In the search for the next best high-rise idea and a new architectural icon in Kuching Sarawak, the nationwide architecture design competition – 'Langit' has found its 11 shortlists, now exhibited for public viewing at La Promenade Mall.
According to the Malaysian Architecture Institute (PAM) Sarawak Chapter, Langit received 85 submissions and 112 registrations in total. Almost two-thirds of entries were from outside Sarawak, including by architecture firms in Kuala Lumpur and Sabah.
Competition convener, PAM Sarawak chairman Chai Si Yong shared: "There has never ever been such a design competition before in east Malaysia. This is a significant advancement for both architecture and real estate development. The project sponsors, Hock Seng Lee (HSL) and Next Phase (NP) will get a great design for this strategic piece of land, and more importantly, the people of Kuching will get a great building with some of the best design considerations put in."
On top of economic viability and sustainability, the key jury criterion is civic consideration in the commercial architecture design ideas.
"Designs with good public spaces were appreciated. A number of the shortlisted are mixed-use high-rises with good public, retail and commercial residential components," Chai said.
Upon receiving the competition brief, including local planning and building regulations and guidelines, participants had approximately a month to submit their entries.
One of the vistas from the site of Langit showing the views of Kuching, Sarawak.
The organiser has ensured that participants are well provided with the resource they need to produce impressive designs viable for the challenging and small 0.78acre site at Jalan Tabuan, opposite the Inland Revenue Tax Academy.
Though challenging, it is a prime piece of land in Kuching's central business district. The site is within a 1km radius of Kuching Waterfront and The Spring Mall. It is also a stone throw from Reservoir Park, the city hall, and Sarawak's best performing schools.
HSL held this competition because the Group wants to reaffirm its status as a professional-led construction firm, which intends to build Kuching's next icon.
"The planning is so important. You do not want to construct another building without a clear direction and purpose then struggle with its occupancy later. You cannot retrofit a bad building. It has to start right from the beginning." said Next Phase's Director Yu Ji, who is one of the competition's 5-member jury panel.
Adding to that, Langit's Jury Chair Ar. Ivy Jong (founding partner of Atelier Timur Sdn. Bhd. and the immediate past PAM Sarawak chairman) highlighted one of Langit's primary goals which is "to encourage people to see the value of design".
"The participants have come up with a lot of innovative prototypes and ways buildings can be constructed more economically and efficiently. With new construction technologies applied to build high-rises, we can reduce a lot of wastage from the conventional methods," adds Chai.
All three who were present shared their delight with the encouraging response beyond their expectations and excitement towards the inspiring architecture design entries.
"Through this competition, we are seeing how these professional architects are teaching us how to build smaller and more affordable things in the inner city. People are living further and further away when city living is actually so great with its conveniences. The designs are driven by the quality of life," said Yu Ji.
Chai, the newly appointed chairman of PAM also expressed his intention to open up more design competitions as platforms for architects to showcase their vision and talent. He hopes to work with the local government next to organise a match for designs of civic buildings. "That will be good for the industry as a whole and certainly for the development of architecture in Sarawak," said Chai.
Chai informs that the judging is purely based on the design as the participants are all anonymous to the jury. Young talents, new emerging architects have an equal chance to compete on this platform.
The announcement of Langit's result and prize presentation (a total of RM200,000 cash prizes) is scheduled for late June 2021.
Hock Song Lee Berhad (HSL), Next Phase Sdn Bhd and the Malaysian Institue of Architects (PAM) welcome the public, architects, consultants, real estate enthusiasts and university students to view the work of the 11 shortlists. Each of the shortlisted entries has four detailed A1 sized panels.
The public display is held on the ground floor of the La Promenade Mall with Safe Operating Procedure in place. Entry to the exhibition is free.