ACES OF ARCHITECTURE: This year’s Malaysian Institute of Architects’ PAM Annual Dinner saw 10 categories of winners being recognised at PAM Awards 2012
An imposing site situated on a steep 66 feet Class 3 slope with no flat ground demanding a precise understanding of slope design. A client’s brief for a retreat house blending physical spaces with the forest landscape. The need to incorporate a high-rise tower and a low-rise block into a developer’s project to add diversity to an otherwise monotonous monologue of towers. A cluster housing development exploring the notion of living in proximity with nature. The addition of two new blocks to a renovation and refurbishment exercise to create a more intimate relationship between the hotel guests and nature.
All these issues and more were resolved with panache, judging from the five gold winners of the different categories awarded at the Malaysian Institute of Architects’ PAM Awards 2012 in which creative problem solutions were evidently reflected in the winning works.
Held annually, the PAM Awards is traditionally an event most in the architectural fraternity look forward to. Giving recognition to the best projects, the awards act as a benchmark for design standards. Such was the case displayed at the recent PAM Awards 2012.
“PAM Awards is the highest architectural awards that any firm can get from the institute. To be able to receive it is a big achievement for any architectural firm,” enthuses PAM President Ar. Hj Saifuddin Ahmad adding that the recognition accords star status to the projects on an annual basis with the aim of propelling design excellence to a higher level.
Particularly worthy of mention was the fact that the pool of entries received across all ten categories of projects this year showcased strong elements of sustainability. The ten categories included the Single Residential, Multiple Residential (Low- rise), Multiple Residential (High-rise), Overseas, Adaptive Re-use, Industrial, Commercial, Interior Design, Showroom and Special Category.
“Sustainability was a key element incorporated into many of the designs. This year, we noted many projects had included this element in their designs. We also had two gold winners for the Single Residential category this year in which two entries were selected as winners with their totally contrasting design approaches,” he notes.
“Without fail, we have received a lot of submissions for the Single and Multiple Residential categories as there’s a lot of work being done in the Residential category. Additionally, we alternate the Adaptive Re-use category every year with Conservation,” reveals Saifuddin.
“We hope that in future, more architects will submit their works. My advice to them is to submit because you never know where your position is. I believe that there are a lot of quality works out there although the architects or sometimes the owners themselves are reluctant to submit their entries. Winning an award brings about publicity of sorts as it is not only recognised by the institute but will also bring high profile (recognition) to your firm,” he says.
There were a total of 121 entries received for this year. The jury members included associate professor Ramli bin Abdullah from Universiti Teknologi MARA‘s (UiTM) department of architeture, faculty of architecture, planning and surveying, Michael Goh Suk Keat, president of wREGA (Graphic Design Association of Malaysia), professor George Kunihiro from the department of architecture, Kokushikan University and president of the Architects Regional Council Asia (ARCASIA) 2011-2012, Ar. Teo Ah Khing of Teo A. Khing Design Consultants Sdn Bhd and PAM president Saifuddin. Ar See Kim Piow was the convener of PAM Awards 2012.
House 484 - Gold winner for Category 1: Single Residential
House with a view: Undeterred by the steep 66 feet slope that marks the site of House 484, the teams from Design Collective Architects in collaboration with Essential Design Integrated Sdn Bhd that undertook the interior design work envisioned the vast potential possibilities of the site with its surrounding panoramic view. Perched on the vantage point high above, the house was designed as a “cantilevered structure that extends out from the grounds” offering a 270 degree view spanning across a township on one side to the lush workings of a forest reserve hillslope on another.
Like a chiselled gem, House 484 stands apart – both offering scenic views of its surroundings and being an unusual sight in itself. The primary design element of the house started with the view. The ensuing result saw all the other architectural design features taking a cue from the panoramic surroundings by capturing the scenic vistas by way of floor-to-ceiling sliding doors that open up to reveal a generous balcony with invisible glass railing.
Making a striking statement, the half-sized Olympic infinity lap pool almost seems to hang over the slope, cantilevered almost 30 feet out, allowing one to, as it were, “swim out into the sky”. The structural design following the slope played a pivotal role in the construction methodology with carefully designed micropile and soil-nailing system used for supporting and stabilising the slope. The house was built with a composite structure of reinforced concrete and steel bracing cantilevered over the slope almost 40 feet from the sub-structure.
Jury’s Citation:Displaying the wit and ability in adaptation and execution of a seemingly ‘universal’ design typology.
Retreat House on Lot 8583, Janda Baik, Pahang - Gold winner for Category 1: Single Residential
Living alongside nature: The team from Assaffa Design Practice designed the retreat house set on 20 acres of land at Kampong Janda Baik, Pahang Darul Makmur using timber or chengal frame as seen in the load bearing wall for the kitchen and main bathroom area. Ushering in a natural look and feel that complements the lush surroundings of the forest landscape beautifully, the rustic ambience of the setting makes this a serene haven to retreat to.
Treading lightly on the natural forest landscape, the retreat house rests languidly on the open recesses of space. Both the dining wakaf unit and living or bedroom area are designed with upper sleeping areas that are accessible by retractable stairs. The spillover areas include the workings of the kitchen as well as the internal and outdoor bath, a dip pool jacuzzi and timber verandah embracing the natural beauty of the outdoors.
