In the middle of the bustling and dense concrete jungle of Kuala Lumpur, a century-old Malay traditional enclave stands next to and side by side to its high-rise neighbours. Kampong Bharu retains some of the fascinating century-old Malay vernacular architecture, including the iconic Masjid Jamek Kampong Bharu.
Built in the late 1800s, the mosque began as a rudimentary structure consisted of a covered platform made of nibong palm trunks before it was demolished a few times until it took on the form of a double-storey timber structure with double pitch roof, featuring the typical Malay vernacular house architecture. In 1956, with the increasing number of worshippers within the community, a fund drive was initiated to build a new and larger mosque.
In 2012, a redevelopment of the mosque complex was carried out that included the construction of a new two-storey building and a basement carpark. It was a part and parcel of the Kampong Bharu Development Master Plan that outlined the mosque as an iconic modern landmark of Islamic urban identity, paired with a proposed souq or marketplace to be built near the mosque building.
The new design retains the charms of the mosque old architectural style with a subtle fusion of contemporary elements. The former mosque design with strong Mughal, Moorish and modernist design elements featured the quintessential onion-shaped dome sits on top of minarets and the modified horseshoe arched windows, with trefoil and rounded arches at the main entrance porch were rebuilt and replicated in the new design.