Architectural Insight: SP Setia Headquarters, Shah Alam

Few days ago, I came across an architectural article that shares to us design information and images of a recently completed office building in Malaysia. The building is SP Setia Headquarters, located at Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia. When I browsed through the images of the building from its exterior to interior, I’m surprised that this is actually located in Malaysia! You know…there are only quite a few office buildings in my country that would achieve this level of architectural excellence. And SP Setia Headquarters, Shah Alam is easily one of the best designed office building in Malaysia. It is designed by Shatotto (Rafiq Azam) and is completed last year.

Here I would like to share this particular article by Mara Corradi that I have read regarding this wonderful building:




Rafiq Azam, founder of the Bengali architectural practice Shatotto, recently completed the S P Setia headquarters in Setia Alam, Malaysia. This is Rafiq Azam’s most important office building, and his most significant project outside his own country, Bangladesh. The building was designed using the most refined bio-architecture technologies, qualifying for Leed Platinum certification.

Over the years Rafiq Azam’s name has been linked with exemplary residential projects in Bangladesh, in which the futuristic compositional concept, containing references to landscape and history, is closely linked with a vision of architecture as an organism which stands on the land without damaging it or exploiting it.

The headquarters of S P Setia, the Malaysian business conglomerate, stands on a lot measuring more than 12000 square metres in a part of the city which was recently divided into lots. The new project is intended to represent a powerful, bold company which works with respect for its context, both local and global, and has become an icon representing Malaysia all over the world.







The monumental entrance with its columns rising up to the roof is not only intended to represent the company’s public face, it is consistent with two key elements in the city around it: the big traffic artery Setia Persiaran to the south and the rainwater reservoir to the east, which the sequence of columns faces. The curtain wall of the main façade starts out facing Setia Persiaran and continues, on the basis of an L-shaped floor plan, by embracing the green area. Two volumes are grafted off this at right angles to create another artificial body of water which is almost symmetrical in shape. In this composition Azam’s building seems to rise above the water, citing Niemeyer, whose buildings in Brasilia and in Milan seem to defy gravity despite their concrete structures by “suspending them” over the water.

The compact volume of the S P Setia headquarters seeks lightness, suspended over a grid of circular columns, the highest of which – fully 36 metres high – support the overhanging concrete roof. The entire glassed-in complex is thus physically detached both from the roof, which is suspended, and the ground, because the pillars hold it aloft over the water like a giant lake dwelling.

Numerous details of the composition reflect the Bengalese architect’s touch, such as the big “eye” on the roof, providing a place to contemplate the water from the arcade or from the inner courtyard on the eighth floor; the gardens on various levels, which make an essential contribution to climate control in the building, or the imitation of nature evident in the columns and in the lights on rods over the water. The architect comments, “Once the plantings mature fully, the building will appear as if it is emerging from a forest.”

These choices, guided by the philosophy of respect for the building’s surroundings, are added to others of a more functional nature which have earned the building Leed Platinum Certification : from use of plants of local origin requiring minimal maintenance to collection of rainwater for the reservoirs; from the green roof contributing to temperature control to the photovoltaic installation; from use of paint with a reduced content of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) to recycling of furniture from the group’s previous offices.






Quick info of the building:

Design: Rafiq Azam (SHATOTTO Architecture for Green Living) and Archicentre Sdn Bhd
Project team: Sihaam Shaheed, Nubaira Haque Shipa, Ng Hai Yean, Ms. Inthirani
Client: Bandar Setia Alam Sdn Bhd
Location: Setia Alam (Malaysia)
Structural design: Tylin International Sdn Bhd – Sia Pie King and Robin Yip, Weng Cheong
Gross total surface area: 33838 m2
Lot size: 12300 m2
Project start: 2012
Completion of work: 2014
Metal frames
Brick facing and continuous façades
Green roof
Concrete structure
Marble and ceramic flooring
Recycled furniture from previous offices
Photos: © H.Lin Ho , Shatotto.

Source of article:

It would be cool if I get to work in the building with this kind of environment! Excellent design.


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