Archive for architecture

Last walk in KLCC for the year.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 29, 2017 by vincentloy

KLCC (Kuala Lumpur City Centre) is an area that I love to visit once in a while because that’s the area in Kuala Lumpur with the most prominent skyscrapers. I think I have been there for at least four times this year including my most recent trip to that area yesterday to have lunch with my friend. Earlier trips to that area were due to my task to do a site analysis for a location selected for my thesis project. One instant thing that I will do once I reached the train station there or in the Suria KLCC shopping mall, I will head out to the KLCC Park and gaze up to the sky to admire and view all the tall buildings around. Although the Petronas Twin Towers will soon no longer be the tallest buildings in the country, but they remains as the most iconic towers in my heart. By the way, they are still the tallest twin buildings in the world! Their beauty is timeless.

I’m fascinated that more and more tall buildings are popping out in that region. The exterior cladding for the already topped out 343 metres tall Four Seasons Place building looks almost completed. The same goes to the 235 metres tall W Hotel & Residences building. Both buildings that are right beside the iconic Petronas Twin Towers are to be completed and opened next year.

In the meantime, I am also disappointed with the very slow progress happening at the construction site for the Fairmont Towers development that claimed part of the KLCC Park. I have been seeing the ground works happening for several years and the towers are still not rising yet. How I wish that the construction speed of this project would be as fast as the Exchange 106 Tower. The Exchange 106 Tower which is projected to complete next year at a height of 492 metres has already reached 450 metres and made a bold visual impact to the city’s skyline already although it hasn’t been completed yet.

And lastly, it’s great to see the landscaping growing well all over the twin towers of the Le Nouvel Residences but they are still apparent enough. This complex has been completed for around 2 years already.

I noticed that there are still some empty plots in the region (within or around the perimeter of KLCC masterplan) and I’m hoping that they would be taken up for great developments soon so that the area will be more dense with awesome skyscrapers to enhance the overall city’s skyline.

(Copyrights reserved to all images in this post)

Advertisements

Exciting supertall projects to enhance KL’s skyline soon.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 19, 2017 by vincentloy

The city skyline of Kuala Lumpur has dramatically changed in recent years. More skyscrapers are being built in the city, dwarfing over older buildings and populating remaining low-rise areas in the city. Here below are some of the on-going skyscraper projects in KL along with their latest updates:

The Exchange 106

This 106-storey office tower is currently dominating the city’s skyline although its construction has not completed yet. Some sources revealed that the tower has now reached about 450 metres in height, making it as tall as the city’s current record holder; the 452 metres tall iconic Petronas Twin Towers. The Exchange 106 Tower by Mulia Group is expected to top out and complete next year with projected height of 492 metres. This tower is rising very quickly and it is now starting to work on its upper portion’s central core. The highlight of this design is on its crystalline-like crown. Hence, the tower now looks very massive yet plain (boring glass cladding all over) at this stage.

Four Seasons Place

After experiencing multiple delays and changes of design in the past, the Four Seasons Place has topped out this year and will be completed next year. It now stands tall besides the Petronas Twin Towers at a height of 343 metres (65 floors). It is the second tallest hotel building in the world and also the second tallest building in Malaysia (after the Petronas Twin Towers). Some criticized the building for leaving huge visual impact to the twin towers as the building is only slightly lower and is very close to the twin towers. Well, we have to accept the fact that the twin towers will soon be dwarfed by more taller buildings in the future (they can’t be the tallest in the city forever, right?!). But the twin towers would still remain iconic for the city. The ‘Four Seasons’ logo will be nicer if it is bigger in my opinion.

Merdeka PNB118 Tower

This project receives a lot of criticism earlier due to allocation of national funding for this huge skyscraper that is thought to be much more useful to be spent on other resources, the impact it leaves to its surrounding historical area, and the absence of need for another supertall tower in the city. Anyway, the project is back on its track now after setting aside those criticisms and also after some issues with its structural foundation. It is now set to rise quickly to be the tallest building of the country by 2021 at a height of 630 metres (118 floors).

(Renderings for Merdeka PNB118 Tower)

Oxley Towers and Fairmont Towers

Construction has been slow especially for Fairmont Towers that sit right besides the KLCC Park. The Fairmont development consists of three towers with the tallest one to reach 380 metres in height with 78 floors. They are projected to complete by 2020 but that is highly unlikely looking from its current construction progress. Work is still at the ground level at this stage which is very slow. The same situation goes to the adjacent Oxley Towers development. Once completed, the taller tower in Oxley complex will be 341 metres tall with 79 floors. I estimate their completion would be around 2022 or 2023.

