Thursday, September 08, 2005

Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM)

Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM Centre)

The historic buildings that were part of “Loke Hall” and now PAM Centre on Jalan Tangsi would not be standing today if not for Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s intervention in 1980s, in response to concerns from members of the public. These buildings therefore stand as continuing testimony to the City’s commitment to conservation, and PAM is honored to have been part of this effort. Since the then Mayor of Kuala Lumpur entrusted PAM with the dual status as ‘Tenant - Architect” and “Custodian” of the buildings, PAM has successfully met the challenge and fulfilled the obligation to restore, refurbish and maintain these buildings in a good state of repair.

This has been possible with the voluntary efforts, and the technical expertise of PAM Members. PAM Centre is today also a model “conservation” and “adaptive reuse” project for the City, as set out in PAM’s proposition and commitment to the then Mayor of Kuala Lumpur. These days, not only is PAM is closely associated with Loke Hall in the eyes of the local communities, but also to foreign visitors that have heard and came from afar.

PAM will continue to make representations to realise this vision, and is confident that with these activities at PAM Centre, as well as more spaces for galleries, outlets and supporting amenities at the adjoining properties, Jalan Tangsi will be another attraction of the city, as a precint for architecture & arts.

PERTUBUHAN AKITEK MALAYSIA (PAM) is located in a historically important building in Kuala Lumpur.

The origins of the PAM building are as follows

As Loke Hall (1907–1909)

Prominent businessman and municipal councilor, Loke Chow Kit built this sprawling mansion in 1907. Chow Kit could have been much influenced by what he saw during his 1903 European tour with Loke Yew. Built as a town house, it also housed a suite of offices for his mining ventures. Chow Kit could have employed A.K. Musdeen, an Anglo-Indian as his architect. Musdeen designed for Chow Kit Kuala Lumpur’s first department store, the present day Industrial Court Building. In those days, Loke Hall was just up the road from the first railway station. Chow Kit’s main home, "Desswood Place" was sited on a nine-hectare orchard in Jalan Ampang

As Empire Hotel (1909-1919), As Peninsular Hotel (1919-1973)

In 1909, Loke Hall was taken over by a European Group who turned it into the Empire Hotel and remained so for 10 years. Meanwhile in 1916, the ownership of Loke Hall fell to Alan Loke, son of Loke Yew. Loke Hall was renovated yet again and became the Peninsular Hotel. As Empire and then the Peninsular, Loke Hall became a meeting ground for planters and members of the trading houses until 1973 when PAM acquired tenancy of the premises on an initial 2 years lease.

As PAM Centre (1973-current)

In February 1981, the estate of Alan Loke gave PAM notice to deliver vacant possession of the premises before 1 April 1981 as they had sold Loke Hall to Intan Development Sdn Bhd which intended to demolish the PAM Centre Building and the adjoining properties which were part of Loke Hall. The proposal to demolish Loke Hall and redevelop the site drew much public concern. PAM, conservationists and concerned members of the public made representation to the Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL) or KL City Hall. Consequently DBKL decided to acquire Loke Hall. The then Datuk Bandar (Mayor) Y Bhg Tan Sri Dato’ Elyas Omar, on 24 December 1983 wrote to PAM of restoration and refurbishment works to the building. Subsequently PAM’s proposal was submitted to the Datuk Bandar and accepted.

The case for the conservation of Loke Hall arises from its historical, architectural, social and cultural interest. The building is:

1. More than neo-classical in styling; the north wing has a Regency flavour with its balcony terrace and eclectic features.

2. Skillfully laid out with an atrium incorporated and symmetrically composed. It was designed in heavy load bearing masonry yet adapted for tropical living.

3. Artistically built and with a high degree of the Chinese artisan craftsmanship which has since being lost.

4. The pediment, hooded moulds and fanlights, porch, oggia, blind arcade, corner quoins, Regency verandah are only a few of the many details that would intrigue conservationists and architects.

5. A major part of the whole architectural composition comprising the stables annex, nos 8, 12 and 14, up to the present Wisma Ekram.

PAM in its dual status as ‘tenant Architect" and "custodian" of a building gazetted under the Antiquities’ Act has fulfilled its obligations to maintain the building in a good state of repair and restore it in the manner of a model "conservation" and "adaptive reuse" project.

This historic structure would not be standing today if not for KL City Hall’s support for conservation. This building therefore stands as a continuing testimony to KL City Hall’s commitment to conservation and the personal interest of our then Lord Mayor, Y Bhg Tan Sri Dato’ Elyas Omar.


PAM, originally established as the Institute of Architects Malaya (IAM) in 1920 has a history of some 70 plus years. In 1948, the name was changed to the Federation of Malaya Society of Architects (FMSA). Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia – The Malaysian Institute of Architects, under the present constitution was registered with the Registrar of Societies Malaysia on 20 January 1967.

PAM Secretariat

Prior to 1969, there were no permanent secretariat premises. Administration of the Institute’s affairs was conducted from the office of the respective office-bearers. Setting out:

1969 PAM operated from a small rented office in the first floor arcade of the Ku
ala Lumpur Hotel Merlin and the first full time Administrative Secretary was engaged.

1971 The Secretariat could no longer conduct its affairs from the cramped premises at Hotel Merlin and the Secretariat moved to a complete floor of the Koon Hoe Building along Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman.

1972 The PAM Council decided it was crucial to establish a Building Centre to serve the industry and be the base for the PAM Secretariat.

1973 In June 1973, PAM took the bold step of setting up the PAM Centre at No. 4 & 6 Jalan Tangsi. On 12 June 1973, the PAM Building Centre was launched by the Honorable Datuk Ong Kee Hui, Minister for Technology, Research and Local Government.

Posted by Joseph Arputhaswamy