BBGS should not be torn down
Tuesday, my wife and I attended the grand opening of Louis
Vuitton's new global store at the Starhill Shopping Complex.
I thought was an inspired move was halfway through the proceedings,
to transfer the party over to the old BBGS (Bukit Bintang
Girls School) buildings across Jalan Bukit Bintang.
a crowd of more than 2,000 guests, the grounds of the old
school and the buildings were definitely better suited to
accommodate the various activities and shows planned for
now redundant two-storey front school building (office block)
was built in the 1930s.
fine piece of Kuala Lumpurs architectural heritage was marvellously
transformed into a superb venue with former classrooms refurbished
into rooms for dining, drinks and music, including a double-height
discotheque with a stage for performances (achieved by simply
removing the wooden floor boards and beams on the 1st floor.)
indeed a fine example of adaptive re-use of an old heritage
building and certainly showed the wonderful potential of
such heritage buildings worthy of conservation.
guests were treated to a brilliant venue with a fine architectural
ambience lent immediately by real (not fake!) masonry columns
which made up the collonaded verandahs on both floors, lofty
former classrooms and a garden setting of the front driveway,
lined with the original mature royal palm (roystonia regis)
ambience is certainly unmatched elsewhere in the city and
is a great feature and unique attraction of Bukit Bintang
certainly is a fine complement to the other side of the
road, Bintang Walk, with its tighter space constraints.
building also proved versatile in its very adaptable rooms
alas, all this is facing the wrecking ball very soon!
are plans afoot to demolish all the school buildings and
replace them with a new comprehensive urban development.
letter is my last minute appeal to the powers-that-be, i.e.
the owners and the developers, that the front two blocks
of the old school be conserved and incorporated into the
proposed new development.
rest of the new development could proceed accordingly. In
this way, the best of both worlds is obtained with the benefits
of the new development enhanced by the heritage value of
the fine architectural buildings which are imbued with so
much history (Incidentally, the school is 105 years old
this year and was relocated recently to Cheras) and which
evoke lovely memories for residents of KL, not to mention
former pupils, teachers, etc
situation for all! I believe that the value of conservation
of true heritage buildings cannot be overstated.
over the world people are realising the importance and immense
value of preserving their cultural and architectural heritage.
is especially true now that tourism is acknowledged to be
the top money earning industry. Foreign examples of successful
commercial conservation projects include Covent Garden in
London, the Chijmes development and Clark Quay in Singapore.
Our own local success story of the KL Central Market which
just celebrated its 15th anniversary recently bear testimony
to the fact that conservation can also be a commercial success.
old English saying: Do not throw out the baby with the dirty
bath water is relevant here.
means throw out what is of no heritage merit i.e. the later
additions of the school hall, etc. which are of no outstanding
architectural value. But please pause and consider the beauty
of the front blocks of neo-classical design with its beautifully
proportioned and stately, rhythmic, collonaded walkways
and verandahs, high-ceilinged rooms, overhanging eaves etc.
is a fine example of European architecture adapted to a
tropical setting. Surely, this baby is worth keeping and
should not be thrown out with the rest of the school buildings.
KL resident, born and bred here, I will be eternally grateful
that dear old KL will not become a soulless new metropolis
with little history.
reconsider and act quickly to stay the demolition works.