World War II. Art Deco is an eclectic style that combines traditional
craft motifs with Machine Age imagery and materials. It is often characterized by rich colors,
bold geometric shapes, and lavish ornamentation. It was adapted to a certain extent
throughout prewar Malaysia, particularly in the design of shop houses.
Art Deco emerged from the Interwar period when rapid industrialization was
transforming culture. One of its major attributes is the embrace of technology. The organic
motifs favoured by its architectural predecessor, distinguishes Art Deco from it. During its
heyday, Art Deco represents luxury, glamour, exuberance, and faith in social and
There are a few reasons why we considered La Salle Klang to be an Art Deco
building. The characteristics of Art Deco buildings are usually richly embellished with hardedged, low-relief designs: geometric shapes, including chevrons and ziggurats; and stylized
floral and sunrise patterns. To keep the cost of the building down, Art Deco buildings are
usually of minimalism, ornamental treatment is often limited to the most visible parts of the
The administrative building's facade had conveyed the art deco style with the ample
use of rectilinear lines. Besides that, simple decorative squares also known as banding are
placed on the facade with contrasting colour. In art deco style, everything usually comes in
sets of 3. in this facade we can see the ornamentation such as bandings, cuboids and
flagpole on the roof come in sets of threes.
In classic Art Deco, rectangular blocky forms were often arranged in a geometric
fashion. Similarly to the La Salle Klang building, it comprises of geometrical shapes of
square and rectangles to form the whole facade as well as structure of the building.
The materials used in Art Deco buildings usually includes stucco, concrete, smoothfaced stone, and Terracotta. Steel and aluminum were often used along with glass blocks
and decorative opaque plate glass.
The material used for the school, La Salle was considerably cheap. Materials usually found
on Art Deco style building such as glass blocks are not found in the school most probably
due to its low cost construction. Nevertheless, steel casement windows have been applied
to the facade instead of louver windows used around the less important areas of the school.
Another special characteristic about the architectural style of this building is the
windows. Windows usually appear as punctured openings, either square or round. To
maintain a streamlined appearance for the building, they were often arranged in continuous
horizontal bands of glass. Wall openings are sometimes filled with decorative glass or with
glass blocks, creating a contrast of solid and void forms while admitting daylight.
The Kennedy-Warren Apartments is an example of Art Deco style windows.
The window features in La Salle Klang.
Art Deco designers adorned flat roofs with parapets, spires, or tower-like constructs to
accentuate a corner or entrance. Decorative curiosities such as chimneys were added to
further enhance the design. In the case of La Salle Klang, the reason the the pitch roof is to
suit the local context of Klang that is more of a tropical climate. During rainy days, it is
easier for the rainwater to flow off the roof when it is pitch roofing.
Doorways are sometimes surrounded with elaborate pilasters and pediments, and door
surrounds are often embellished with either reading (a convex decoration) or fluting (a
concave decoration). The quality and extent of the decorative motifs vary by project and
La Salle has many other branches of schools and colleges around the globe. Even so, the
architectural style of Art Deco still leaves its traces in other La Salle’s in Malaysia, mainly La
Salle PJ. The facade of La Salle PJ also has the same characteristic of La Salle Klang, that
is it is basically geometrically formed from basic square and rectangular shapes, windows
that are arranged in continuous horizontal bands of glass.
A panoramic view of La Salle PJ
A panoramic view of La Salle Klang
Art deco architecture, painting, etc. is recognizable because of three main things: distinct geometric
shapes, intense, bright colors that stand out, and a decorative look. "Art Deco is characterized by a
linear, hard edge or angular composition, often with a vertical emphasis, and highlighted with
stylized decoration" (Blumenson 77)
COMPARISON BETWEEN LA SALLE AND CENTEAL MARKET
La Salle School, Klang
Central Market, Kuala Lumpur
Pitched roof was employed
Flat roof was applied
Strong sense of linearity
Ornamentations and intense colors were used
Geometrical massing structure
2.0 BUILDING INVENTORY
Pediment - Pediment shape was employed to create pitch roof.
Ornamentation - 3 chevrons and 3 concrete flagpoles were used as the
Pitched roof was implemented on the building instead of flat roof due to
overcoming the high rain index in Malaysia. Besides that, as an art
deco building, the ornamentation on the building comes in sets of three,
similar to all other art deco buildings. The pediment used to top the
building is simply decorated with simple geometrical shapes which
further enhance the art deco element in the building.
Ribbon windows are constructed to maximise natural lighting within
the building’s interior. Windows in the classrooms are located on
the upper portion of walls so that hot air would efficiently exit while
cool air enters through the doors located on the lower portion of
walls. Furthermore, the elevated windows would prevent rain from
being blown into classrooms which would disrupt classroom
activities. Doors are located at each end of the classroom walls to
enable easy access and exit within the school compound.
The front facade of the building clearly shows linear horizontality and
verticality of the structure. This strong sense of horizontality and
verticality is composed by arranging the openings in a row order. There
is also an obvious rectangular motif in facade of the building. This motif
is repeated throughout the facade and also the main building of the
school. The use of geometrical shapes such as squares and rectangle
is a prominent element in the architectural style of Art Deco.
Facade & Main Classrooms building
La Salle has chevrons motifs all over its pediments, creating an
interesting detail of the facade. The pediments are also one of the
elements that differ from the usual architecture. The pediments are not
the ordinary flat pediments but it takes an angular form, like a triangle.
Besides that, one prominent feature of Art Deco style is the concrete
flagpoles that are found on both the facade and the extruded entrance
platform. In the usual case of an Art Deco building, 3 poles are usually
used to emphasize the verticality of the significant architectural style. At
the extruded entrance platform, there is also a ziggurat form design that
is somewhat similar to other Art Deco buildings in Malaysia, such as
the Central La Salle also uses bright and vivid colors, in this case,
green to stand out from the surrounding buildings.
ARCHITECTURAL BUILDING ANALYSIS
1. Unit to Whole
The geometric shapes used in the building clearly compose and show the
linearity and form the building structure interestingly.
The main mission of La Salle School is education. Hence, the long
horizontal classroom block naturally becomes the most important part of
school with its size and location compare to the other block of the school.
3. Repetitive to Unique
The arrangement and geometric shape used in doors, windows, and
fenestrations on the top of the classroom were repetitively placed and
make the building looks interesting in overall. On the other hand,
repeating linearity also make the school architecture unique from the
4. Private and Public
The private spaces such as offices were located in the main office
building as a hub of the school administration; the public space like
canteen and classrooms are placed radially.
5. Symmetry and
From the facade view of the office building, there is a clear center axial
line that can divide the building equally and symmetrically. At the same
time, placement of flagpoles, chevrons and painted brickworks are also
making the building became balance in overall.
6. Lighting and
Louvered windows and fenestrations on the top of the classrooms allow
natural lighting and breeze come into the interior.
SMK La Salle, Klang. (2012, March 12). Sejarah Sekolah. Retrieved from
SMK La Salle, Klang. (2013, January 2). Sejarah Pengetua. Retrieved from
A. Johari, personal communication, December 4, 2013