Hubback Exhibition

Brig. Gen. Arthur Benison Hubback came to Malaya as the chief draughtsman with the Selangor Public Works department. He eventually became the chief architect and during his stay in Malaya, he designed 25 buildings; with Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad being the first. An exhibition showcasing these 25 buildings is on-going at The Textile Museum and the exhibition will last till 30 June 2014.

The design concept for Malayan buildings of that time was laid down by the state engineer, C.E Spooner who shied away from classical European architecture for Malaya. Instead, Spooner introduced an eclectic style that had originated in British India; a style which combined various architectural traditions including Gothic, Hindu as well as Indian Muslim. Buildings in Malaysia incorporate more of the Mughal elements.

ipoh railway station
Ipoh Railway Station (image taken from:

This eclectic style can also be described as neo-saracenic and the display boards at the exhibition describe the Ipoh Railway station as such. The style has the classical European design which includes domes, arches and gable designs. In addition, it also has non-European features such as Mughal chatri spires.

The Textile Museum was previously the FMS Railways Central Offices and this red-brick building with white plaster bands was built to include both cupolas and chatris. The chatri towers on the old KL Railway Station (previously FMS Survey Office) are said to resemble the chatris on the roof of the Taj Mahal. The Malay College in Kuala Kangsar is a little different as it is more of a Greco-Roman design.

The only thing common between the 25 Hubback buildings is that the buildings include elements from different architectural styles. Other buildings that A.B. Hubback designed include Carcosa Seri Negara, Masjid Jamek, Royal Selangor Club, Hospital Bahagia Ulu Kinta and the Ubudiah Mosque.

Below is the logo for the Hubback exhibition. The organisers have cleverly shaped the alphabets in his name using the structure of the buildings he designed. Try to figure out which alphabet comes from which building.





Author: Museum Volunteers, JMM

Museum Volunteers, JMM Taking the Mystery out of History

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