54-56 Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock
Tun Tan Cheng Lock Centre for Asian Architectural and Urban Heritage in Melaka, Malaysia
The Tun Tan Cheng Lock Centre for Asian Architectural and Urban Heritage in Melaka, Malaysia is a unique resource of NUS Department of Architecture. It is tasked to advance the area of excellence in the study of historical architecture and urban environments of Asia, using Melaka, the recently listed as a UNESCO World Heritage City, as a case site.
Tun Tan Cheng Lock's life represents a vital vision in the history and landscape of Malaya. That vision, given his constitution, biography, bearings and settings of experiences as a very distinguished Malayan, was premised upon an idealised notion of the potential in having different peoples and classes living together.
The value of that vision is its humanistic underpins, namely of the co-existence of cultural diversity and racial tolerance in modern times. And appropriately, in our own time, more than five decades later, these legacies have found new resonance in the undertakings and activities to be conducted in the conserved townhouses at 54-56 Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, generously donated to the Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore by his daughter, Ms Agnes Tan, in 2004.
The Centre's Philosophy
The centre will serve as a resource cent er for architecture, conservation education and urban history, and it is guided by these tenets:
- To Reflect upon the past sympathetically
- To Act on the present authentically
- To Project into the future critically
The Centre's Role and Activities
Two broad categories of activities envisioned for the centre in line with the professed values above are:
- It will conduct and emphasise a "hands-on context" or "hands-on training" when and where such opportunities arise.
- It will conduct field trips that promote public understanding of conservation and restoration, and the broader perspectives entailed in those undertakings.
- It will use Melaka as a laboratory to raise the awareness of the rich complexity of details in historic buildings.
A Resource Centre
- It will host symposiums, seminars, workshops and expert sessions on conservation.
- It will mount in-house exhibitions and promote exhibitions connected with architecture, urbanism and conservation.
- It will conduct heritage training associated with the built environments; and organise study tours for schools, foreign overseas colleges, et cetera
These two conserved townhouses are tangible evidence of the value of historical and architectural knowledge in sustaining urban and social continuities. In short, they will become exemplars and pedagogical demonstrations of sensitive conservation, preservation and adaptive re-use of heritage and historical environments.