Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Architecture

Degree Level





Shannon, Jeff

Committee Member/Reader

Billig, Noah

Committee Member/Second Reader

Herzog, Patricia


As a developing country, the urban landscape of Malaysia faces the same trends as many other cities worldwide: modernization at a rapid and unchecked pace. Due to the demand for new infrastructure and buildings, many vernacular building types are rapidly disappearing from the urban fabric, among them the Malaysian Shophouse. The shophouse was a common building style for over a century from 1840-1960s and is perhaps a typology of a previous era. Yet it offers many lessons on creating a city that embodies the character of the culture, the antithesis of the anonymous modern city. At its most basic program the shophouse is a multi-purpose building which is increasingly recognized as a more feasible and sustainable model than designating blocks of buildings zoned for a single program. This study proposes the shophouse as an advantageous model for future development in Malaysia by creating livable, human scale, socially sustainable cities. Examining how the shophouse developed historically, what factors lead towards its decline, and the current prevalent strategy towards shophouses is invaluable in charting the future of the Malaysian Shophouse.


Malaysia, vernacular architecture, Malaysian Shophouse, urban landscape