l have and I will also agree, a masterplan to save dilapidated undervalued long left standing building originally of great merit but likely lacking in funds or vision or investment due to shortsightedness or misfortune of wrong perception or worse bad intention after they changed hands. We can contemplate this thought together. (Photo courtesy KKBoon). Like most restoration and re investment projects salvaging a torn out or badly preserved or mangled buildings can be both challenging and misrepresented and poorly represented. The most likely chance would be to show potential stake holders, their great returns and marketing this to such an extent as giving multitude returns on even VERY small capital. Many building including some we saw in Berlin recently were carefully uncovered, and discovered, or rediscovered, like how you have discovered or uncovered the cobusien building in ipoh, namely sungai pari tower, salvaged and reconfigured and refurbished from their so called “warehousing” status and disused poorly kept mass housing realm, and then turned high end and desirable and sought after (not in materialistic terms) designs and homes for common people, due to clever redesigns and surprisingly, their excellent locations, I imagine your Ipoh tower is well placed and not poorly located and hence promises great interest if it could be refurbished to look like a million dollars. I guess it was just so badly maintained and no one knew quite how to bring out the best of it (that you noticed) soon to be sucked in by years of low or no maintenance policy and visibly poorly deployed resource, like many great buildings that have slowly aged over the years and forcibly changed hands, a misfortune of sort. And to my assessment, Renny then remarked: “Here is my own similar but slightly different assessment about Sungai Pari Towers, based on previous research back in April-May 2012:

1. Tower is deemed or has been declared unsafe. And the maintenance costs are too high to bear. Tower has been declared ‘unsafe’ in order to force it to be vacated preparatory to sale and demolition (or vice versa). This would be standard municipal practice the world over. For a fact, in 50 years of existence (1962-2012) it has had very limited or perhaps zero maintenance. The ‘maintenance costs’ of every Ipohian municipal and public good – especially drain cleaning and garbage collection – have in recent years, at least, clearly been deemed to costly.
2. Legally there could have been already an issue (much earlier) with strata titles or ownership, or worse there had not never been a permit to occupy .this nevertheless can be fixed through contacting the land survey and land office.
The development was originally built by MBI (Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh) housing agency in 1962 specially for lower income dwellers, including at that time, low level police offficers and other municipal workers. The land, buildings and ‘ownership’ were specifically dedicated to the housing authority for that purpose and undoing that legally binding agreement has proven difficult, especially for the office of the mayor.
3. Structurally not sound or experiencing settlement, etc.
To the professional eye, there are no indications of settlement or structural defect. The structural in in amazingly good shape. There are a few displeasing conditions which laymen or elected officials could find ‘worrisome’ if it suited their purposes. These conditions (see #1 above) are what elsewhere I term ‘cosmetic.’ Typically, when trying to demolish this sort of building – which is under public ownership – it is first necessary to demonize it in all possible ways – and typically this is usually done by ‘calling in the experts’ – be they engineers, architects, law enforcement, socio-cultural advisors or others. Invariably, whatever (other) problems such a place may actually have, there is always talk of drug use, crime and so forth. All vacant buildings attract these ‘ills’ – they become hang-outs and home for squatters – but occupied building rarely do – at least not above the norm for lower income populations in a place like Ipoh, Malaysia, for example, the other well-known social housing in Ipoh, the slightly older, snaking Waller Court up by J.R. Seenivasagam Park. It’s perfectly fine – and also of interest. See image. It’s low flats are similar to the low elements of Sungai Pari Towers, and I’ve speculated that it had the same architect – possibly a young Brit or Brit-educated person familiar with the then recent doings in Chandigarh. Nobody to whom I spoke seemed to know or have the foggiest notion about the design history of Waller Court (or Sungai Pari Towers). With a good coat of paint (according to my scheme) and a new, proper roof (similar to existing, but slightly raised and some other tweeks for better ventilation, photovoltaic, etc. also designed by me!), Waller Court could also be very good.

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One thought on “saving an old glory: letter to renny booth

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