The idea of the Harmony Centre was first put forward in 2017 by the then Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng as a facility for Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and Taoists members to hold gatherings. With this idea in mind, the Penang government unveiled a RM2.5 million facility located on Scotland Road to create a space with conducive learning and relaxed environment, such as one with comfortable set-ups, relevant amenities and necessities that cater to the needs of different religious groups.
At 4,300-square-foot, the Harmony Centre building is first of its kind in Penang as well as Malaysia. Originally a colonial-era Malay-style state government bungalow with a verandah featuring lattices in a ketupat-weave motif, the Harmony Centre was given a modern twist, where old meets new, all while respecting its architecture by Penang-based architect firm, BEu Tan Architect (BETA).
CONCEPT & DESIGN
The timber bungalow was refurbished with “back to the basics” principles that allow more sunlight into the space through windows and a central skylight. From outside in, the bungalow has an exterior not only soothing to the eyes but also imbued with a calming effect for anyone inside to conduct retreats, seminars, lectures and classes.
At the lush compound, a peace pole in blue, inscribed with the words “May Peace Prevail on Earth”, which is about 4m high is planted to remind us always on the importance of peace. Our sincere thanks to Penang Gandhi Peace Centre chairman, Datuk Dr Anwar Fazal who donated this beautiful and iconic pole, which he describes as having three dimensions – peace with oneself, peace with others and peace with Mother Nature.
Nestled on a spacious one-acre grounds, the bungalow is suitable for all sizes and types activities:
– Small, intimate events (up to 80 people): Conference room, Function room, Reading room, Dining area and Pantry
– Larger events / Group practices (up to 200 people): 2,800-square-foot Conference Hall with a large Compound
– Outdoor events: A “Secret Garden” with outdoor seating and swings
All the religious NGOs and groups including the Muslims can make good use of the space in the spirit of togetherness.
Opening ceremony of the Harmony Centre followed by ceremonial blessings by religious leaders from Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST).