Friday, December 16, 2011

Disappearing Sarikei: Sarikei Architecture - Tale behind the facades. Part 2

Sarikei Wharf Road Block 4, late 1940s
T-junction of Market Road (L) and Wharf Road (R)

Physical appearance:
The oldest block in Sarikei (next to the police station) was completed in the early 1930s. It had galvanised corrugated sheets for roofing then and the structure was not as solid as the other Wharf Road blocks. Below the roof is the third level attic. The family quarters on the second level has a front balcony which is its unique feature among the Wharf Road blocks. The shop front on the ground floor has an open ventilation row above the wooden doors which can still be seen today. In front of the shops is the ubiquitous sheltered five-foot way. The corner unit (No.22) had full length louvred wooden windows on the side. This humble block had a very simple facade.

Early Southern Chinese shophouses from the Straits Settlement of Malaya, especially Singapore.

The tale:
Block 4 was started by the early Hokkien and Cantonese towkays to replace the wooden shops on Wharf Road. 

No. 22 and No. 21 (Kwong Hup Hin 廣合興) were operated by the Cantonese descendants of Chen Mong (1879-1939). 

No. 20 was 锦福興 Kam Fook Hin from one of the 6 wooden pioneer shops.

Sarikei Wharf Road 1935-1940
L-R Block 3, 2, 1

Physical appearance: 
Block  3 and Block 1 have the same facade of roof arches and full length windows with louvred shutters (none is conserved today). Block 2 has no arches at the top and only half length windows. Apparently the architect(s) tried to create symmetry with Block 1 & 3 and Block 2 & 4.

Block 2 Wharf Road and Block 2L Repok Road have similar facades with no roof arches.
The difference is that Block 2 Wharf Road have half length windows.

Sarikei Block 3 Wharf Road No.15, 2006.

A mix of "Southern Chinese Eclectic" style and "Early Straits Eclectic" style of shophouses of the early 1900s from the Straits Settlement of Malaya. The facade has less elaborate decorative carvings compared to the Malaya version.

Sarikei Block 2 Wharf Road, 2007

Sarikei Block 1 Wharf Road, 2006.

A feature that still exists in Block 1 is the side balcony facing Repok Road with its original red tiled arches (built by masons from China) and white heart petals that formed flowers as the balcony partition.

Repok Road Block 2 Left, 2006

The tale:
The three blocks in Wharf Road and Block 2L Repok Road were completed in 1935. It was the boom town period due to the good export prices of pepper via ships going down the Rejang River. New found wealth allowed more decorative elements like arches and red tiles beyond the functional box. The humble pepper is not something to be sneezed at.

To be continued ....

1 comment:

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Love this posT...thank you!!

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