history 2 essay royal klang club

1 [ARC 1323] Architecture Culture & History 2 PRECEDENT STUDY NAME OF BUILDING: Royal Klang Club LECTURER: Ms. Shahrianne STUDENTS’ NAME STUDENTS’ ID Ng You Sheng 0309997 Loo Giap Sheng 0310390 Daniel Yap Chung Kiat 0309100 Christiody 0304191

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Page 1: History 2 essay royal klang club


[ARC 1323] Architecture Culture & History 2


NAME OF BUILDING: Royal Klang Club

LECTURER: Ms. Shahrianne


Ng You Sheng 0309997

Loo Giap Sheng 0310390

Daniel Yap Chung Kiat 0309100

Christiody 0304191

Page 2: History 2 essay royal klang club



Royal Klang Club

Royal Klang Club is a recreation centre which located at Jalan Istana, Kawasan 1,

Klang Selangor, Malaysia.

The Royal Klang Club has come a long way from its beginnings as a bastion for

the white British when Malaysia was still Malaya and under Crown rule. There was an

informal gathering between a group of planters, the port Swettenham administrators and

shipping agents and civil servants at a wooden bungalow on stilts. The wooden bungalow

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had later become the premises of the Klang Recreational Club when it was founded in


Klang was a place where East meet West when the administrative seat of the

Federated Malay State of Selangor. Though the planters who ran the coconut and rubber

plantations were European, their subordinates were locals who, upon learning English,

took to English ways. In an exchange of cultures, many Britons took it upon themselves

to learn Malay, Tamil and Cantonese. This was probably also due to the fact that young

British agriculture officers were actually paid for learning a local dialect.

The establishment of a recreation facility was, as quoted by R.O.Crawford, the

Club’s secretary at the time, “an undoubted necessity”. But letters dating back to 1902

suggest that there may have been administrative problems that could very well have

hampered the growth and formal establishment of the club in its early years.

Whatever theories that may be about the date of its founding, 1901 is the date

which members in recent times have long been led to believe is the year in which the

Club was firmly established. Equally clear is that the Royal Klang Club was then the

domain of the white rajahs; an elite recreation facilities for British civil servants. The

Club set then consisted of planters not unlike the writer Somerset Maugham, members of

the port’s operations staff and members of the British administration system such as the

District Officer, magistrates and medical officers. Another respected member was the

Chief Inspector of Coconuts, a gentleman dedicated to ensuring the quality of the copra

the estates were exporting.

The original clubhouse was a wooden house on stilts – in all probability a

government bungalow which had been set aside as a centre for social and recreational

activities which was restricted to Europeans only. The cost of the building was $1,000 – a

goodly sum in those times.

However, it being a restricted-entry recreation facility did not mean the Club had

no set-up difficulties. Correspondence from its formative years record genteel requests

for government funding to purchase furniture and a billiards table.

It was only five years later that a proper clubhouse was raised. The clubhouse was

built on land that was actually part of the Istana Alam Shah had not yet been constructed.

The Club’s current grounds were handed over to the Club chairman by the District Office

in 1906. Subsequent Chairmen and Presidents were to act as trustees of the property.

During the construction of Royal Klang Club, the land was belonged to Sultan

Selangor's palace grounds. The president of Royal Klang Club successfully convinced the

Sultan Selangor and land was bought after the completion of Royal Klang Club.

Although the land of Royal Klang Club was uneven and consists of plenty of slopes, it

does not affects the club very much because every sports are separated from each other

and built only on a flat and even surface.

By this time, the FMS Railway project had been completed, paring down the

arduous journey from Klang to Kuala Lumpur from a three-and-a-half hour journey by

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boat and bullock cart to a two-hour ride by train. This made socializing easier and

resulted in a number of guests from Kuala Lumpur.

Completed in 1910 after a year’s work, the clubhouse consisted of a hall and

lounge area, dining room, bar and billiards room. The upper portion housed guestrooms

and a theatre, which became a venue for Christmas plays and concerts. The Club’s tennis

courts were the choice location for the Easter lawn tennis tournaments which was part of

the Selangor Lawn Tennis Association’s calendar of events. Its playing field saw rugby,

hockey and cricket teams vying for sporting dominance, with planters teaming up against

personnel from the port authority. The Skye Races, Klang’s equivalent of Ascot, was also

a much-awaited event, taking place on the grounds where the Klang Municipal Stadium

now stands.

The Club survived the ravages of the Japanese Occupation in 1942 to 1945 by

becoming the recreation mess for Japanese Army officers stationed in Klang and Port

Swettenham. While the British returned to Malaya in 1945, it was only after the

Communist insurgency through the Fifties and up to 1960 that the Club once again

became a popular watering hole and meeting place for British folk. The President of the

Club was usually the District Officer or a senior police chief, although planters were also

considered for office.

The surrounding of Royal Klang Club is filled with trees and nature. If we were

playing outdoor sports, we could experience calm and relaxing feeling due to the shade

and wind provided by the nature and context.

