In Kuala Lumpur, one of the most modern cities in Asia with a hectic pace of life, it is easy to overlook the blend of Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures and the corresponding traditional and colonial architectural treasures.
However, with artist Chin Kon Yit and architects Chen Voon Fee and Lim Take Bane as guides, Kuala Lumpur: A Sketchbook will remind citizens of the riches that remain, help visitors to appreciate the city’s unique character and serve as a poignant memento.
This new revised edition contains more than 150 watercolour paintings and sketched details depicting the city’s grandest buildings, humblest shophouses and typical street scenes. After an historical survey of the founding of KL, six chapters survey the city’s main districts and building types. Each chapter opens with a concise introduction, before a lively collection of annotated illustrations takes the reader around the most visited tourist sites and little-known backstreets in search of the living relics of a bygone era.
Chin Kon Yit is one of Malaysia’s most eminent watercolour artists. He is largely a self-taught artist, having been forced to abandon art school after one year’s studies due to lack of funds. However, his natural skills and determination won him a prominent position in a leading advertising agency, and he worked in this field for 15 years. In his spare time, he pursued his own interests in fine art, painting street-life and architectural subjects in particular. In 1991 he became a full-time artist. Kon Yit’s work has been shown in several solo exhibitions in Kuala Lumpur, many joint exhibitions, displayed in several hotels, and published in calendars and on stationery. This is his first book, and contains wholly original and previously unpublished works.
The award-winning architect Chen Voon Fee, well known for his building designs and his conservation projects, was the author and architectural consultant for Kuala Lumpur – A Sketchbook. He was particularly proud of the KL Central Market conservation and adaptive reuse project. One of the founding members of Badan Warisan Malaysia (Heritage of Malaysia Trust), he devoted much of his time to promoting public awareness of the historical value of Malaysia’s old buildings and their environment. The Sketchbook was another channel for him to educate the public on the need for conservation: "We might not have a Borobodur or Angkor Wat, but we have a wonderful range of vernacular and public buildings which reflect the history of our people."
Lim Take Bane, a practising architect, was imbued with a love of heritage architecture while studying architecture in Canterbury, England. Among other interests, he has been a strong advocate for heritage conservation.
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