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British Colonial Architecture
The appearance of the colonial power, Great Britain in the 20th century has led to British Colonial
architecture in Malaysia. British Colonial architecture branches out to a few styles. Most of the British
Colonial architecture in Malaysia have Moghul architecture influence as the architects were in love with its
style. Both Tudor & Victorian styled buildings were also built during the British reign such as the Central
Market, National Art Gallery, Malaysia Tourism Center and Coliseum Theater.
Tudor styled building: Royal Selangor Club
List of British Colonial buildings covered
1. Old KL Railway Station
2. KTM Administrative Building
3. Masjid Jamek
4. City Theatre
5. Old High Court/Kementerian Pelancongan dan Kebudayaan Building
6. Sultan Abdul Samad Building
7. National History Museum
Old KL Railway Station
The present KL Railway Station building is actually the third station as there were actually two stations
previously built at different locations. The first was built in 1886 and located opposite the Selangor club. It
was called the Resident Station as it was near a British Resident’s house. The second station, Sultan Street
Station, was located in Foch Avenue (now known as Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock) and was built in 1892.
However it was demolished for the construction of modern roads in 1960.
The KL Railway Station building was completed in 1 August 1910 and replaced the Resident Station. The
architect of this building is Arthur Benison Hubback who is responsible for some of the iconic buildings in
Kuala Lumpur. The building is influenced by Mughal architecture which originated from India.
The key element of the building is the onion-shaped dome which sits on the chhatris that are supported by
eight pillars. ‘Chhatri’ means canopy or umbrella and common in Mughal architecture. The extensive use of
arches is also a feature of Mughal architecture.
KTM Administrative Building
Located opposite of the Old KL Railway Station is the KTM Administrative Building. It is also designed by the
same architect who is Arthur Benison Hubback. During the World War II, the KTM Administrative building
was bombed in its North Wing. Then in 1968, the second floor was engulfed by fire.
The key point of the building is the main dome has a cupola which is a smaller dome that sits on the bigger
dome. The cupola is sitting on top of the small pavillion. The word ‘cupola’ means a small cup. Besides that,
key-hole arches and horseshoe arches can be seen on the face of the building.
This mosque is also built by Arthur Benison Hubback. In the 1990s, the centre dome collapsed and was
later rebuilt. The two red and white striped minarets at the corner are identical in design with chhatris on the
top. There are also many small chhatris on top of the entrances and corners of the Mosque.
The building takes the place of the old City Hall of Kuala Lumpur. As expected, it is designed by Arthur
Benison Hubback. A major fire occured in 1992 and destroyed the building. Architects and engineers had
reconstructed the interior and made mofications to the furnishings and sound system. Onion-shaped
domes can be seen at corners of the structure. There is also an extensive use of arches such as the
Old High Court/Kementerian Pelancongan dan Kebudayaan Building
This building is designed by Arthur Benison Hubback as well. It’s distinctive feature are towers topped with
a cupola with decorative buttresses around the base. Passageways with two different types of arches,
horseshoe and painted horseshoe link the two towers together. The towers were originally used as dining
chambers with private tiffin rooms. The sides of the structure has two types of arches as well such as the
keyhole arches on the 1st floor and ogee arches on the ground floor.
Sultan Abdul Samad Building
Sultan Abdul Samad and the British government first used it as the Federated Malay States administrative
office. It was designed by A.C. Norman and R.A.J. Bidwell and built between 1894 and 1897. A prominent
element of the building is the red bricks with the white plaster lined arches. The building has a high clock
tower and two lower towers which are topped with onion-shaped copper domes.
National History Museum
The building was first occupied by The Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China (Now known as
Standard Chartered Bank) which was the first bank to be opened in Kuala Lumpur. It is designed by Arthur
Charles Alfred Norman or also known as AC Norman. Influenced by Mughal architecture, the domes are the
most prominent feature which are located on four corners of the building. The domes are constructed from
belian wood which is a resource commonly found in the Sarawak forest. The use of pointed horseshoe
arches can be seen at the entrance and the windows.
From this research, the appearance of the British colonial power has made Malaysia a multicultural country
and has brought about the creation of many beautiful buildings of different style and influences.
Specifically the Mughal architectural style, most buildings have the dome, chhatris and a variety of arches.
These stunning historical buildings are important heritage that should be preserved by the government as to
ensure its magnificence can be enjoyed by the future generations of Malaysia and as a memento of the
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