lantern hotel is a 49-room facility whose designideas were really started about three years ago. we took a team of engineers and some architects and we arranged to meet with the clients and took a casual walk in china town kuala lumpur, to witness what was then a dilapidated office space, ran for some years as a bookstore. jason wong and his assistant and deputy ms loh and us went up to the look at this not so old office building which was sitting atop a bank, we were thinking how we could fit 50 rooms into such a tiny space, which seem not larger than one shoplot. the best part though was that it is indeed inside the heritage zone of the city, and the client offered the job for a very small fee, and over a nearly ridiculously tight budget. the facade was already quite dreadful then, with many curved arches and black and blue tinted glass, many were already in twisted frames, and a lot of what we saw then looked like very dilapidated structural floor slabs and beams and much of what was there originally are broken electrical equipment hidden away in desolated spaces. on the roof we have ample space to accomodate what would later be water tank areas and ac,v systems. the entrance to to building has many obstructions, we fought hard to recevie approvals to clear the way for a decent entrance without having to demoloish and rebuild a statutory compliance for setbacks in heritage areas. it was quite dreadful, the stairway is not very small but was tucked away, and at the time totally cluttered with hawker tables and chairs, next to a rather gloomy fire stairs that do not actually work, and a broken lift. within a month if apoointment we saw later the demolition of the existing floors, these have had to be hacked open to make way for a centrally lit daylight courtyard which had to be quite small. it was necessary to bring in a lot of light so we placed a fairly large skylight on the last floor which is then the roof opening. the facade was more or less left as it was, all quite ugly, so we had to clad the external windows and these walls with a very dark, almost black burnt clay bricks. the contractors had helped to locate and find a brick supplier and manufacturer who would procure and resurrect what was already a dying trade.