Intimate spaces

of George Town, Penang

by Sonia Mancxia Balaguru

Sonia Mancxia Balaguru is a young architecture enthusiast from Penang, Malaysia, who is currently pursing a Master of Architecture at Manchester School of Architecture. She is love with projects of intimate scales as they emphasise the intricate relationship between people and their environment.  

“I feel the two forces, 

Mediating with one another. 

It is far from the mediocre analogy of ‘in’ and ‘out’,

It is the intricacy of cultures…”

“My research explores the poetics between the Western theories and the Asian philosophies in the intimate spaces of George Town, Penang through visual interpretations and cultural analysis. Looking at voids from a macro into a micro scale, the research re-interprets void spaces in typical Penang shop houses via an ethnographic practice. To me, a window is not strictly defined by its terminology in a dictionary, it is a space where an active engagement occurs with the environment. The window has the ability to create unconscious meanings of space just like a courtyard space that looks out to the sky. The dialogue created within these voids tells a century of stories through the character as it is divinely immersed with the heritage values and the old charm of the city. It is the richness and the juxtaposition of the Western and Asian cultures, one absorbing the other, in which reveal the idiosyncratic architecture of the century. It is a feeling, a memory. The glorious spirit of place ignites when the cultures blend and the living heritage continues to evolve, shaping our sense of identity, belonging and place, connecting past, present and future.” Sonia Mancxia Balaguru.

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