Thursday, October 22, 2015

Kota Bharu, KELANTAN


   Kota Bharu Group had the privilege of working with the local people also one of our group member
Nuraidi Syazwan and Nur hafifie Shaari. Their sense of freely zooming in and out was one of the skills that we found refreshing and particularly energetic. They would walk across the field as far as possible and climb up the hill to capture and share with us the small elements of the building that appeared between the houses and the landscape in the foreground. Buildings are not stand-alone objectsthat look only look great in photographs and on the covers of magazine. NuraidiSyazwan and NurhafifieShaari tactile approach to architecture and its context seems to acknowledge and reinforce this thinking.

Kelantanese architecture, when documented for those outside the country, is often presented as a series of beautiful, strange, sculpted and ephemeral abstract objects. It can be very hard to understand the political, social and geographical context until you visit. NuraidiSyazwan and NurhafifieShaari prefer to include the surrounding chaos, local life and contradictions of context in his photography to capture the sense of being there

NuraidiSyazwan and NurhafifieShaari skills at immersing themselves in the local culture ( because of his many visits and his understanding of it, we as an outsider, is a great tool which to document the traditional Kelantan. They seem to be able to capture the sense of the architect’s works, as well as sometimes simply cutting themselves out of the insular world that is Kelantanesearchitectural scene.

Kelantanese architects now influence the global agenda, yet there is also still a strong sense of isolation from the rest of the world. With the global recession, there appears to be even more focus on ‘looking wihtin’ with more architects working locally and the ‘West’ no longer the centre of admiration. It also seems that the rigidity of the hierarchy is diminishing, giving the younger generation architects more apportunities.

In these challenging times it is very interesting to contemplate how architecture will develop. There is a fascinating mix of architecture in Japan: some focusing on locality, history and even the chaos of cities. NuraidiSyazwan and NurhafifieShaari have managed to document the seeds and fruits of these current proposals, with their varying approaches, by freely hopping from one prefecture to another, by focusing in on and out of the details. This book represents the enormous potential that exist in Kelantan for the future creation of an enduring and rich architectural heritage.


Kelantan was once known as a powerful state with ancient trade links with China, Champa and India, but became tributary to the Majapahit Empire during the 13th and 14th centuries. The state re-established its independence under Raja Kumar and became an important centre for trade and commerce during the fifteenth century. However, they fell to Malacca in 1499 which was then being conquered by the Portuguese and lastly took over by the Siamese and named change to Patani in year 1603.

In 1760, a king of Patani called Kubang Labu succeeded in unifying the disparate territories into a single state once more, but he was overthrown four years later. Long (Luang) Yunus seized the throne and proclaimed himself as the King of Kelantan in year 1764 but the state fell under the control of Terengganu after his death. Long Muhammad, younger son of Yunus, declared himself Sultan in 1800. He was eventually accepted by the Siamese as a ruler of a separate tributary, twelve years later. Kelantan was transferred to British protection by the terms of the Anglo-Siamese treaty of 1909. Britain paying Siam for all outstanding debts and assuming responsibility for them in Siamese state. Negeri Kelantan Darul-Naim became one of the un-federated Malay States in 1991.

      The Japanese invaded Kelantan in 8th December and were in full occupation by the 22nd of December 1941. They transferred Kelantan to Thai control in1943. The state was freed from Japanese occupation on 8th September 1945 and become a state of the Federal of Malaya on 1st February 1948. It joined the other states of the peninsular to form the Federation of Malaya on 31st August 1957 and became a state of Malaysia on 16th September 1963.

Several centuries ago, “Kelantan” formerly known with various names such as "Gelam Hutam", which is the Malay name for leucadendron melaleuca tree and the “Serambi Mekkah” has a very long history and stories.

Kelantan is a state famous for many years with its Malay architectural structure which include the elements of Islam. Most buildings constructed here are manufactured by Malay craftsmen and they applied the concept of Islamic in constructing all the buildings such as the houses and others.

The architecture can be served as an example in the present and future references. Although the architectural pattern or design change from time to time, the old architecture is still being referred, not easy to be forgotten and still being used until today for a better tomorrow like the saying “tiada yang lama maka tiada lah yang baru”.

| Planning and the Architecture of Masjid Kampung Laut

Introduction of Kampung Laut Mosque
Kampung Laut Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in the country and is located in Nilam Puri, Kelantan. It serves as a center for the dissemination and teaching of Islam, especially in Kota Bahru, Kelantan.
According to the Malaysian Historical Society, the building was moved from its original site in Kampung Laut one year after the occurrence of major floods in Kelantan in 1966. However, the mosque is said to have been built about 300 to 500 years ago and, according to some opinions, Kampung Laut Mosque is older compared to Masjid Demak in comparison with that found in Jawa.

