A true melting pot, our Malaysian culture has assimilated influences both from the East and West. The mixture of these different entities is eminent in our food, the way we dress, the way we communicate, and certainly, our buildings. Although we have the traditional Malay house, our streets and kampongs are entrenched with Arabian, European, Indian, and other types of architecture.
|Astaka Morrocco, Putrajaya|
With a large portion of Malaysians being Muslims, it is only natural that we are able to see strong influences from the Middle East in our buildings. Mosques all over the country incorporate the traditional and modern Islamic designs such as the dome, the minarets, and the arches. The Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia is an epitome of such beauty. The influences of Islamic architecture come from cultures such as Moroccan, Persian, and North Indian.
The Minangkabau house, or rumah gadang, is a unique architectural splendor that originates from Sumatera, Indonesia. Dominantly seen in Negeri Sembilan where the Minangkabaus mostly reside in, the rumah gadang is quickly recognized by its dramatic, upsweeping gables that form horn-like ends.
|Old architecture influenced by the Chinese architecture|
with European Characteristics.
The streets of Malacca and Penang are embedded with rows of town houses, constructed during the Dutch Colonial period. The town house bears designs from the Doric and Corinthian in its columns and pillars, Venetian windows, and European solid shutters. These town houses were modeled from the Chinese architecture, with European characteristics.
|KL shop houses|
Kuala Lumpur itself endorses strong European traits when the Chinese tin-miners migrated there in 1850s. The tin-miners adopted the houses from Malacca and Penang, using similar styles of European architecture. The Kuala Lumpur shop houses were 3-storey high with large single wooden beams and held up by heavy pillars. Utilitarian and neo-classical designs from Europe form the shop houses of Kuala Lumpur.
From said influences and many more, our architecture has bred into inimitable structural designs such as the Chinese Baroque, Chitya Indian Vernacular, Colonial, and right into our modern styles. And I say, this is one of the nice things we Malaysians have.