The Centre was set up in June 1996 on the foundation of numerous intricate measured drawing works done by the students of the Department of Architecture out of concern for the rapid disintegration and elimination of Malaysia ‘s architectural heritage. With the accumulation of these works since 1975 (over 350 buildings documented), the research towards the identification, classification and analysis of the architectural heritage was established through undergraduate and post-graduate studies.
Background and Role of Kalam
- To provide information that would aid the process of planning settlements and the design of buildings which is more suited to the context and continuity of the cultures of the Malay World.
- The Centre came into being out of a wider concern for the understanding of the Malay World which stretches out to a greater part of the Asian continent and the Pacific archipelago. The Centre was set up for the sole purpose of conducting research towards a better understanding of the factors influencing the relationship between built form and the many cultures of the Malay World. Much of the planning of cities and settlements in this part of the world were based primarily on Western planning concepts from the early modernist movements during the early part of the twentieth century. These planning concepts were rooted in the idea of progressivism which is premised on the notion that there would eventually exist a common global culture amongst all the inhabitants of the world. These final years of the twentieth century has seen the inevitable fact that although there exist some similarities amongst the various cultures of the modern world, each culture still holds strongly to some form of traditional belief system.
- This realization brought about the idea that the planning of settlements must take into account the peculiarities of certain race and culture. The heritage of built environment in the Malay World holds many keys to the better understanding of eternal design principles and lessons of crucial use to the present concerns of buildings and cities.
- Documentation of buildings and aspects of the built environment for the purpose of understanding the forces that influence their designs.
- Analysis of the historical data for the purpose of adaptation and assimilation of the past built environment heritage that are valid in the context of cultural continuity.
- Educating the public about the importance of understanding the built environment heritage from the perspective of its potential positive development.