The Architecture of Places

This is the roof of the grand old Kuala Lumpur railway station, taken from an over pass on the south side.  The station was once recognized as one of the masterpieces of British colonial architecture in Malaysia. The style it is built in, popular in the late Victorian era called “Indo-Saracenic”, epitomizes the romantic British notion of what the Far East should be: Moghul “chattris”, or towers, Moorish arches and exotic crenelations, supported by the good solid industry of wrought iron girders and steel rails.  It is now somewhat sad and neglected, having been sidelined in importance by the KL Sentral station, a few hundred metres away.  It isn’t even serviced by a metro station, and the way to get there is through a complex of utilitarian overhead walkways over a smelly canal.

Like many of the shots I take in the middle of the day in Asia, I changed this one into monochrome because of the harshness of the light. It is also particularly appropriate for architectural shots. I like it that the old colonial chettris frame the famous Petronas towers in the background, and other high-rise symbols of Malaysia’s “Tiger” economy.  The low ceiling of threatening clouds gives a feeling of weight and oppression being unsuccessfully held off by the pointy bits, old and new.

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