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TranXXit 2008

The XXth Architecture Workshop is a transit in a long bewildering, self and architectural journey for all the actors. Transit originated from the Latin word transitus - meaning to go across and beyond. USM is a transition camp where every traveller should replenish their supply to continue their meaningful, resolute and purposeful journey forward.

This transition evokes the transfusion of body, mind and soul. Actors are expected to transpose their physical being and transmute the excess baggage of stagnant, preconceived and prejudice ideas. The soul must transpire to search for real meaning and truth according to the law of the Universe and its Creator.

During this transition process, actors should transcend, translate and transform the understanding of architecture in order to embark on the correct path for the rest of the journey. Before this transit process can takes place, actors should transport themselves to the past in order to move into the future.



Architecture should be a selfless act that puts the needs of others and other beings above the architects’ own egocentricity. Architecture is about place making and weaving the right fabric of neighbourhoods, towns and cities for communities’ to integrate and flourish. Before they can do so, the actors must first discover their own strength, fragility, substance, and vulnerability. Everything should start from inside out –niat or intentions. Humans are born as ignorant but slowly they discover and acquire knowledge. Actors should transcend through time and history to rediscover their own roots and regenerate. Each actor should also unleash and transcend his/her potential and strive to serve for the greatest purpose and meaning for the good of humanity and mother earth.


As we are heading towards transnational society, there is a struggle to translate contemporaneity based on the identification of an established origin and local values with the empowering global community of revisionary values. As world co-actors are united in the battle to guard and save the environment and mother earth, there is an emergence of another monster in the form of prototypes energy efficient machines or worst, iconic ogres, which kills the sustenance of local and cultural identity. There are clashes between the translation of architecture to remain part of the unique identity of a society or to cross cultural boundaries and national borders. What are the crucial core architectural ideologies and the limits to the transcendence and transformation that should be allowed to transpire? This should all be deliberated in TranXXit 2008.


As one grows in life and architecture there is always the issue of identity crisis. There is a constant process of transformation taking place in the quest of self-discovery. To transform into a beautiful butterfly a caterpillar has to undergo the process of metamorphosis. A transformation does not mean detaching or losing oneself from the inner being or past completely but to grow and adapt according to future changes there are inevitable. Values and beliefs should be constant but lifestyle will change with advancement in knowledge and technology. What was lost in the transformation process when the Malay House transformed into modern terraces and bungalows? Did it obliterate the essence of culture, values and beliefs they uphold? Or merely to forego the physiological comfort of cross ventilation, shading, cool interiors and aesthetics. The latter is easier to recapture in modern energy efficient buildings of various built forms but the issue is how to transfer the spirit of culture and identity in modern concrete and brick dwellings. The Malay House was a way of life; the spirit may have died in the process of transformation. On the other hand, can it be reincarnated in any other life form? Perhaps it is wrong to be nostalgic and attach a close link to the past; maybe the right step for humankind is to keep moving forward without ever looking back. Should humankind always reinvent new identities and new cultures that bear no resemblance at all to that of their forefathers? The concern is that, in doing so, instead of creating new original entities, the transformation may produce architectural zombies with no true spirit and soul. TranXXit, 2008 should be the platform to reflect on these important issues.

"An ideology is crucial to steer change. As opposed to borrowing from the Renaissance anthropocentricity, students of architecture from ten institutions of higher learning in Malaysia, experiencing the pressure of the global onslaught, agreed to shift direction by formalizing it in the Penang Declaration of Architecture 1997..." Wan Burhanuddin Wan Abidin, 2007

The Penang Declaration (Architecture Workshop) 1997
Architecture belongs to humankind and architects design for their wellbeing


“Welcome to tranXXit2008 USM,
Get ready to transcend, translate and transform

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