(Oxley Towers’ development in rendering above)

(Fairmont Towers’ development in rendering above)

(Construction site on the left is the Oxley project while the construction site on the right is the Fairmont project. Four Seasons Place is in the middle in this picture above)

Angkasa Raya Tower

This project has been approved years ago but there is no sign of its construction yet in a plot of land adjacent also to the Petronas Twin Towers. I wonder what is the problem that is delaying this project now. Designed by famous architect, Buro Ole Scheeren, the tower has 65 floors and will have a height of 268 metres. Let’s hope that this project with kick-start very soon.

(Images and information in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Emporis Skyscraper Award 2016

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 6, 2017 by vincentloy

The result for Emporis Skyscraper Award 2016 was announced recently. It is an annual prize to honour highrise buildings with excellence in both aesthetic and functional design. The award first started in year 2000 ranks 10 best buildings worldwide annually which are chosen by Emporis editors. They are architectural experts from across the world. For your further information, Emporis is a real estate data mining company that collects and publishes data of buildings worldwide with particular emphasis on skyscrapers. The database now also includes low-rise buildings and other structures. Only buildings completed (built) in 2016 are considered for this award’s selection.

The winner for Emporis Skyscraper Award 2016 is Via 57 West in New York City, USA. The pyramid shaped winner, designed by the Danish architects BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, was recognized by the award jury for its fascinating and extraordinary shape which breaks new ground in design. VIA 57 West is a hybrid between an European perimeter block and a classic American skyscraper.

Claiming the second place is Torre Reforma from Mexico City, Mexico. With a height of 804 feet, it is Mexico City’s tallest skyscraper and also the world’s tallest exposed concrete structure. The jury specifically praises the intelligent environmental solution for a skyscraper. The building is composed of two exposed concrete walls and one main glass façade. The concrete walls protect the interior from direct sunlight and reduces the cooling load. Mexico City is known for its high seismic activity. For this reason, Torre Reforma has a triangular footprint and combined with the latest engineering knowledge, it is supposed to withstand heavy winds and earthquakes for the next 2,500 years.

In third place the expert jury voted Oasia Hotel Downtown, in Singapore. The project stands out with a remarkable red façade and 21 different species of plants in 1793 planter boxes turning into an urban oasis. The facade is overgrown with different vines to ensure the building’s facade is always lush and resilient during different weather conditions. Moreover, the tower offers four open sky gardens which allows wind to pass through the building for good ventilation.

Here’s below is the Top 10 Skyscrapers for year 2016 as selected by Emporis that reveals the remaining 4th to 10th place winners.

  1. Via 57 West – 142 metres high, 34 floors, New York City, USA. Architect: BIG. (30 points)

2. Torre Reforma – 245 metres high, 57 floors, Mexico City, Mexico. Architect: LBR Arquitectos. (27 points)

3. Oasis Hotel Downtown – 190 metres high, 27 floors, Singapore. Architect: WOHA Architects. (25 points)

4. MahaNakhon – 314 metres high, 77 floors, Bangkok, Thailand. Architect: Buro Ole Scheeren. (23 points)

5. Elbphilharmonie – 110 metres high, 25 floors, Hamburg, Germany. Architect: Kallmorgen & Partner, Herzog & de Meuron. (18 points)

6. 56 Leonard Street – 250 metres high, 57 floors, New York City, USA. Architect: Herzog & de Meuron. (17 points)

7. CTF Finance Centre – 530 metres high, 111 floors, Guangzhou, China. Architect: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates. (13 points)

8. The L Tower – 205 metres high, 59 floors, Toronto, Canada. Architect: Studio Daniel Libeskind. (12 points)

9. Beijing Greenland Dawangjing Tower – 260 metres high, 55 floors, Beijing, China. Architect: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP. (10 points)

10. Sumitomo Fudosan Roppongi Grand Tower – 231 metres high, 43 floors, Tokyo, Japan. Architect: Nikkon Sekkei Ltd. (7 points)

