Restoration & Conservation Project Of Istana Hulu (SRK Raja Mazwin), Kuala Kangsar, Perak Darul Ridzuan


Istana Hulu (formerly known as the Istana Kota) is located on Bukit Chandan in Kuala Kangsar, not far from the renowned Ubudiah Mosque.
  • Year 1903 – The palace was constructed in 1903, during the reign of Sultan Idris Murshidul Azam Shah, and was designed in the style of Victorian architecture.
  • Year 1916 – Sultan Abdul Jalil, his son and successor, moved into the palace in 1916.
  • Year 1954 – The palace was taken over by the Ministry of Education in 1954, and it was later transformed into Istana Kota National School.
  • Year 1970 – It was converted into the Raja Perempuan Mazwin School, named after the wife of Sultan Idris Shah.
  • Year 2002 – Eventually, however, the school also moved out, and the building was left unused for many years until around 2002, when the state museum authorities began restoration work on it.

Background Of The Restoration And Conservation Project

In year 2002, Structural Repairs (M) Sdn Bhd was engaged by JKR to conduct rehabilitation & restoration work on the Istana Hulu and conversion from a palace into a museum building. Now, it is called the Sultan Azlan Shah Gallery, which was officially opened in 2003.
In February 2002, a visual inspection was carried out. The objective of the inspection is to identify the defects and determine an appropriate restoration proposal. The restoration proposal provided herein was derived after a review of the following information:
(i) Information provided in the Consulting Engineer’s strengthening and restoration proposal;
(ii) Information gathered from site personnel;
(iii) Historical information of the structure;
(iv) Visual inspection of the structure and documentation of defects.

Visual Observation

The following observations were recorded during the site inspection: –
(i) Delamination of the existing plaster on the external façade resulting in exposure of bricks;
(ii) Dampness uprising;
(iii) Algae and small growths on the building façade and balcony;
(iv) Defects on wood elements such as cracking of window panels etc;
(v) Old paint too thick on the historic wood window (to be preserved);
(vi) Peeling of paint on timber elements, chalking of old paints on building façade

Repair Strategy

The following repair strategies were performed for Istana Hulu: –
(i) Treatment to timber elements prior to steel plate bonding works & restoration of defective timber;
(ii) Passive fire protection to timer elements;
(iii) External façade treatment;
(iv) Dampness uprising treatment;
(v) Restoration of rood clay tiles;
(vi) Waterproofing
The above restoration strategies have been taken into the consideration proposed changes to the structure for adaptive re-use of the Istama Hulu and the existing condition of the structure due to aging process of the building elements and environmental factors.

*** For the article of adaptive re-use, kindly refer to the link below: –
Some photos were taken during the work carried out at Istana Hulu: –

Recognition & Award

This project is published in “Heritage Asia” March-May 2004 Volume 1 No.3.

Key Takeaways

Heritage is a piece of our past that has been saved for the present and will be passed on to succeeding generations. Heritage is thought of as knowledge that is defined within social, political, and cultural context and is conceived as the meanings associated to the past in the present. An individual community’s cultural identity and heritage are symbolised by old and historic buildings.

Conservation of heritage buildings is initiated by the government and private sector in Malaysia. The government showed effort to appreciate the existing of heritage buildings in Malaysia by establishing the National Heritage Department of Malaysia (Jabatan Warisan Negara) in the year 2006. Heritage buildings conservation can be described in many words. However, what is conservation? In general, conservation is a technical activity towards historical buildings. In order to conserve the heritage buildings’ material and structure, physical effort was required. It is a procedure to stop degradation, and the goal is to make buildings last longer.

Today Istana Ulu houses the Sultan Azlan Shah Gallery. It showcases memorabilia and personal items belonging to the present Sultan of Perak. There is also a separate wing showing the royal motorcars and patrol cars used in the motorcade when Sultan Azlan Shah reigned as the Duli Yang Maha Mulia (King) of Malaysia. There is also a souvenir shop selling items related to the Perak sultanate.

We at Structural Repairs (M) Sdn. Bhd. are professional and competent technical specialist contractor will ensure the efforts of heritage conservation in Malaysia will be successful.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require more information. Our team will be happy and glad to assist you.

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