Friday 4th January, 2020 : Malaysia has been a key destination for Kansas University (KU) of Lawrence USA for its Architectural Study Tour Programme since 2013. The University's fifth visit to the country had commenced from 4th to 11th of January 2020 with the participation of 39 students and two faculty members. According to KU Architecture Head of Study Visit Programme, Associate Professor Dr. Kapila Silva, Malaysia is a fascinating architectural destination due to its rapid development whilst rich in culture. In this regard, Malaysia had contributed several places of interest for the visit, which overall had also included Singapore and Japan.
Institut Sultan Iskandar (ISI) UTM, supported by the Department of Architecture, Faculty of Built Environment and Surveying, hosted the Kansas University's delegation for the Tour that extended over a period of 8 days 7 nights while covering renowned architectural sites across Johor, Melaka, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Selangor. The Director of Malaysia Architectural Study Tour for ISI UTM, Associate Professor Dr Khairul Anwar Mohamed Khaidzir, had underlined the importance of such visit in terms of international visitors appreciating Malaysia's unique places and cultures by way of experiencing through architecture. This enabled them to comprehend Malaysia's unique historical and cultural development as characterised through the architectural domain that underwent the formative phases of modernism (1955-1970), postmodernism (1971-1990), and the era of globalisation and rapid urbanisation (1991- 2019).
The Architectural Study Tour 2020 had provided the visitors an immersive overview of the characteristic Malaysian Architecture by highlighting how the the latter's various adaptive responses and innovative interpretation to the built environment had affected traditional expressions in architecture, informed award-winning modern and iconic architecture, and generated environmental-friendly habitats. Inaugurating the Tour on the first day were building visits to Architect Razin's Denai House in Kempas, Johor and Datuk Dr Haji Rudin Salinger's Rudinara House. The second day of the Tour involved Architect Jimmy Lim-designed Seputeh and Schnyder Houses as well as Architect Hijjas Kasturi's home and artists' residence of Rimbun Dahan in Kuang. Day three of the Tour culminated in the visits to Ar. Lee Cherng Yih's sustainable design for the Planterbox House, Architect WHBC's Chempenai House, Architect Wooi's award winning Residence in Shah Alam and Batu Caves. In the the final days of the Tour, group had also visited Arc Rimbayu (Bandar Saujana Putra), Tamarind Square (Cyberjaya), places and events of interest around the planned city and administrative centre of Putrajaya (Tasik Cruise, Dataran Putra, Putra Mosque, Prime Minister’s office and Sultan Mizan Mosque), the National Mosque at Jalan Perdana, PAM Building at Jalan Tandok, Alila Bangsar Building and not to be missed, the world-famous Petronas Twin Towers and KLCC Skybridge. At the end of the Tour, our visitors were served a memorable farewell Dinner and ceremony at the Atmosphere 360 Revolving Restaurant in Menara Kuala Lumpur (KL Tower).
The Malaysia Architectural Study Tour Programme reflects a strong commitment by ISI and Kansas University (KU) Architecture Department in fostering strong academic and socio-cultural ties and in promoting effective learning mobility through international visit. The current visit had enriched KU Students and Staff of the Malaysian experience from the Architectural standpoint, thus further increasing their understanding especially of other cultures, communities, and languages.