The winner, Via 57 West is one of the precedent studies for my Masters’ thesis. It is not very tall, but made a huge visual impact to the New York City’s skyline due to its unique design that challenges the convention of skyscraper typology. I do like the 2nd place winner, Torre Reforma too as the huge vertical bare concrete wall is a stand out among typical fully glass-clad or solid painted walled skyscrapers. The 3rd place, Oasis Hotel Downtown is to be complimented for its striking red-coloured cladding that allows landscaping to grow on it. The other buildings look fantastic too and they are mostly designed by famous architects. I have personally visited the Bangkok’s MahaNakhon Tower. Although it looks nice with its pixelated feature, but the way the architect explained how it relates to the city context doesn’t resonate to me at all.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

Reference:

https://www.emporis.com/awards/2016

 

Winners at the World Architecture Festival 2017.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2017 by vincentloy

World Architecture Festival 2017 was held recently in Berlin, Germany from 15 to 17th November. This annual festival contains events for the architecture industry and one of the main highlights of the festival is the awards presentation. The festival honors architectural projects across the world in various categories and will select a project to be declared World Building of the Year. Here below is the full list of winners for this year’s World Architecture Festival:

Completed Buildings

Civic and Community – Streetlight Tagpuro, Tacloban, Philippines (Eriksson Furunes + Leandro V. Locsin)

Display – The Smile, London, United Kingdom (Alison Brooks Architects)

Housing – Superlofts Houthaven, Amsterdam, Netherlands (Marc Koehler Architects)

This housing project receives this year’s newly created award; Director’s Special Award. 

A new co-housing concept that aims to create a global network of local building co-operatives, judges said the concept is “a game changer – a replicable and transferable model which could extend in terms of scale.”

Culture – The Palestinian Museum, Birzeit, Palestine (Heneghan Peng Architects)

House – Binh House, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (Vo Trong Nghia Architects)

New and Old – Post earthquake reconstruction and demonstration project of Guangming Village, Zhaotong, China (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)

This project is also the winner for World Building Of The Year.

The project was initiated in response to the catastrophic Ludian earthquake in 2014, which destroyed most of the traditional rammed-earth buildings in the village of Guangming. When replacement materials such as brick and concrete proved to be too costly for most of the village’s residents, the architect team developed a new technique of constructing rammed-earth homes that will be more resistant to future seismic activity.

A prototype house built for an elderly couple was completed last year, proving the method could provide a safe, economical, comfortable, and sustainable reconstruction strategy for the village and the wider region of Southwest China.

The judges believed this to be an extraordinary project in terms of the scope of ambition, exemplified in the addressing of profound problems facing ordinary people. They applauded the re-use of traditional material and construction methods but with the addition of new technology – combining ancient wisdom with modern know-how.

The judges were also impressed by the iterative research process which could be re-applied to anywhere in the world affected by seismic problems and low levels of wealth. “The architects succeeded in translating ‘four walls and a roof’ into something which, through architectural commitment, becomes a project that is much more profound,” WAF Programme Director Paul Finch commented. “This building is a demonstration that architecture is just as relevant in the poorest of communities as it is in the richest.”

I am delighted that the juries decided to go for architecture that is really useful and resistant rather than picking those fancy designs. This is a fresh direction.

Office – Co Op Kyosai Plaza, Tokyo, Japan (Nikken Sekkei)

Production, Energy and Recycling – The Farm of 38 – 30, Afyonkarahisar, Turkey (Slash Architects and Arkizon Architects)

School – East Sydney Early Learning Centre, Sydney, Australia (Andrew Burges Architects)

Sport – US Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, United States of America (HKS)

Health – Westbury Clinic, Johannesburg, South Africa (Ntsika Architects)

Higher Education and Research – Maersk Tower, Copenhagen, Denmark (CF Moller Architects)

Hotel and Leisure – Vegetable Trellis, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (Cong Sinh Architects)

Mixed Use – Westminster Bridge Road, London, United Kingdom (Allford Hall Monaghan Morris)

Religion – Bushey Cemetery, Bushey, United Kingdom (Waugh Thistleton Architects)

Shopping – Victoria Gate, Leeds, United Kingdom (ACME)

Transport – Transformation Chemnitz Central Station, Chemnitz, Germany (Gruntuch Errnst Architects)

Villa – Bach With Two Roofs, Golden Bay, New Zealand (Irving Smith Architects)

Future Projects

Leisure-led Development – Bodrum Loft, Bodrum, Turkey (Tabanlioglu Architects)

Competition Entries – New Cyprus Archaeological Museum, Nicosia, Cyprus (Pilbrow & Partners)

Health – Desa Semesta, Bogor, Indonesia (Magi Design Studio)

