Malaysian architecture firm launches monograph to mark its 100-year history

'BEP 100' documents BEP Akitek's contribution to the shifting architectural landscape of Malaya to an independent and modernised Malaysia. Photo: Facebook/BEP100monograph

A hundred years of existence is indeed a great milestone for any company and one Malaysian architecture firm had the honour of claiming that recently.

BEP Akitek celebrates its centenary this year and put together a book entitled BEP 100 to mark the event.

Published by Adaptus Design System, the hardcover monograph was officially launched at the Datum:M event during the Kuala Lumpur Architecture Festival (KLAF) 2021 held earlier this month.

Divided into five comprehensive chapters, the book documents the firm’s contribution to the shifting architectural landscape of Malaya to an independent and modernised Malaysia.

It highlights the stories and work of pioneers such as British architect Arthur Oakley Coltman, who revitalised the practice after World War II, and Datuk Kington Loo, the first Malayan partner of the firm.

Loo graduated from the Melbourne University School of Architecture in 1953. A respected pioneer of the profession in post-independence Malaysia, he was a strong advocate of professionalism and integrity, values which were pursued through his role as the first local, non-British president of the Federation of Malaya Society of Architects (FMSA) in 1962.

Subsequently, he played a key role in setting up Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia (Malaysia Institute of Architects) or PAM, and the Board of Architects Malaysia (BAM), both organisations that succeeded FMSA. He held the role of PAM president from 1971 to 1973.

BEP 100 also contains feature articles on unpublished personal accounts of past firm partners and conversations with key members of the firm, which was previously known as Booty, Edwards & Partners.

One example is “The Francis Bailey Story”, adapted from former partner Francis Bailey’s unpublished autobiography. The RIBA bronze medal recipient joined Booty & Edwards in 1953 and was behind the winning design for Universiti Malaya’s Dewan Tunku Canselor.

Prof Philip Goad, chair of architecture at the Melbourne School of Design, in a video on the book launch, said the firm represented the makings of 20th century architecture in Malaysia.

“It will become a legacy document, a historic sort of artefact in and of its own right. And that’s the valuable thing of doing a project like this. It takes an enormous amount of people and energy to do something like this but the benefits are extraordinary,” he said.

BEP 100 is priced at RM240 and is available on major e-commerce platforms.

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