The annual PAM Awards is the premier award for architecture in Malaysia where it recognizes the contribution made by architects in terms of design quality and that of the built environment. It is liken to the Academy Awards of the film industry and in this respect, awards are bestowed on the best works which are recognised by peers and public alike in the architectural industry.
In recognizing that the PAM Awards needed to move forward to greater heights and better public recognition, certain set standards and benchmarks were required for more demanding future award programs, Hence, the format of the Aga Khan Award model was adopted with the introduction of the five juror system, both locally and internationally selected and headed by the convenor of the award team, There are also technical reviewers who will answer any pertinent queries required by the jurors.
Reflecting on the awards given out since the 1990s, and with the recent new format of the PAM Awards since year 2000, the standard and detail design of the awarded projects have shown significant improvement in maturity and thought in the overall concept of the built environment; as can be attested by some of the more prominent designs that lined the Klang Valley skyline. For instance, the prominent and captivating cool blue iconic structure of the Telekom Tower and the serene beauty of the Securities Commission building created by the well-known firm of Hijjas Kasturi Associates and the ever present Mesiniaga IBM Tower design by the firm of TR Hamzah and Yeang which won the accolades of the Aga Khan award in the late '90s.
On the residential and commercial front, there have been many well-known firms like CSL Associates and GDP Architects Sdn Bhd, which created significant architectural identities for themselves. Undoubtedly, there are many more individuals and firms that have created many architecturally significant works and are just waiting in the wings to be recognized. In a way, there is no better platform for being judged by your very own peers than the PAM Awards for architectural excellence.
In the good design stake, the role of the client cannot be disregarded as they also play an important and prominent role. A well-crafted building is not the sole responsibility of the architect, but also requires the understanding and support of the paymaster be it from the private or the public sector. It is important that fully-educated and conversant private and government bodies or individuals help raise awareness to the general standard of design, thinking, criteria and philosophy which turn raises the general public perception of what good design and architecture is all about.