Translucent, Pudu - Coliving and Celebrating the New and Old Values of the City

Translucent, Pudu - Coliving and Celebrating the New and Old Values of the City

The Translucent, Pudu, conceived as half multi-functional space, half accommodations, is a proposed creative coliving place that is going to house 18 units of BnB with a shared roof garden. 

With the existing form that has both the front yard and the backyard recessed like urban pocket spaces, the designs add theatrical spaces, platforms that support seasonal art installation, communal events set up, festive event pop up, big-size banners, and art displays. 

The facade that presents mandarin typography becomes an important sun shading element that adds identity to the place and celebrates the mix of its historical and contemporary cultures.

The Brief

The brief called for a revamp of an old 4-story shop house with an additional roof garden for the users to enjoy.

The design process includes the derivation of the architecture of the building, its other holistic aspects like its potential use, its recognizable name, exteriority, interiority, program, new content from its immediate context, its historical context, philosophy of slow art, and slow entertainment such as the long lost mandarin orchestra of the place.


The name of the place - Pudu (半山芭),  literally "half rural", has so much to inspire historically and semantically. Denoted from the historical morphology of the place where the early settlement formed by the local population migration from part of the over-crowded settlements of the city center around Petaling Street, the name also takes its meaning from the site geographically being halfway along the journey from a suburban district - Cheras to the city center. The concept of 'half' can mean more - hybrid, semi, in-between, mixture, that eventually conceptualized the proposed use, program, content, and potential of the building. 

Let's call it an effect of something half prescribed, half participatory; half pre-designed, half creatively filled, Translucent.

Derived from the characterology of the name of the place, it only takes half a character of wording to be recognizable, to denote an understanding of meaning through the process of abstract reading. The other half can be a void to be filled with complementary content or a contrast otherwise. Hence a creative composition.

When it comes to spaces within the building, a similar notion is implied with the idea of a halved proportion.

A half proportion can take many forms and need not be constricted in the form of something left and right. It could be in and out, up and down, now and then.

Into Slowness - Slow Art, Slow Architecture, Slow Entertainment

The opposite of slowness in the current society can mean something instantly gratifying, something people crave for an instant reward unlike reading a book, watching an orchestra, observing people on the street, seeing landscapes by the lake, or viewing the sunset by the sea, all of which have delayed gratification effects for long-term well-being, or can resolve by finding meaning through the continuous process, journey, or by repeating the same action. Slow consumption can mean a subject perceived from the beginning of something slowly consumed, to the end of something which requires patience and time.

The idea of Translucent seeks to reverse the process by utilizing fast-paced effects to reintroduce slow life, such as technology that reintroduces slow entertainment, useful spaces with slow art, portraying the life work of a barista within a cafe inside the building that helps people understand about coffee or a cafe and its local subculture. Imagine a screen within a pocket of an urban garden that is portraying neither advertisement but the life within the building, of a barista, making a coffee, a chef preparing a meal, a real-time film in repetition for the passerby to halt by the roadside.

Andy Warhol, Eat (1964). An interpretation of people observing as  subject of the everyday life and interest. 

Andy Warhol, Empire (1964). An interpretation of time is precious. Has our environment become an uninterested subject to us? Aren't the everyday lives that surround us the surrounding phenomena that we should be paying attention to?


Pudu Now. History Revisit and Its Important Interpretation.

Access to the compound of the Pudu old area has a sense of arrival similar to visiting Melaka and Penang old towns due to the significant portrayal of the old shops' architectural facade and their food and beverage program, especially during the night time. They present the commonality of having old buildings but differ in the distinctiveness of their own local cultural ambiances. The visual of buildings, the interaction with the local people and foreigners seen on the street, who occupy the building, and the local food by the street and in the restaurant define the uniqueness of the place. 

Intense 'Disneyfication' or alienating programs such as the mimicry of foreign country style and unreasonable import of a particular style or culture from another part of the world on a large scale has not been found at the place yet since the Lalaport shopping mall. 

Street networks within the town with only a few district-cutting highways allows an internal connection and pedestrianization between various program of the same type, eateries, market, and shop for goods, and some businesses that still exist today since the first migration of the settlement from Petaling Streets happened. 

Lost and Found. What is lost, and what is found? What should be found?

What is lost at the place? The Chinese influence, the mandarin orchestra, and especially the Pudu Jail being the significant, recognizable heritage that marks the loss of historical, sentimental,  and cultural value of the place, replaced with a new program without much local cultural content and value than capital gain - Lalaport.

The idiosyncratic subject of the place that makes it distinctively celebrate able, other than the flavors from various existing eateries throughout the days and nights, is the long-lost historical heritage in the way how people communicate in groups and collectives.

The mandarin orchestra is viewed as a way for people to get together to get social, and political information and interaction, it allows communication of details such as messages, moral values, stories, and poetry to happen during the war, post-war, is also a form of slow entertainment communicated by the symbolic meaning of color, the interaction between character and most of the time, non-specific character but the interaction of different personalities. Can building spaces allow interaction of different 'personalities'?  

Can the great value of slow art adapt to the fast pace technology in the fast-paced society?