1.0 HISTORY OF KLANG
Klang is one of the oldest towns in Selangor. The names itself been derived by Malay
words, “Kilang” which means warehouses and factories. It also has been a human settlement
since 2,000 years ago due to the instruments used during Iron Age called “Tulang Mawas” were
In the past, Klang was already famous due to its high – grade tin and also the Klang River
itself. The Klang River was marked and named on the earliest maritime charts prepared by
navigators who accompanied the Chinese Admiral Cheng Ho on his visits to Malacca from 1409
1433. In addition, metals were found in Abundance In - Stream and along the river.
1.0 HISTORY OF KLANG
Therefore, the desire to control Klang led directly to several wars back then. It started when Raja
Mahadi fought against Raja Abdullah to regain what he considered his birthright as territorial chief in
the Selangor Civil War 1867-1874. Raja Mahadi failed to gain full control of the state after the
British intervention and control.
Despite the transition, Klang never lost its appeal and heritage. Nowadays, we can see
several buildings remain the traces of historical background. From the roof to the façade of famous
buildings, there are a lot of interesting tales and stories to tell.
| ONE OF THE FAMOUS BUILDING IN KLANG, MAHKOTA PURI PALACE |
| SITE CONTEXT |
JALAN TENGKU KELANA, KLANG
P R E W A R
S H O P L O T S
G E D U N G
R O Y A L
G A L L E R Y
R A J A
A B D U L L A H
| Kota Raja Fire & Rescue
| SITE CONTEXT |
JALAN TENGKU KELANA, KLANG
KLANG RAILWAY STATION
Built in 1890
1930 & 1940
at Jalan Raya Timur
| SITE CONTEXT |
JALAN TENGKU KELANA, KLANG
Built in 1909
Western and Classical
Architect’s name is
It was the British
It was Royal Malaysia
GEDUNG RAJA ABDULLAH
Built in 1857
It was turned into a police
station and remained so
The lock ups, with Iron
Wrought Gates, still exist
1.1 HISTORY OF KOTA RAJA FIRE & RESCUE STATION |
Built in the 1890s, the fire station is one of the oldest building still standing until today. Situated
at the junction of Tengku Diaudin Road and Tengku Kelana Road overlooking the Klang Bridge, this
unique building is hard to miss. During those times, the construction of the fire station was supervised
by the local police department before it was handed over to District Council in the year of 1950. In
1967, the district council handed over the control of the building to the State government and finally
was placed under the Federal government in 1978.
During the administration of the police department, this building was used as a storage
ammunition as well as office spaces until the 1950 in which it was then used as a police station. At the
time, the building was designed to amplify sounds of incoming attacks from Japanese occupiers. The
back part of the buildings were also used as quarters for the policemen.
Today, although the building has been renovated, the Victorian-styled building architectural elements
are still maintained under the orders of the Selangor Sultan.
1.2 Contextual Conditions
1.2.1 Physical Aspects
Since it was built in the Victorian times the fire station has the physical aspect of a typical Victorian
building. Although there are many different types of Victorian houses they all share many of the same
detailed physical aspect. During our visit to the fire station in Klang we immediately spotted the rendered
reddish brick wall (Figure 1.2a), which stood out in the streets of Klang. A technique called the Flemish
bond brick (Figure 1.2b) which consists of alternating headers(bricks whose end appears on the face of the
wall) and stretchers(bricks whose long side appeared on the face of the wall) to bring about the uniqueness
of the exterior of a Victorian-styled building.
Figure 1.2.1a Reddish brick wall facade
Figure 1.2.1b Flemish bond brick
Entering the building we stepped on geometric, terracotta floor tiles in the porch area and through
the ground floor. As for the roof, on the ridge (where two sides of sloping or pitched roof meet) and gable
ends they often have finials, a small carved ornament on the point this type of roof is called a slate roof.
Arched doors in the interior and wood siding was used for Clapboard siding. A round shaped post known as
a column usually holding and supporting the roof up are also seen in the fire station .At the back entrance
of the fire station, timber- framed porches can be seen, with lattice work(an opened framework of strips,
with a crisscross pattern). (Refer to building inventory).
