Nation Building and Modern Architecture in Malaysia


  • Nor Hayati Hussain




Modern Movement, Modern architecture, Modern housing


This paper explores the historical development of modern architecture in Malaysia, which is evident in the emerging architectural language; the efforts of the Federation of Malaya Society of Architects (later known as the Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia); as well as the direction taken by the architectural practice in the country; all of which were driven by the prevailing political, economic as well as the socio-cultural attributes of the new nation, and the vision on Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first Prime Minister of the Federation of Malaya. The outcome of all these is an architecture that speaks of the nation’s modern society’s values and identity.

How to Cite

Hussain, N. H. (2017). Nation Building and Modern Architecture in Malaysia. Docomomo Journal, (57), 30–37.




Author Biography

Nor Hayati Hussain

(b. 1967, Malaysia). A graduate of the University of Texas, Arlington, USA. Specialized in Architecture Design, as well as Architecture Theory and History. Authored two monographs on modern buildings in Kuala Lumpur: The National Mosque (Malaysia, Center of Modern Architecture Studies in Southeast Asia, 2007) and The National Museum (Malaysia, Modern Architecture Studies in Southeast Asia, Research Unit, 2010). A researcher and writer for the PAM History Book (2013) and The Living Machines: Malaysia’s Modern Architectural Heritage (Malaysia, PAM, 2015). Founded MASSA (Centre for Modern Architecture Studies in Southeast Asia) in 2005, with a focus on the documentation of the intellectual and physical heritage of modern architecture in Southeast Asia. Received a doctorate in Malaysian architectural identity from the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia in 2015.


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