Daylight in Buildings

Light of Revival


Yi Yang Chai


Dr. Norafida Ab Ghaffar


University of Malaya



Light of Revival

Project Description

LIGHT OF REVIVAL REVITALIZATION OF SHOPHOUSES THROUGH INTERVENTON OF LIGHT Western colonialism in Malaysia spanned over 100 years had left various typologies of colonial-style architecture across the heritage cities, which is now an exquisite historical legacy of the country, an emblem of collective memories. Shophouses are one of the common typologies that were once being the pulse of daily living, but currently many are being left empty or lost its essence within the midst of ever-changing transformation. While acknowledging the identity and existence of these historical archetype, yet intrigued by the notion of adaptive reuse and urban heritage regeneration- the project started off by posing question: ‘What if the shophouses are able to gain a second life instead of being an empty shell for the sake of conservation?’ Daylight is a crucial natural element in tropical architecture, playing important roles in passive design. Falls under tropical climate, Malaysia is blessed with abundance of daylight all year round. By bringing in natural lighting, this project re-imagines the adaptive reuse of shophouses through the intervention of daylight. This process attempts to grant the old buildings with new purpose and adaptation to the contemporary context and environment, considering most of the typical shophouses are designed in enclosed deep layout which forbids daylight and openness. In order to revitalize the shophouses, they are repurposed as local museum that documenting the memories of township and communities, and daylight will become part of the interpretive essentials. This project proposes the programmatic intervention and innovation of spatial qualities, through the implementation of features like courtyard, chimney, channel, perforation, fenestration, gap and so on. The combination elevates daylight as a speculative character of the museum, acting as a guiding path or a journey of experience, that leads the audiences to discover and unfold the story lies within the architecture. This approach retains the exterior image of heritage fabric, but hopefully infills new spirit within the interior spaces. In this project, daylight is being utilized as a poetic resolution in reviving the soul of traditional shophouses. Accompanied with the newly introduced programmes, the light shall rejuvenate a new life to these seemingly eliminated architecture, providing nourishment to elongate their lifespan and empowering their endeavors upon the rapid urbanization and modernism- portraying the meanings of ‘Light of Revival’.