‘Implement adaptive reuse of sites’

GEORGE TOWN: The adaptive reuse of heritage buildings is common all over the world and it can be done in Penang, says an expert in the field.

The George Town Heritage Action Group founder, Mark Lay, said heritage building owners should get creative and invest in the adaptive reuse and refurbishment of pre-war properties.

“Instead of looking at demolition or selling as an option, building owners can look at countless adaptive reuse ideas from overseas.

“A great example of adaptive reuse of a building is the Think City office here in George Town.

“It was turned into an office on the principle of maximum retention and minimum intervention,” he said.

Penang history buff Timothy Tye said that depending on the size of the heritage building, it could be adapted to hold events or house galleries.

“For example, in Singapore, it turned its market into a large food court. Here it could be repurposed into an art gallery, museum or food destination while conserving the building,” he said.

Tye said he would encourage owners to repurpose their heritage buildings to serve the needs of the locals.

“If the building contributes to the beauty and feel of the city, then it needs to be preserved.

“The history of the building can be shared with those who visit the place. This will in turn help people appreciate the history behind it.”

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