Experimental – Sharjah Observatory, Mleiha National Park, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (3deluxe Transdisciplinary Design)

Office – Viettel Offsite Studio, Hanoi, Vietnam (Vo Trong Nghia Architects)

Civic – Consulate Building, Staff Housing & School Complex, Karachi, Pakistan (edgeARCH)

Infrastructure – The Bridge, Ras, India (Sanjay Puri Architects)

Commercial Mixed Use – Battersea Power Station Phase 2, London, United Kingdom (WilkinsonEyre)

Education – Aga Khan Academy, Dhaka, Bangladesh (Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios + SHATOTTO Architecture)

Culture – Kulturkorgen – A Basket Full Of Culture, Gothenburg, Sweden (Sweco Architects)

Kulturkorgen6-Sweco Architects

House – Queenstown House, Queenstown, New Zealand (Monk Mackenzie Architects)

Masterplanning – Sydney Fish Markets, Sydney, Australia (Allen Jack + Cottier Architects)

Residential – Goksu Residences, Istanbul, Turkey (EAA Emre Arolat Architecture)

My country, Malaysia did have few projects that were able to make it to the finalists. However, none of them succeeds to be listed as winner. It shows that there are a lot to do to improve the architectural field in Malaysia.

(Images and information in this post are from Archdaily)

References:

https://www.worldarchitecturefestival.com/

https://www.archdaily.com/883888/guangming-post-earthquake-reconstruction-project-wins-world-building-of-the-year-2017

https://www.archdaily.com/883761/2017-world-architecture-festival-announces-day-1-award-winners

https://www.archdaily.com/883814/world-architecture-festival-reveals-day-2-category-winners-of-their-2017-awards

 

 

Which is the better way to measure a building’s height?

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2017 by vincentloy

Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) which is considered the foremost authority on tall buildings has made it clear that it has four ways of measuring a building’s height. Out of the four, height to the architectural top is officially used to determine the list of world’s tallest building. Architectural top here includes unoccupied spires/pinnacles/parapets that are permanent and critical to the overall design while disregards antennae, signage, flagpole or other ‘functional technical equipment’.

This is the reason why the Petronas Twin Towers won over Sears Tower (now renamed Willis Tower) to become the tallest buildings in the world back in 1997. The twin towers reach the height of 452 metres including their architectural spires while Willis Tower goes up to 527 metres including its antennae. However, antenna is not included and hence the official height of Willis Tower is just 442 metres.

The other three methods on measuring a building’s height that can be seen as alternatives or extensions of the main measuring method are height to top of roof, height to highest occupied floor, and height to highest point (tip). The latter method is the one that counts everything from a building from its base to its very top including those ‘functional technical equipment’. Once Taipei 101 was built in 2003,  the skyscraper cools down the controversy by topping the world’s tallest ranking in three out of the four methods. Then, Burj Khalifa came in 2009 to take all the top spots including the world’s tallest man-made structure and it is still holding the title now. The current list of world’s top ten tallest buildings is shown below which is measured in height to architectural top: (click on the image for larger version)

Besides than these four methods, other professional industries in this field of tall buildings such as the Emporis has its own set of methods too. But not to confuse anyone further, we will just stick to the more precise ones by CTBUH at this point.

There are still many parties who are not happy with these methods. They each has its flaws. The height to tip method rewards vanity height of all stripes, which could allow designers or developers seeking a height accolade to cheaply take the top spot using any poorly designed, extraneous addition to the roof. On the other hand, height to highest occupied floor does not acknowledge the impact that a building has on the experience of the urban environment – for example, the Burj Khalifa does not appear 584 meters tall but 828 meters, and as most of us will never be lucky enough to visit its topmost floor, it seems only sensible to judge its height based on its impact on the city’s appearance.

How about height to top of roof? In the variety of design of skyscraper nowadays, it’s very hard to judge the actual roof of a particular building. Is it just the roof over the highest occupied floor or roof covering the very highest portion of the building although the floor below it is not habitable.  The Burj Khalifa has 244 meters of vanity height, but where exactly is the roof over its top floor? The tapered design of this building does not allow for such simple definitions. The definition provided also repeats the flaw of the “height to top floor” method, in that many skyscraper designs have significant architectural additions above this, which impact how they are perceived by those on the ground.

