23-storey tower to be built over iconic 110-year-old ashram in Brickfields

At 110 years old, the iconic Vivekananda Ashram in Brickfields is a significant cultural and historical landmark. Soon, however, its location will be home to a new structure; a 23-storey residential building with 264 units and an eight-storey car park, The Star Online’s Bavani M. reports.

Here’s what’s different about this development. The ashram itself, which was built in 1904 Malaya by immigrants from Jaffna, Sri Lanka, will not be demolished. 

The structure will stand alongside the new building. Just like this artists’ impression published in The Star Online:

Vivekananda Ashram chairman Tan Sri Dr K. Ampikaipakan told the daily that the ashram’s board of trustees had approved the sale of the 0.4ha plot of prime land but wanted the old building to be maintained for the obvious reason: its symbolic value. 

The ashram was built in honour of the Indian spiritual leader Swami Vivekananda who visited Malaya in 1893.

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“However, we have made it clear that the Vivekananda Ashram will be preserved, and the building will be stratified separately, and the developer has agreed,” Ampikaipakan was quoted as saying.

The decision to sell came due to the need for more funds to support its growing number of educational activities for underprivileged children.

“People talk about the ashram’s symbolic value all the time, but the reality is we don’t even have the money to paint the building. Our aim has always been focused on providing education. Under the trust, we support the children with tuition, transport and food. We also hope to start a breakfast programme,” Ampikaipakan reportedly said.

He added that there are plans to upgrade the old building to be able to support activities and events in the future, including a permanent exhibition of the life of Swami Vivekananda, a small library and a performing arts space. 

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