Literature research on Culture and Civilization Project 3:
[ Art + Architecture + Culture Photobook ]
“ Texture + Life + Instagram ”
NAME: LEE JO YEE
STUDENT ID: 0314880
SCHOOL: School of Architecture, Buildings and Design in Taylor’s University
COURSE: Foundation in Natural and Built Environment April Intake 2013
MODULE: Culture and Civilization (FDES 0815)
LECTURER: Normah Sulaiman . Delliya Mohd.Zain
TUTOR: Normah Sulaiman
[ INTRODUCTION ]
This assignment we are require to produce a A5 sized coffee table book based on a specific
themes from the list given. The coffee table book is a graphical expression of a place(s) that we
have chosen and that has the connection with the theme chosen too.
[ CONCEPT ]
The idea is to capture the hidden texture and pattern in these 5 historical places in Penang and
present them under the Instagram filters, in order to give an insight to the readers regarding the
historical, architectural and social aspect of Penang from the past till now.
[ THE BOOK ]
STYLE OF THE BOOK: Journal
AWARENESS / FOCUS OF THE STUDY: the hidden texture and pattern in Penang
AUDIENCE: Young generations, Inspiration seekers
STYLE OF THE PHOTOS: Instagram filter, more close to the trend of the younger generations
WRITING STYLE: Journal writing in 2 days
[ PLACE CHOSEN ] >> PENANG ISLAND, MALAYSIA
Penang is situated at the Northern Region of Malaysia and is the most populated island in
Malaysia. It is connected to the Mainland via a well-known bridge known as Penang Bridge. The
history of Penang can be traced back to 1786 when it was discovered by the famous Captain
Francis Light and later on has developed into one of the early developed states In Malaya.
The reasons that I am choosing Penang as my spot to capture are
1. the great variance in terms of culture and architecture due the different races, such as
Chinese, Indians, Arabs, Malays, Achehnese, Siamese, Burmese and Europeans.
2. Perfectly conserved heritage zone that is proudly listed as one of the UNESCO World
Heritage Zone (2008) and
3. the fascinating fusion of eastern and western influences in Penang.
To further show the authentic value the chosen place efficiently, I have narrowed down the
area to only 5 places inside the heritage zone of Penang – Georgetown.
The Heritage Zone of Penang
1. Chew Jetty located at Pengkalan Weld. Because that area which full of traditional
wooden houses was the earliest settlement of the pure Penang people.
2. Traditional old shop houses at Armenian Street (Lebuh Armenian). The reason why
this street is chosen is because the presence of the foreigners – the prominent
Armenians clan. I wish to capture the fusion of Eastern and Western architecture over
3. Mahamariamman Temple situated at Queen Street ( Lebuh Queen ). It is located
inside Little India, an famous zone which full of genuine old-fashioned Indian tailor
shop, floral shops, restaurant and mamak store. I wish the capture the cultural
variance of the place.
4. Town Hall situated at Light Street (Lebuh Light). One of the famous colonial
buildings that was built during the British settlement and I wanted to tell the story of
the past by using the building as a subject.
5. Standard Charted Bank situated at Beach Street (Lebuh Pantai). The British has leave
with a major impact on the locals, especially on the economics. Beach street remains
as the core financial center for the locals until today which accommodate more than 5
banks and numerous offices.
The five places above has arranged in a chronologically way such as the time when the
building(s) or area was established so that the readers are indirectly learning the history of
Penang via the coffee table books.
*It starts off with the oldest generation came from different countries and settled down
themselves in these wooden houses at the seaside. Then, their beloved children were sent to
British countries for a better education and they came back with knowledge to enhance their
homes. Later on, the British settlement has brought great impact on the politics, economics
and socials aspect of the locals until the modern days.*
The readers are getting these chunks of light information slowly in each place in a journal
form. I will further explain how these unique places associate with the theme I have chosen.
[ THEME ] >> ARCHITECTURE >> TEXTURE AND PATTERN
In architecture, texture and pattern are parts of the creation that bring out the characteristics of it,
or to make it “come alive”.
According to the arthistory.about.com website (Esaak), TEXTURE is in fact an element of art,
which is used to describe either the way a three-dimensional work actually feels when touched,
or the visual “feel” of a two-dimensional work.
On the other hand, PATTERN (Esaak, about.com) is also a principle of art and normally means
the repetition of an element (elements) in a work.
The reason why I have chosen Texture and Pattern is because they are able to tell the story of
the place that I have chosen. Let it be the cracking old wall of the old shop houses to the shiny
reflective glass on the panel, every detail of the building reveals the lifestyle of our ancestors
because the building is built back then to solve the problem they faced. And the best part is,
some even evoke your memories.
Texture and pattern of a building reflect the culture and tradition of the people who is living in it.
For example, Indian temples have a lot of sculptures, seemingly repetitive crafting, and detailed
façade that indirectly imply the holiness and faithfulness of the religious locals.
Secondly, it was a great opportunity for me to learn and inspect the building materials via the
texture and pattern of it. Throughout different time zone, the locals have tried to solve the
problems (such as weather, humidity, ventilation and etc) and came out with different
approaches of building materials.
[ THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE THEME AND THE PLACE ]
1. HISTORICAL + TEXTURE:
Why is the colonial style buildings exist in this place? Why do they have an Indian temple in this
area full of Chinese? Some of the texture even show there is a fusion between two or more
different races or culture in architecture, when was it happened? To those questions, the answers
are more convincing with the texture and pattern as an evidence.
2. ARCHITECTURAL + TEXTURE:
Some of the texture and pattern clearly show the style of the buildings. For example, the old shop
houses at Armenian Street are a mixture of Eastern and Western architecture where the wooden
windows are in traditional Chinese form and the beautiful tiling on the floor were inspired from
the Western style. Below are pictures of what I have found during the research.
Source from :
Source from : http://shanghaistreetstories.com/?p=6314
3. SOCIAL + TEXTURE:
The environment truly has relations with the people who living with it. From what I have
observed and learned during the journey, visual imagination can be sensed from the texture and
pattern of the surrounding about the lifestyle and behavior of the society back then. They haven
given a definition of life to them.
I have given each of the places a journal title regarding the social aspect:
CHEW JETTY: LIFE IS SCARS: Most of the textures found in the Chew Jetty were wooden
planks, covered with randomly arranged woods grains. It looks rough and old for a second, but
you appreciate the beauty of it later. Just like the experienced people who work hard every day
for a better future.
ARMENIAN STREET: LIFE IS PROMISE: Most of the shop houses are wooden and fragile
ceramics are not very strong materials. They have windows as low as your waist and beautiful
European tiling to attract customers. There are none high electronics executing fence or high
wall nor the spiky window panel. In business or neighborhood, they trusted each other.
QUEEN STREET : LIFE IS RESPECT: The little India is full of colorful decorations,
Bollywoods music and detailed sculptures and crafting. Despite of being surrounded by area of
different races, they have no afraid in showing their traditions and believes. They did not try hide
but expressing their culture in a respectful way.
LIGHT STREET : LIFE IS DIGNITY: From the texture of the building, it is fully conserved
and look unharmed after several renovations. It proven that the locals did not express their angry
being colonized in a violence and brutal way by destroying the building but instead solve it in a
BEACH STREET : LIFE IS A RUSH: As one of the major bank at the area, Standard Charted
bank has the combination of stone and glass as the main building materials. It has possessed a
classic and professional image to the people surrounded it. Hence, in response to it, most of the
people turned up wearing formal suits and walking fast there.