1.2.2 Social Aspects
Brick-built buildings offer high levels of comfort, although we all have our own ideas about what
brings out a comfortable environment. Some of these ideas are difficult to quantify, we studied a number of
factors that bring out or show us the level of comfort in the fire station. The fire station has wide openings
and are mostly kept open as they are the entrance of the fire brigade; this opening takes at least half of the
front facade of the building (Figure 1.2.2a), because of this the acoustic level travelling from the inside to
the outside and vice versa is really high, thus lowering the comfort level. However when it comes to the
inter-space noise control, the brick walls separating the spaces and the mostly shut sliding windows lower
the chances of sound transfer from one space to another.
The thermal conditions inside this building vary in different spaces. The main space (engine
bay) of the building were the fire brigade and the fireman's uniforms and most of the
equipment is kept, is in a form of a courtyard that is open space (Figure 1.2.2b), here the
thermal conditions depends on the weather conditions, when we visited the fire station it was
a hot afternoon thus this space was equally hot. However the other spaces were closed up
spaces and these are the offices consisting of the meeting room (Figure 1.2.2c), control room
(Figure 1.2.2d), office spaces (Figure 1.2.2e), and new standby locations. These spaces are
fully air conditioned and are always closed therefore air movement is within the space and it is
always cool. As for the old stand-by spaces(Figure 1.2.2e) which now the fireman do not use
due to extremely small space and no source of ventilations at all caused by the lack of
windows, the thermal conditions in this space if very low.
The main structure of the building is made of brick walls therefore the absorption of moisture in
walls is about twelve to twenty percent therefore just enough to obtain a proper bond between the motor
and the bricks., because of this the main exterior walls of the fire station even though they are extremely
old, have hardly grown mold, however the interior walls which separate the spaces absorbs a lot of
moisture due to the material used is timber, thus most of the walls have mold grown in them (Figure
1.2.2g).Because it is a fire station, there are no toxic emissions emanating from the building fabric into the
internal space, making it extremely clean environment.
And as for the levels of safety, the building is mostly made of open spaces thus a lot of exiting areas and
firefighting equipment’s (Figure 1.2.2h) all over the building thus high level of safety in case of fire and
flooding, however less safe in case of burglary due to the open all spaces in the building are connected to
the main courtyard area, thus high levels of flexibility in the circulation of the building.
1.2.3 Cultural Aspects
Until today, the building has many of its original designs and elements kept intact. The Victorian
style has been maintained by the Federal government as the sultan of Klang did not want any modern
changes to be made. The materiality of the building are still visible, even though some of the wood and
timber may have perished over time. Paint has been applied over the wood to enhance the perished and
demolished sections of the building. The building still depicts all the Victorian elements (Refer to building
inventory) such as:
Patterned Walls-These can be seen all around the station, they are placed in a Fleming bond, which was
common to the Victorian style
Terraces and Porches - towards the back of the station, a small terrace is created using glazed timber, it
also has some lattice work done on it. It probably seats two people. While sitting in it, one can get an
average view of the street in front. The porches were like gardens built at the front and rear.
Barge boards – Distinctive decorative wooden panels were visible on the gable of the pitched roof.
Decorated roof lines and slates-Again at the ends of the gable, small carved finials were placed to adorn
Floor tiles - The use of geometric, earthly clay tiles was common to Victorian architecture. The fire station
floor is layered with terracotta tiles, which are in keeping with the neutral colours of the rest of the building.
Columns - Cylindrical columns uphold the roof, and they are also painted in earthly colours.
Arched doors - The arched doorways, express Victorian architecture.
Clapboard Sidings - Long, thin wood panels that overlap one another are projected out of the walls.With
all the remains of the original building, the Government has managed to preserve the building and keep it in
its original form. Hence the city of Klang is known to be the historical city of Malaysia.
