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Taiping Peace Centre

Part 1 Project 2010
Nik Arief Nik Ab. Rahman
University of Malaya | Malaysia
This design project started off as a multi-layered generative approach, organized in a linear process. Although the formative process sequencing is linear, the different generative topics were concurrent in the whole design process. The main theoretical starting point was the interest in the effect of images of war and the emotions it triggered by different degrees of visual perception. This led to the abstract idea of ideation through the use of war-related images, and ultimately translating those perceptions objectively into a design proposal.

The three key processes were Context-based design, Architectural tectonics, and the Narrative. It is the intent of the designer to be exploratory in the architectural processes, and defining the project brief individually. The main interest was to merge these 3 separate generators coherently as an architectural product.

For the Peace Centre to engage the scale of the entire town, to generate vibrations far beyond its own site perimeters, it must somehow embody the essence of the machine: the device in pursuit of liberation. The inherent productive capabilities of the machine must, therefore always imply a context larger than the thing itself. The determined usage in relation to program and function, is in effect a statement of CHANGE, embodied in a physical container. In this context, the Peace Centre’s role challenges the idea of a building as a repository of function, and proposes to be a context to be expounded upon. The subjective reading of a building between object and subject is an objective fiction, by projection of analogy based on reference (experience, opinion, prejudice, situation, etc.). The multi-layered design is meant to be subjectively read (if it is legible at all), and individually interpreted, as an act singular in its action, specific in its purpose, which is to generate and to inject meaning.

An analogous representation of Information vs. Experience is attempted in the design process. Conceptually, it is suggested that Information has overridden the main determinant in life, which is Experience, becoming a major paradox in War/Peace issues. In the Peace Centre, experience becomes the main differential and parameter, both physically and programmatically.

Nik Arief Nik Ab. Rahman

In the 21st century, Malaysians needed to remind themselves of peace by reflecting the conflicts of the past.The Peace Centre is a project symbolising the Town of Everlasting Peace ie Taiping, Malaysia. At the turn of the last century when the British ruled Malaya, the area around this town experienced conflicts resulting in gang and clan-related wars fighting for control of the rich tin-mining activities.

The designer intended to "transform" a situation of destruction to growth and regeneration by using analogies of experience, opinion, prejudices and situations of conflict throughout the design. The visitor of the Peace Centre would be nourished by the experience, rather than just processing of information.

The use of linear elements is to provide a journey of these analogies and interpret the architectural programme to achieve the means of understanding peace through the negation of war.

The projects strives to create a balance of experience through the use of scale and spatial experience, juxtaposed with heightened tactility and material used.


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