One hot Sunday afternoon, in a bid to escape the heat, we ducked into what looked like a trendy café on Jalan Sultan in Kuala Lumpur. It took us a moment to realise that we were standing in the former landmark, Rex Cinema.
The space that is now known as RexKL bears little resemblance to the cinema many KL folk of a certain age remember. Traces of its past can, however, still be found in the grand staircase that leads to the second floor and the signage that reads “Reserved Class” in three languages.
RexKL is the perfect example of clever adaptive reuse. Malaysia has its share of abandoned buildings and has seen a good number of old ones torn down to build anew. While buildings do get worn down over time, some reimagining and redesigning can breathe new life into not just the old structures but the surroundings as well by creating new spaces for the public.
One of the…