The analogy of Conservation can be described through the work of a doctor where like any good doctor, they need to understand the patient (the building), its origins (how it was built), medical history (repairs and changes) and future hopes, so that they can diagnose the ailments, and prescribe the right medicine (repair works) as well as advise on the right ‘life style’. In other words, the work of researching the evidence of the historic building to ensure its future is sustainable.

A conservator acts as a translator / interpreter – who reads the building and puts the information together for the owner / architect / engineer / designer to understand the way to restore and reuse without causing more sickness or harm.

All this knowledge is presented, for regular reference, in the Heritage Management Plan. The HMP is created through a combination of facilitator and community work and when new ideas are suggested, they can be checked alongside the HMP to see if the ‘patient’ would suffer any ill effects or be greatly enhanced.

Think City has worked with the Persatuan Warisan Makam Dato’ Koyah and a conservation consultant to develop a Heritage Management Plan, while GTWHI and and Penang State Government were partners to the development of the Plan. Besides providing the basic guidelines to treat a Category 1 building, the report helped the Makam committee to secure co-investments from other various parties. Alongside the HMP other documents are produced as aids to better understanding. These include Measured Drawings of the building in its original condition, a photographic Conditions Investigation Survey showing the state of the building and highlighting causes, and Materials Tests which assist the process of understanding even further. These can also come after the HMP but if can be undertaken at the same time, they greatly enhance the understanding of the patient ready for possibilities to be proposed and challenged.

Following the approval from MBPP (December 10th 2015) the Conservation Works to the Category One Makam Dato Koyah, began in earnest in the new year 2016. The first week of a project is when the site gets organised, materials are ordered, machinery and worker hired and briefed and the first steps towards full conservation are taken.
This short presentation follows the first two months, allowing you to see behind the hoarding, without the dust and the dirt.

January / February – was when we got to know the building better – we took samples, removed cement plaster, and cut out sections of the damaged flat roof.
There is always so much to learn from the building itself, a lot to share and a lot to discuss in order to work out what to do next.

The next two months following this report are already being photographed ready for a new presentation. March/ April will be coming soon to keep you up to date with the issues and challenges of a conservation site.

To view the Heritage Management Plan (HMP) and documentation of Conservation Works, please download the files below:

Heritage Management Plan

Documentation of Conservation Works