The path along the hill of Bukit Nanas was the route I took every day during high school. A memory where all of us were playful and mischievous students, walking alongside the adults: workers and dwellers from around the neighbourhood of the city.
10 years later, I had the opportunity to make a 1:75 model of the Godown and an extension that sits on the bottom of the hill. The working model was a study of the atmosphere and possible activities of the building.
The building is now constructed, and it is already aging, plants are growing, birds are flying through, air and water are flowing, and activities are being planned.
This drawing project tries to visualize how these experiences would come together. A set of drawings that romanticize the direct and curious encounters throughout the journey of a walk. A childlike approach I have reimagined for the journey on paper about an elder brother accompanying his little sister down the hill, approaching, and discovering the Godown, to the city and then the rivers.
A process of fleshing out sceneries by hand and eye from the memories and photographs of the Godown and of the model that I had built and walked through, now, and then.
The neighbourhood and communities around the arts centre is as old as the humble beginning of the city itself.
Bukit Nanas hill is still used as a route for school student today, the same over a century ago. People are still setting up stalls, selling and buying on the high street within narrow alleys and five-foot ways of the rows of pre-war shophouses. The two rivers’ junction where Masjid Jamek Mosque sits is where Kuala Lumpur started its tireless journey.
All these within a 1km walking radius from the arts centre. To experience the building is therefore to understand this continuous extension from the neighbourhood’s rich and complex memories.
The drawings in the book present the everyday life and sceneries of how the people with different backgrounds, behaviours, and culture would live in this neighbourhood. From temporary road stalls under a stretched canvas to a fully glazed high-rise, everyone finds a way in this hot and humid tropical city.
This accordion folding book draws the building in a wider context and demonstrate how it works within the city; how it encourages more activities and flow of people to and from the neighbourhood.
The book shifts its focus away from the art centre but makes everything else from the neighbourhood the main character of the story.
‘Down the Hill, To the Rivers’ is a companion to the ambitions of the Godown arts centre. The drawings in the book records life beyond the building.
The ‘openness’ of buildings in the city are becoming rare, more are looking in and shutting themselves away from the neighbourhood. To ‘open up’ the building is an important aspect for the Godown.
We want to show how life moves through the building in this tropical city. Encouraging the flow of birds, plants, light, air, rain, and people through from the narrow and shaded streets and alleyways of the city.
The scale and medium of this hand-made book has made the sharing of these experience more personal and direct. An alternative medium that goes beyond the traditional methods to tell a story about a building and its neighbourhood.
This format has allowed these experiences to be distributed easily. Hopefully it can push this appreciation of the neighbourhood’s experiences beyond its boundaries to more places around the world.
01 – Drawing no. 05 of ‘Down the Hill, To the Rivers’ book showing characters discovering the building within the trees and plants as they walk down the hill.
02 – Drawing no. 11 of ‘Down the Hill, To the Rivers’ book showing curious characters discovering the open structure of the Godown building with its activities taking place.
03 – ‘Down the Hill, To the Rivers’ book folded up into a book form.
04 – Photo capturing the ‘openness’ of the Godown arts centre sitting within the trees and plants in the neighbourhood of the hot and humid tropical city. Image courtesy of linghao architects. Photography by fabian ong.
05 – The Godown arts centre at the bottom of the Bukit Nanas hill, within the old neighbourhood of Kuala Lumpur.
Artist: Lim Eu Jin
Client and Publisher: The Godown Sdn. Bhd.
Architect: Linghao Architects
Submission Architect: Malek Hassan Architect
Printer: Recapress Sdn. Bhd.
01 - ‘In the Shadows of the City’ artwork showing aerial view of Kuala Lumpur neighbourhood during the pandemic produced for Open Books International at the Godown KL.
02 - ‘Open Books International’ exhibition held at the Godown renovated old warehouse space. Image courtesy of the godown kl
03 - ‘Down the Hill, To the Rivers’ book unfolded into a zig-zag display at Singapore’s Archifest event.