1.2.4 Economical and Political Aspects
Economically, Klang has always been of key strategic importance. By the 19th century, the
importance of Klang greatly increased by the rapid expansion of the tin mining industry. The royal town
remained the chief outlet for Selangor’s tin. In 1901, it became the official seat of Sultan Suleiman,
however, today, Klang is no longer a state capital or the main seat of the ruler, but it remains the
headquarters of the district. With all the flourishing income made through trade and business, Klang
become the 16th busiest port across the globe. Building the fire station was not much of a hassle, as
Malaysia’s place in this exchange commodity was as a leading exporter of raw materials (tin, rubber,
timber, oil, etc.) and an importer of manufactures.
The political history of the building involves the government and public affairs of Malaysia. The fire
station as mentioned earlier was a police station. Klang encompasses three parliamentary seats: Kapar
(Mr. Manikavasagam a/l Sundaram of PKR), Kota Raja (Mdm. Siti Mariah Mahmud of PAS), and Klang (Mr.
Charles Anthony Santiago of DAP). All three are held by the Pakatan Rakyat coalition. These
constituencies are subdivided into state seats. The construction of the fire station was never a major issue
between the parties, as it was constructed for the city’s security. The maintenance of the building was also
not as costly, as most of the materials used were natural materials. Just every now and then, services were
required to polish up the building.
2.0 ARCHITECTURAL ELEMENTS|SPECIAL FEATURES
2.0 BUILDING INVENTORY
2.1 Patterned Walls
Flemish brick bond
Colors blends with the environment but distinct with the patterns
Different colour for contrast
The patterns can be seen on the front and side elevation of the fire station.
Victorian houses often used what is known as Flemish brick bond, which
consists of alternating headers (bricks whose end appears on the face of the
wall) and stretchers (bricks whose long side appeared on the face of the wall)
along each course with the headers centered on the stretchers above and
2.2 Gardens and Porches
Gardens and Porches
Timber from the roofing of the fire station dating back to World
War II are reused as railings and floorings
Ladder leading up to the porch
Furniture with detailing provided
Victorians were fond of porches in front of the main door into their
houses. Styles ranged from enclosed stone or brick porches to open
and part glazed timber framed porches. In the fire station, timber framed
porches can be seen, with lattice work (an opened framework of strips,
with a crisscross pattern).Smalls gardens in the fire station, can also be
seen at the front and back.
2.3 Side-gabled and Front-gabled Roof
Side-gabled and Front-gabled Roof
Presence of ridges
Victorian houses commonly have slate roofs, on the ridge (where
two sides of sloping or pitched roof meet) and gable ends they
often have finials, a small carved ornament on the point.
2.4 ARCHES DOOR
- Curve Arch Door
- Timber Framed Door
It is a common thing for Victorian Houses to have Curve Arch Door.
The framed of the door been covered by timber with small window
been include on top of the door. This door also been built with a nice
2.5 CLAPBOARD SIDING
- Wood Siding
- Decoration Purposes
- Can be Painted
This clapboard siding is actually a wood siding commonly used
in house. This clapboard siding a one way to cover from rain
and wind. The gap between siding is to allow oxygen to come in
and also allow a trace of sun into interior.
FACADES / ELEVATIONS
| FRONT ELEVATION |
| LEFT ELEVATION |
| RIGHT ELEVATION |
Overall, the building remains intact with most of its elements in place. It symbolizes the influence of
Victorian elements into the Malay culture. The Federal state government and Sultan have maintained each
corner of the Fire Station well, in that none of its original elements were demolished or renovated. The
Station has served its duty well, in protecting the people of the city, in any emergency. With the sultan's
concern on keeping the building intact and preserving it, the building will serve its duty in many years to
During the course of the interview, the medium of instruction used was the Malay
Language. The interview was divided into audio recording, interviewer, photo-taking and notestaking. Below are parts of the translated transcripts.
F= Fireman Mohamad Syafiee; I: Interviewer
I: Good afternoon Mr Syafiee.
F: Good afternoon. How may I assist you with this interview?
I: Well, basically we would like to know the history of the building and if it is possible for you to
escort us around the fire station.
F: Of course [Lead us to the board describing the history of the station]. The fire station was built
For the full couse of the interview, Mr Syafiee led us to various room and parts of the fire station.
Photographs and notes were documented as shown in the building inventory and diagrams on this
reports. Photographs were taken and documented on the fire station official facebook page: