The Sibu Heritage Centre housed in the former Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) building is fast becoming a landmark the locals could be proud of since its inception in August 2010. The structure was completed in 1963 and soon became a landmark in Sibu with its distinctive folded concrete roof and tropical architecture features. It was the SMC headquarters from 1963 until 2000. It was left vacant and disused until 2008.
The design response aimed to reflect the SMC's past stature as a physical and social landmark in Sibu and to reinstate its position as a public destination by satisfying the following criteria:
1. Having a public presence
2. Regaining the original structure
3. Weaving the Present within the Past
4. Addressing the street
5. Restoring a place in people's memory
Despite years of ad-hoc additions and extensions, it was surprisingly easy to regain the SMC's original form, perhaps due to the building's distinctive silhouette.
The commercial spaces on the ground floor are enclosed in clear glazing for visibility and views into the inner courtyard. The museum upstairs has a folded glass facade to complement the concrete roof while enabling a clear expression of the building's structure.
The new entrance portal "the funnel" is an entry statement. It sucks visitors into the belly of the centre.
This part of the funnel is glazed to let light in and to articulate the connection between the new and the old.
The suspended steel structure with timber flooring is a modern cousin of traditional river crossing
The museum layout replicates the experience of walking through Sibu's lane and alley-ways. The original framed photos were collated into a wall mosaic.
The museum documents the early beginning of Sibu, the coming of early Chinese migrants from the various ethnic groups of the Central Region.
Almost all exhibits and artifacts from the once Mini-Museum in Civic Centre are now moved to the Centre.
The Centre is the best place to get to know the history and the culture of this town. Admission is free and it is open everyday from 9am to 5pm except on Monday.