Jury’s Citation: Successfully reading the site context with faithful execution blending traditional Malaysian architecture echoing the message of sustainability.
Kiara 1888, Mont Kiara - Gold winner for Category 3: Multiple Residential – High-Rise
Courting community living: The realisation of the architectural concept for Kiara 1888 by the team from yhsA Sdn Bhd showcased a clever approach in which a high-rise tower and low-rise block were both incorporated into the development. Pairing up to offer the best of both worlds by offering a serene lifestyle while ushering in a sense of community living, the project has a total of 182 dwellings that are supported by a series of open yet shielded communal
Situated on a sloping site with a terrain measuring 72 feet long, Kiara 1888 is designed to be a sanctuary built in response to the site. The beauty of the project lies with its seamless flow of communal spaces conducive to community living. The existing characteristics of the site that were addressed include the workings of a monsoon drain located close to the street front and an inclination of the site up towards its rear. The characteristics of the site resulted in the attributes of the building shaping the entrance to the tower as well as its surrounding landscape, car park levels and the mode of entry. The high-rise tower and its accompanying block were also designed after taking into account the sloping site.
Part of the design brief specifying affordable construction cost was achieved by way of using conventional reinforced concrete framed with shear walls that was adopted for the high-rise tower complemented with infill walls made of clay bricks. The structural frame residing over a series of almost ten-feet deep structural beams was translated into “appropriately located columns in the car park”. In areas where it was difficult to gain construction access, the foundations consisted of bored piles with caisson piles at the slopes. Basic materials embellished with a range of feature elements in their unfinished or natural state further add volumes of interest to the surroundings.
Jury’s Citation: A much thought out solution to a complex challenge with successful manipulation of spaces which enhances users’ experience.
Mont Timah, Hindhede Drive in Singapore - Gold winner for Category 4: Overseas
Living next to nature: Chan Sau Yan Associates was named the winner for the Overseas category for its architectural work on Mont Timah, Hindhede Drive in Singapore. Situated next to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve off Hindhede Drive, Mont Timah with its eight blocks of three-storey cluster housing employs a unique concept of using the pin-wheel as a diagram, with the base unit being rotated to form a cluster of four identical units.
Making its maiden foray as a first-of-its-kind development in the Lion City with each cluster divided into quads, true to its definition, all the units enjoy the “landed characteristics of bungalows with their individual private enclosed space on the ground floor inclusive of a water feature, lawn and timber deck”.
Exploring the idea of living harmoniously and in close proximity with nature, the “clusters of dwellings” designed around a 25-metre lap pool overlooking verdant greenery is a sight to behold. Neatly arranged in descending terraces, these clusters following the sloping profile of the site stand out with their simple but striking forms.
Each unit comes with four bedrooms including a private enclosed space and a sunken courtyard at the basement. Two levels of roof terraces include the workings of a staircase leading to the rooftop that can be used as a viewing platform overlooking the nature reserve. Every bedroom unit is directly accessible to a private external area that provides a quality of intimacy for each of the rooms. The home elevator is also a standard feature of every household, providing easy access for the family.
Some units were designed to accommodate their own private pools. A basement car park, swimming pool and amenities including the children’s wading pool, clubhouse, outdoor timber decks and landscaped outdoor areas further enrich the development. Lending allure to the vicinity are cycling and trekking trails leading to Bukit Timah Hill, the Hindhede Nature Park, The Bukit Timah Shopping Centre and Beauty World Plaza tucked along Upper Bukit Timah Road.
Off-form concrete, wood and natural stone juxtaposed against the lush forested surroundings provide character to the site spanning 84,420 sq ft. Seeking to establish elements of sustainability for the built environment, greenhouse gas emissions, urban infrastructure, replenishable resources, resource efficacy, harmonisation with place and an integrated landscape plus wellness of inhabitants are also addressed.
Jury’s Citation: Nice, good composition of simple forms yet enhancing the existing environment. The contrast of materials adds rhythm to the architecture.
Lone Pine Hotel, Batu Feringghi, Penang - Gold winner for Category 7: Commercial
Renovation and refurbishment: Established in 1948, Lone Pine Hotel in Batu Feringghi, Penang is located on a pristine stretch of beach and represents the only luxury boutique hotel in this area. Having undergone several renovations and refurbishments over the years, the latest addition of two new blocks that serve to join the existing blocks has resulted in a modern and contemporary look that also manages to retain the charms of the Pearl of the Orient.
GDP Architects Sdn Bhd approached the design objective of establishing a “more intimate relationship between the hotel guests and nature” by creating a dialogue treading gently on the land so as to “minimise the footprint of the new blocks to ensure they were delicate insertions into the existing site”.
Employing a “neutral architectural language” for the new blocks that were refurbished to enhance their “original character and to highlight their colonial charm”, the end result marries old and new spaces with an open interplay between the common areas of the hotel and the private rooms taking place within the surrounding landscape.
The interplay of varied textures including prickly clay brick piers, concrete block walls, slick glass panels and mesh screens with creepers lends volumes of interest to the hotel. The colour palette also complements the materials to reinforce the understated design reinforcing the building’s relationship with nature.
Jury’s Citation: Full appreciation of site context with innovative solutions blending old and new with a good grasp of natural settings to create a feeling of openness.
Pics courtesy of PAM.