Professor Dr. Mohd Tajudin Rasdi
Dr. Alice Sabrina Ismail


The focus of both of these units is to design either a primary school or a secondary school. Modern school design has been the back bone of education in Malaysia since independence. This country has a long history of public education even before the colonial rule in the forms of the many pondok or pasentrans organised by the Muslim Sufi Scholars. The British then brought with it the monastic style of architecture with thick brooding masonry walls and quadrangle courtyards. The independence saw modernist Malaysian architects with the bland JKR standard blocks littering the country. Much of the romantic auras of education was eliminated with this ‘factory’ idea of producing masses of products in the form of students. In the political scenario, we have the government of Malaysia with the old 1970s Razak Report mandating the primary education role in this country was to forge racial unity and tolerance. However with the Mahathir era came the idea that the country’s salvation lies predominantly in the production of scientifically competent individuals to run the machines of industry. The cultural and humane part of education that was the cornerstone of the pasentran’s religious education and the civic mindedness of the British colonial rule gave way to the race to get ‘A’s and rote learning.

The birth of the International School in the late 1960’s gave a fresh look at education that was not too centred on rote learning and the idea of getting ‘A’s. The need for the school purely stemmed from the fulfilment of education for expartriate children who would follow their parents top this country for a few years and then return to the home country. However as affluence set in among Malaysians and political awareness increased concerning the suspicions that the national school curriculum would ultimately destroy any sense of culture and the idea of democratic liberty, the International School has now received acceptance by Malaysians who wish for their children to be educated overseas like Australia and the UK. If the political trend of treating primary and secondary education in this country continues to produce robot-like individuals bereft of any sense of human worth or culturally sensitive individuals, we may see the International School becoming a complete rival to the national public schools as well as the strongly entrenched Chinese vernacular ones. The implication for architects is that the JKR standard school blocks is no longer of use and education is back to teaching children to become ‘humans’ once again, and not Issac Newton’s ‘I Robot’ storey of robot slavery.

With the latest events unfolding in the country, education is set to change direction from a factory like machine producing ‘slave workers’ of the industry to producing an individual with more tolerance of culture and religions, more aware of the idea of sustainability and a dynamic and critical sense of entrepreneurship of citizenry, architects must arm themselves with the arsenal of romanticism in architectural design as opposed to the rationalistic trend of architecture. There must be more ‘Taliesin East or West’ kind of architecture with natural materials and climate responsive elements coupled with semantic interpretations of ornament and spaces akin to the historical and cultural past. In truth, after independence, Malaysia has yet to create her own school architecture that would answer the dream of the forefathers of this country. With the national education that is much criticised as insensitive and overburdening students, it is the International School curriculum that can form the basis of the next generation of school typology in this country. Yes, it is ironic that a curriculum suited for Australian, American or Britain is ‘alien’ to this effort at one glance, but a look at the subjects taught would allay this notion as these are universalist in outlook. They are there, in actual fact, to create a ‘World Citizenry’.

project 1 : Seminar on the curriculum involving learning and teaching pedagogy for local and international school as well as identifying the social cultural issues faced by the students in both schools.

duration : 1.5 weeks
: 10%
Students shall work in a group to do research.

submission requirements :
Students are to submit a power point handout with a brief 2,000 word essay report (Times 12 font at 1.5 spacing) along with CD. Need to include diagram and illustrations to explain the scenario. The slides should be in powerpoint . Not more than 15 slides for each group.

project 2 : interpreting School Curriculum into Architecture : Designing a Resource Centre

duration :  1.5 weeks
: 15 %

Students are required to students will design a 2 storey resource centre. The purpose of this assignment is to test student understanding and ability in interpreting and expressing the curriculum pedagogy into built form that is functional and suit the need of primary and secondary school students.

submission requirements :
Students are to submit 3A1 boards with schematic drawings and explanations based on competition format.

project 3 : Designing an international  school for primary and secondary students

duration : 8 weeks
: 45 %

Students will design a primary school or a secondary school with a student population of 100 (15 – 20 students per class). The purpose of this assignment is to test student understanding and ability in interpreting and expressing the curriculum pedagogy into educational institution that is functional and suit the need of primary and secondary school students.

submission requirements :
Students need to design either a primary school or a secondary school with a student population of 100 (15 – 20 students per class). The students will split into two groups; one designing a secondary school whilst the other a primary school. Students will need to work and produce the following:

o    Site studies and Basic Brief – one week, group work
o    Schematic Design Ideas – two weeks, individual work
o    Design Development – two weeks
o    Interim Crit – one week
o    Final Drawings – two weeks

project 4 : Producing Technical Drawing and Report

duration : 8 weeks
: 25 %

Students need to produce technical drawing and report. The purpose of this assignment is to test student understanding and ability in designing buildings equipped with appropriate material usage as well as applying proper services, technical and structural details

submission requirements :
Students need to produce 1 A1 sheet of drawing which shows the following information:

Structure layout with basic span-depth sizing
Water system layout on one building block or whole complex
Drainage layout and services placement
Fire safety layout on site and building plan
1:25 construction detail of a significant wall section
Wall material specifications

Students also need to produce 3,000 word report in A3 format (Times     12 font at 1.5 spacing) comprising the following-

Chapter 1 – Introduction
Chapter 2 – Site Inventory and Analysis
Chapter 3 – Brief Development Justifications
Chapter 4 – Description of Design
Chapter 5 – Technical Information
Chapter 6 – Solutions to Specific Issues



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