A dining area was added to the Club’s structure in 1965. Called the Smuggler’s

Inn, it was nautical in design and décor, featuring fishing nets, beer casks and ship beams.

The large liquor bottles seen today on display near the rafters of the inn are a throwback

to the Sixties. The Smuggler’s officially opened its door on 18 September, 1965 with a

buffet supper being the first meal served.

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In the later part of the Sixties, under the Presidency of Reginald (R.J.) Collins, an

avid theatregoer, the Club saw an increase in the activities of all things dramatic. It

became the centre of British theatrical circles following the establishment of the Klang

Theatre Workshop in 1967. Although there was an increase in the number of Malaysian

faces in the membership after 1957, the Club fell on hard times after Independence. With

the British planters and civil servants departing, the only regular Europeans were those

from the shipping industry who treated the Club as just another port of call.

Malaysian members were still screened carefully in the Sixties, resulting in the

cream of the local crop comprising prominent businessmen and professionals. By this

time, however the Club had deteriorated from lack of maintenance and was highly


The first Malaysian President, Dr Lim Sian Lock, was the man responsible for

pulling the Club out of the red when he took office in 1972. Membership fees were raised

to $50, leaping to $300 in 1974. The fee broke into the four-figure range in 1983 when

membership cost $1,500.

The Club grew to include a swimming pool and annexe during the presidency of

its second Malaysian head, Koh Seng Chong in 1976. Although membership increased

steadily under third President Dato Shaari bin Mat Jihin who served from 1978 to 1981,

the Club did not become a noted sporting entity, with the exception of gold and cricket,

until the Eighties.

However, the long-standing tradition of a Club-wide celebration of the major

festivals was born in this period and continues today. In 1983, the Club was renovated

and expanded under fourth President Tan Kim Chooi who holds the record for the longest

term in office with 10 years. Membership continued to grow under subsequent Presidents

Peter Tan and current head R. Nageswaran. But that is another story altogether. The

Club’s millennium development is explored in the next chapter.

Today, the Royal Klang Club is a landmark in the royal town where Klang

notaries continue to gather socially and professionally, to partake in hearty fare, enjoy

sporting camaraderie and build better communities. The past remains a book to learn

from but the future is wide open and is being written even as this is read. And with such

an illustrious past, the future can only be better.

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Architectural element and style

Royal Klang Club was built in Klang under British Colonial Government.

Although this building was built under British Colonial Government, it had adopted the

Malay traditional house’s concept in design. Malay traditional house consists of the

elements such as vernacular roofs, harmonious proportions, adorned with decorative

elements, shading and ventilation, have stairs and the using of renewable materials. All of

these elements can be shown on Royal Klang Club.

First of all, the planning layout of Royal Klang Club had shown similarities with

the Malay traditional house. The orientation of Royal Klang Club is facing north-east

which had adopted the same concept of Malay traditional house which was facing east-

west to minimize areas exposed to solar radiation. Besides that, this orientation also suits

the wind pattern in Malaysia. Thus, the building will have good ventilation and provide a

cooling space in a tropical country. In the building layout, open plan concept was adopted

in the design of Royal Klang Club in order to provide good ventilation. The elongated

open plans allow easy passage of air, assuring cross ventilation is achieved and thus

create good ventilation.

Renewable material such as timber was used to construct Royal Klang Club in

seventies which share the same feature as the Malay traditional house. Timber used in the

construction of Royal Klang Club usually connected without nails.

The most specific element that we can see on this building is the top part of this

building, which is gabled roof, a basic design of vernacular roof that was used in Malay

traditional house. The roof is extended for quite a distance from the exterior wall of the

building, creating a big area of shades which can cover the building from taking in direct

sunlight and heat. Besides that, the roof designed on a Malay traditional house can trap

hot air and push through the air vent design under the roof. This design can effectively

decrease the heat in the interior space. Furthermore, there was no ceiling panel used in

Malay traditional house to assure that no air blockage. This building had used terracotta

roof tiles because terracotta is a bad conductor of heat, thus the building will remain cool

even during hot climate. Vernacular architecture style in this building was shown by the

construction of the corridor around the main building. The roof is extended to cover over

the corridor, also creating large shades to prevent the main building from taking in the

direct sunlight and heat, maintaining a lower temperature inside the building, which the

design is very suitable for the tropical climate in Malaysia.

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Besides the roof, fenestration design was introduced in Royal Klang Club to

ensure good ventilation in the building. The windows of this building are also an

important architecture element showing the combination of colonial and vernacular

architecture style. There were plenty of large windows and doors can be seen in Royal

Klang Club and those windows were constructing at the body level. This is to allow cross

ventilation in the building. Coordination of architectural elements can be seen between

the corridor and the window.

Royal Klang Club was built on stilts during seventies which had adopted the

elements of Malay traditional house. The reason of building on stilts was to enhance the

ventilation. As the air velocity increase with altitude, Royal Klang Club which built on

stilts will have better ventilation.

