Georgetown, Malaysia shophouses have rich individual facades but "must be seen as group"

From blogger Japheth Lim, an exhaustive post about Georgetown, Malaysia shophouse origins, elements (narrow, deep, attached, facade, 5' way, courtyard, architectural styles), value, and future. "This picture is taken at Chulia Street.  It’s buildings like these light up the unique theme in Georgetown.  It’s because of it’s density that forms the urban fabric that gave me the feeling of the past instead of over commercialized area such as Petaling Street.

"One reason why i love the urban fabric of Georgetown Heritage zone is because chinese shophouses has narrow fronts and deep rears, possibly 5 to 8 times the length of the width.  This gives them minimal space and more focus to decorate the entrance elevation.  Which most of the time it will be done by a 2 or 3 arch windows with horizontal louvers.

"Chinese Shophouses come together as a group.  It’s different compared to Gothic Architecture or Roman Greece Architecture as these architecture suggest focus on a single building with it’s specific elements too.  The unique view of Chinese Shophouses must be seen as a group or a row along the streets as it’s the repetitive elements that suggest a horizontal grid.

"Traditional shophouse facade ornamentation draws inspiration from the Malay, Chinese and European traditions.  European neo-classical motiffs include egg-and-dart mouldings and ionic or corinthian capitals on decorative pillasters.  From the Malay building tradition, elaborate woodwork has been borrowed in the form of carved panels. fascia boards, louvres, screens and fretwork.  Finally, from the Chinese tradition comes mythological motifs like phoenixes."  Full post with photos and images here.