As regards the three types of identity, it is hoped that the ‘forced identity’ might turn into a ‘natural identity’ in which such situation as housing might be approached from its socio-cultural and climatic aspect. Although research in housing continues to be done, very little can be done if there exist no political will among the people and the leadership in Malaysia to affect change.
As regards the manufactured identity, it will always be with us so long as there are politics and political symbolism. It is hoped, however that future architects would be more discerning in their approach. There is a potential for the growth of machine regionalism for such development as housing and commercial complexes as it is a rational approach. This approach, however, might be limited if an architect is engaged in a highly charged symbolic monument. The approach of primitive regionalism represents a hope for sustainable development if it can solve what critics refer to as high density development. However, these critics should also be aware of Alvin Tofler’s prediction of the death of high density commercial and office complexes with the development of the electronic cottage industry where on-line business transaction would shift the business center back to the home. As regards to revivalism, we should shift far away from straight revivalism and experiment with either the Hassan Fathi’s solution of it or adapt the language of historical precedence into a new and dynamic dialogue. The use of metaphors must be weighted concerning its motifs and indirect suggestive qualities. Of all the approaches, the modernistic expressionism of buildings has the greatest potential of creating new and meaningful architectural interpretation and messages.
With all the experiments and approaches done by local architects, Malaysia was poised to make a quantum leapt into the future when a big question mark loomed in the form of the Prime Minister’s Department and Residence of Putrajaya. Several serious questions are raised by these highly charged monuments. The first question concerns the idea of an obvious and direct ethnic reference in its Malay-Muslim vocabulary. The second question concerns the problem of a democratic country presented with the syntax of a totalitarian vocabulary of palatial monumentality, lavishness, strong symmetry and strict compositional hierarchy. The third question raised is the total absence of an attempt to produce any gesture towards tropical architecture. These two buildings including the Putra Mosque fall under a new category of Foreign Eclecticism. Though eclecticism is a valid architectural approach, the big question is why resort to it when we have a few successes in all the five approaches mentioned. Where do we go from here? It is fortunate that the Kuala Lumpur International Airport designed by Kisho Kurukawa came into the scene and set forth the future path of modernistic expressionism. The new airport is laden with metaphors of our cultural heritage although it did not tackle much some of the regionalistic issues raised in the present time. Nevertheless, the form is new and dynamic and certainly does not call on any specific ethnic or religious reference. The euphoria over the possession of the tallest building in the world would never alter the simple truth that architecture in Malaysia is still in its infancy when it comes to grapple with an intellectual discourse on the acceptable approach in producing a national architectural identity.