The interior of Malay traditional house is adorned with decorative elements which

can also apply in Royal Klang Club. The interior spaces of the Royal Klang Club were

decorated with the leftovers of British colonial ship. The beams, ceiling and columns are

mainly made by timber, the beams are big rectangular in shape and there are repetition of

smaller beams all over the ceiling. While the columns are cylindrical in shape and painted

black in color, marine ropes and fishing nets can be seen hanging on top of each column,

as decorative elements, it gives the interior a feeling of the ship. It is said that those

decorative elements are all from an ancient ship in Port Swettenham which is abandoned,

they were well kept and displayed until now. These decorative items have made Royal

Klang Club become a place of interaction between Malay traditional culture and British

colonial culture.

Every historical building has a priceless essence and value, and the essence of the

Royal Klang Club is the theme and elements of Nautical. The wine rack was dismantled

from the ship and installed above the drinking bar table. The rack was repaired and

repainted to prevent future deterioration. They displayed the liquors along the rack for

decoration purpose only because the liquors are no longer safe to drink due to the

expiration period. Orange lighting are projected along the top and the bottom of the rack.

Besides displaying liquors, the rack creates the support for the water pipe system.

The interior design of the club was intended to create classical and mysterious

experience to the users. They used milled wood as primary material to construct the

structure and furniture such as bar table and stood, wine rack, column, wall and etc.

Milled woods were used because it was widely available during Sir Frank Swettenham

arrival period. The milled woods were adopted from the abandoned ships in Port

Swettenham. The interior design of the club was based on nautical theme in the 19th

century to express ancients and antiquated sensation. The additional of orange lighting

gives luxury and noble feeling to the users. The classical music played complements the

environment by creating the sense of calm and harmony.

The Royal Klang club is the building that is built by Malaysian under British

colonial, but this building experienced the style of Malaysian traditional house, Kerala

architecture style and a little of British style in the interior. The most specific element that

shown Kerala architecture style on this building is the top part of the building, the roof.

Then, the column and some element of this building showed the British style.

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Kerala architecture style is mostly found in Indian state of Kerala. Kerala's style

of architecture is unique in India, in its striking contrast to Dravidian architecture which

is normally practiced in other parts of South India. The architecture of Kerala has been

influenced by Dravidian and Indian Vedic architectural science (Vastu Shastra) over two

millenniums. The Tantrasamuchaya, Thachu-Shastra, Manushyalaya-Chandrika and

Silparatna are important architectural sciences, which have had a strong impact in Kerala

Architecture style. The Manushyalaya-Chandrika, a work devoted to domestic

architecture is one such science which has its strong roots in Kerala.

The primary elements of all structure remain the same. The model is normally

circular, square or rectangular plain shapes with a ribbed roof evolved from functional

consideration. The most distinctive visual form of Kerala architecture styles is the long,

steep sloping roof built to protect the house's walls. The roof frame usually made of

hardwood and timber.

The natural building materials available for construction in Kerala are stones, timber, clay

and palm leaves.

Rumah Muar ( Malaysian Traditional House )

One of the Malaysian traditional houses made by timber and hardwood. This

Rumah Muar also contents the characteristic of Rumah panggung. This Rumah muar has

stairs infront of the house. Then the wall, window and the roof frame were made by

timber. Now Rumah muar still can be found in Johor.

The most striking part in royal klang club building is the roof. The roof part look

very similar with the roof of the Mishkal Mosque building which content the

characteristic of Kerala architecture. After that, Royal Klang club also content the gabled

roof and dormer roof, which is also one of the characteristics of Kerala architecture. The

Royal Klang club building did renovation in 1983 which they add on the gazebo on the

entrance of the building like a walkway. The roof part of this gazebo looks very similar to

Malaysian traditional house roof which called Rumah Muar, and lastly the wall of the

building is like conventional brick wall and didn't have any specific style.

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In the conclusion, the Royal Klang Club consists of many different architecture

styles due to the impact of the environment and the user since 19th

centuries until now,

for example, it consists of the concept of Malaysian traditional house, British colonial

style, Kerala architecture style and Rumah Muar style. Besides that, the soul of this club

house is the theme of Nautical, which all the nautical elements were from a real

abandoned ship and the building itself is located near the port klang. Due to the

complicated mix of architecture languages in the club house, the users of the club today

doesn’t really know the architecture style of the building, even the club’s staffs and

manager can’t tell the architecture elements. Today, the building is a combination of

traditional and modern architecture and it is open for all citizens to apply for membership

and enjoy the facilities provided.


Malay Houses | Vernacular Architecture. (n.d.). Retrieved from


Retrieved from http://www.ijee.net/Journal/ijee/vol3/no5/4.pdf/page22

Royal Klang Club. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.royalklangclub.com.my/

News - CariGold Portal. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.carigold.com/portal/modules/News/showarticle.php?threadid=365339&page=9

TRADITIONAL KERALA ARCHITECTURE | Boney Philip - Academia.edu. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.academia.edu/399101/TRADITIONAL_KERALA_ARCHITECTURE

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