Sarawak Heritage Society site visit to Square Tower, Kuching, Sarawak

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Photos of Square Tower in year 2008. Old photos showing the prison which was built next to the square tower

The square tower in Kuching, Sarawak was completed in 1879, served as sentry posts on each side of the Sarawak River. It was originally built next to first Kuching prison and it was used as security detention centre. Later, it was changed to a dancing hall by Brooke’s officers and servants during weekends. It was believed that the ground floor was once function as a lock up jail.
The building was finished with lime wash paint and the wall shows that there is a high dampness in the building and it starts to affect the wall structure.

Site Visit to square tower on 21June 2009
This is the first site visit conducted by Mike Boon, president of SHS on 21 June 2009. Square tower is currently under refurbishment. The wall is in high dampness due to the rise up of water level from the waterfront and this condition has badly deterioriating the wall structure. Cement was only arrived in Kuching during 1880s, therefore the wall plaster used is not the type of cement plaster we usually see nowadays, it is a mixture of sand, lime and metakaolin at a certain ratio. The architect and conservator has to testing with different ratio of mixture to get the best and nearest result to the original plaster. Mike explaning the bricks used in the building.
The paint which makes the wall can't breathe has being taken off and papermesh are used to absorb the water moisture contain in the wall for days. Samples are then tested in lab for the level of moisture content inside.
Ground floor with typically small windows and grills.
Spiral wood staircase leading to all the floors above
The small opening at the staircase shaft which said to be the hole where they placed their guns in the pase.
The mixture of sand, lime and metakaolin tested at different ratios, 6-6-4-2 has being found to be the most suitable ratios among all.
First floor area
Original post and beam
Rottens structure has being replaced.
The place where they mix the plaster.
There are still no evidence being found regarding the type of roof the building was using previously. Therefore, for temporary usage, metal decking is installed temporary.

"Heritage Conservation is often defined as a process to look after a site as to retain its special values while conservation also means to maintain, to preserve, to restore or to reconstruct heritage properties into its most original state. "

(please leave any comments on this post, I am not good in technical terms, any mistakes or corrections, please let me know)