History and origin of construction
There are three theories that have been linked to the origin of the construction of the mosque of Kampung Laut. According to the first theory as presented by local historian of Man Bin Nik Nik Mat, the mosque was built by the King of the Faith. Nik Man states that approximately 400 years ago there was a Muslim Sri Vijayan prince named Syed Mahmud under the title of Raja Muda Admiral. 
The prince set sail from Java when there is a fight to seize the throne. His ship were traveling in caught in a storm and swept him into coastal waters in southern Thailand. 
Most of his followers began to settle in the area, while the others traveled to all corners of the area until met a village called Kampung Laut. 
Syed Mahmud who changed his name to King Iman then set up an endowment as a shelter and finally it changed into a mosque. 

The second theory advanced by a philosopher of Drs. Abdul Rahman Al-Ahmadi. According to his research, the mosque was built about 500 years ago by students of Islam from Champa. The claimant worked as a propagator of Islam from the West, bringing in a prototype plan seeks to establish mosques and three Islamic centers throughout the archipelago. 

Abdul Rahman said two of the mosques that have been proven to be founded in East Java and one of them is Mosque and Masjid Demak Laut is the first mosque built by them. This fact also proved authentic as age Masjid Kampung Laut found earlier mosque was built from Demak in Java. 

The third theory put forward by Ustaz Abdullah bin Muhammad who settled in the village hit, Kota Bahru. According to his hypothesis, the mosque was founded by two guardian guardian of nine famous when it was called the Mount worm and worm Peking. It is believed that the two Sufis from the receiving instruction under Sheikh Mohamad Saman was ordered to establish the mosque. 
However, Masjid Kampung Laut is still preserved until now and still retained its original state since the reign of Sultan Mahmud in the early 20th century again. 

Reconstruction Of The Kampung Laut Mosque At Nilam Puri

The damage cause by the floor and soil erosion to the old mosque came a deep concern to the Muslim Community especially the local historians. The Malaysian Historical Society asked and was given permission by state government to rescue the historic building and to remove it to the present site, Nilam Puri. The mosque was dismantled in November 1967 by a group of Kelantan Malay carpenters under the instruction of En. Hussin Bin Salleh of Kampung Bunut Payong under the supervision of Tuan Haji Zain bin Haji Awang Kechik. The mosque ws reconstructed following exactly the old form and using as for as possible all the old materials. The total cost of demolition and construction of the mosque was fully sponsored by The Malaysian Historical Society. The reconstructed mosque was officially handed back to The Most Honourable Dato’ Haji Mohd Asri Bin Haji Muda, Menteri Besar of Kelantan on behalf of the state government on 23th Rabiatul Awal 1390 corresponding with 8th May 1970 by Tun Haji Hamdan Bin Sheikh Tahir on behalf of the Malaysian Historical Society.

The Restoration Work To Masjid Kampung Laut
The state government in its effort to make good the damage caused by the big flood to the old mosque had launched a fund-collecting drive. Consequently, in February 1988, the work on the “re-construction’ began. This included the consctruction of corridors, verandahs halls, separate toilets for men and women and other aminities. Cengal or the hard and strong species of wood was used in most of the “repairs”. Upon completion of the work undertaken, the old mosque has been had been restored to its own original state. From 1999 onwards, the State Museum Corporation with the support and coorperation of the Museum and Antiquity Department, Kuala Lumpur had carried out various renovations. The maintenance of the mosque and its premises was also undertaken by the same department.

Planning and design concepts 
The main part of the mosque consists of a rectangular plan covered with a pyramidal roof arranged in three levels. The roof top slightly raised its benchmark and placed windows to facilitate lighting.
The roof is decorated with carved motifs of sewers. The entire mosque floor is raised about one meter above the ground. 
It is equipped with a foyer otherwise surrounded by a wall panel made of wood in the interior. The panel walls and used punched openings for doors and windows. 
Modifications carried out and then a space station called stellar added on the side opposite the mosque mihrab wall and a large foyer area is also connected. 

Two newly built space was set slightly lower than the level of the main part of the mosque. Foyer area was added on the eastern side of the mosque, known as waqaf orang like? 
Phrase orang like? This is reserved for the government officials and influential people at that time. The tower is built of wood attached to the mosque and accessible from the foyer to the east which was originally located in the middle of the hall star. The tower height is approximately equal to the peak level of the roof of the main mosque.

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