Pamela Tan explores various fields in art, architecture, and design with her work cutting across and blurring the boundaries between disciplines.

Taxonomy Archive City by Pamela Tan and Zan Nureen

Tan originally studied at the University of Greenwich, London and receiving distinctions for all her architectural design projects. She was the recipient of the PAM-Tan Sri Ar Chan Sau Lai Award 2016 with her final year design thesis project called The Soil City — an imagined future city where the once abundant natural resource of topsoil is running out and society is structured around the high value associated to topsoil, where the wealthy store miniature gardens in the vaults of the central soil bank, and workers dredge through the domestic organic waste dumping grounds on the periphery of Greenwich Peninsula in an attempt to speed up the process of soil production. Watch Tan talk about The Soil City for this TEDx Talk:

Her work has also been published and exhibited namely at The Royal Academy of Arts, London; Future Cities 4: Reconciling Opposites, London; East of Eden, London; Architecture Malaysia, Malaysia; Design and Architecture d+a, Malaysia, and Kuala Lumpur Architecture Festival 2017 (KLAF).

One of her projects – Eden, at Mont Kiara Retail Park, in Kuala Lumpur, blurs the boundaries between man-made wonders and the beauty of nature. Created as a celebration of natural elements and merging the lush greenery of the existing site, with a “wondrous landscape” referenced from the mythical story of the Garden of Eden. Providing visitors with a refuge away from the hustle and bustle.

Eden is created to invite visitors to re-discover how nature can be experienced by magnifying subtle details through its organic structures, transporting them to another world unlike anything they have encountered. It features a pathway covered with crystal-white pebbles that leads through an arched passageway inspired by Victorian-era steel conservatory structures, such as the Crystal Palace – a cast-iron and glass structure built in London to house the Great Exhibition of 1851.

Heliconia Vase by Pamela Tan

For Bandar Arkib Taksonomi (Taxonomy Archive city) in collaboration with Zan Nureen, Tan took the “significant” entities of Kuala Lumpur and reimagined them. The ‘city on a table’ is an architectural translation of Kuala Lumpur, which is mainly conceived in the form of a collection housing objects, knowledge, stories, events and traditions of the capital city that would remain constant as part of the metropolis in the light of time. The characters of KL city are disguised as a taxonomy archive city- a collective remembrance given urban form.


The final project we bring you from Pam Tan is located in vibrant Kelana Jaya, a suburb in the Malaysian city of Petaling. The multicoloured PJKITA mural begins from the main entrance of PJKITA Community Centre, flowing from the wall to the floor and then spills out across the street stretching 120-metres. The design of the street mural playfully mirrors fragments of the map of PJKITA’s site and surrounding neighbourhood and the hand imprints of contributors, volunteers and supporters have been left in dedicated spaces on the wall as a mark of their contribution.