Aesthetically, British colonial
architecture in Malaysia is essentially a hybrid. Under Western influence, the buildings
sometimes look Classical, sometimes Gothic and sometimes show the influence of oriental
forms. Most of them were modified to a greater or lesser degree by the use of local
building materials and architectural traditions.
Generally, the buildings can be classified into several architectural
styles including Moorish, Tudor, Neo-Classical and Neo-Gothic.
The Moorish influence can be seen in many buildings in the heart of
Kuala Lumpur, such as the Old General Post Office and the majestic Sultan Abdul Samad
Secretarial Buildings, both of which were built between 1894 and 1897. They were designed
by Arthur Charles Alfred Norman (A.C.A. Norman), a senior
architect in the Public Works Department of Malaya. Other buildings include the Railway
Station (1911), and the Railway Administration Headquarters (1917). The latter two
buildings were designed by A.B. Hubback, an acting chief architect of Malaya who had
worked for a time in the public Works Department in India. To portray the Islamic faith of
the Malays, the architect looked to the Moghul architecture of northern India for
Tudor, however, is the architecture style of two social club buildings
in Kuala Lumpur. They are the Royal Selangor Club building, built around 1884, and the
Selangor Chinese Club built in 1929. The architectural style, which features large exposed
wooden beams in half-timbered walls, was the typical model for some of the earliest social
club buildings in the country.
Some examples of Neo-Classical buildings are the elegent Municipal
Council building in Georgetown built in 1879, the Town Council Offices (former Police
Contingent building) in Klang built in 1910, and the Seremban State Library which was
formerly known as the State Secretariat building built in 1912. The architects used
classically proportioned columns and plaster, using Doric, Ionian and Corinthian capitals,
to create these majestic structures.
There are relatively few colonial buildings built in the Neo-Gothic
style. For instance, Carcosa mansion, another good example of the hybrid nature of
colonial architecture, which is located on a hill top in Kuala Lumpur. The building was
originally built in 1897 as the official residence for Sir Frank Swettenham, who was the
British Resident-General of the Federated Malay States. The design of the building was
largely influenced by Tudor and Gothic styles.
As might be expected, religious buildings are mainly Neo-Gothic. An
example of this Neo-Gothic architecture is the Church of the Holy Rosary in Kuala Lumpur
built in 1903. The building portrays many of the typically Gothic features of the churches
of Europe. The church was established to serve the needs of the Chinese community in Kuala
Old General Post Office, Kuala Lumpur
Sultan Abdul Samad Building,