Hence, which of the four methods are the best? Of can you define what’s the ‘best’ or the ‘better’ here? Louis Sullivan, an architect who is always known as the father of skyscrapers, says “It must be every inch a proud and soaring thing, rising in sheer exultation that from bottom to top it is a unit without a single dissenting line”.  If we take this to be true then it is clear that measuring the height to the tip, including – and rewarding – any and all of the clutter that often adorns the tops of skyscrapers is a move against design quality.

By contrast CTBUH’s official measurement tool, at the very least, holds designers accountable for ensuring that the way a building’s height is expressed is also a factor in establishing its quoted height. As architects, shouldn’t we support any tool which encourages tall buildings to be expressed elegantly? Recently, once the 1 World Trade Center in New York City is completed, another heated argument surfaces. Some claims that it is US tallest building but some said it’s Willis Tower. Many don’t see the antennae-like, awkward-designed and out-of-proportion spire on top of 1WTC as the key architectural element of the building. I too stand in that opinion. However, CTBUH has approved to have the spire as part of its architectural component in measuring its building height to the architectural top.

Increasing a building’s height with poor design is a big NO for me. Putting in a huge spire that is not proportionate to the overall building is a bad decision too. On the other hand, I do think it is necessary to have vanity height (non-usable height) to ‘complete’ a skyscraper especially when it is a tapering design on certain occasions. This issue actually leaves up a lot of questions and is open for multiple discussions.

Nevertheless, what’s important is that ‘the architects shouldn’t be arguing over which building is taller, but rather which building is better.’ 

Reference:

http://www.archdaily.com/548829/in-defense-of-rewarding-vanity-height

http://www.archdaily.com/881090/the-10-different-ways-to-measure-a-skyscrapers-height

(Images in this post are from the two sources listed above)

 

 

One almost done, one has half way to go, and one is still on ground. Updates on three supertall construction projects in Kuala Lumpur.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 24, 2017 by vincentloy

Kuala Lumpur is ranked among one of the best city skylines in the world. It gained such recognition due to its splendid array of clustered buildings topped with the iconic Petronas Twin Towers and KL Tower. However, the city skyline is going to further transform, thanks to the many new skyscrapers currently being built in the city. They are going to immensely impact the city skyline due to their enormous heights. The city won’t look the same after every few years and I look forward to see more tall and nice-looking buildings being constructed in the city.

Here are the 3 supertall skyscraper projects in Kuala Lumpur that are receiving high attention and shown together are their latest construction images. Render is shown for each project below too. Supertall building refers to a building that exceeds 300 metres in height.

1.Four Seasons Place. 

It is a 65-storeys mixed use tower currently under construction besides the Petronas Twin Towers. Once completed, it will have a final height of 343 metres. It will contain a hotel, serviced residences and a shopping mall at the podium. After undergoing multiple delays and design changes in the past, the tower has now finally rising quickly. It has structurally topped out not long ago and the work on the building’s crown has started. It will top out architecturally before last quarter of the year and will open next year. Once completed, it will be the third tallest building in the country, right after the two twin towers that sat beside it. Now, it has already made the twin towers to look not as tall as in the past eventhough it is still shorter than them by a little over 100 metres.

 

This one is ALMOST DONE.

2. TRX Exchange 106 Tower. 

It is a 106-storeys office tower currently under construction at the Tun Razak Exchange site. Once completed, this new region will become the financial hub of the city. Once completed, the tower will have a final height of 452 metres. It surprisingly will have the same height as the Petronas Twin Towers. You may wonder that it should be taller than the twin towers since it almost has over 20 floors more than the twin towers? Nope. It’s because this TRX Tower has no spire to add up to its height. The construction for this tower is very fast and it has now already half way to its top. It has now already making a huge impact to the city’s skyline. The highlight of the tower will be its crystalline crown.

This one is HALF WAY TO FINISH.

3. PNB118 Merdeka Tower.

It is a 118-storeys office tower currently under construction on the lot bordering the historical Stadium Merdeka and Stadium Negara in Kuala Lumpur. It is just right opposite my former secondary school, the Methodist Boys School KL. Once completed, it will be the tallest building in the country as well as among the top five tallest buildings in the world at a height of 644 metres. It will surpass the height of Shanghai Tower (632 metres), One World Trade Center (541 metres), Taipei 101 (508 metres) and many other skyscrapers across the world. However, its construction has been very slow and I read a news somewhere that it experienced problem with its foundation. I predict that it will be completed by 2020 or 2021. It will reach this immense height of over 600 metres due to its very long spire at the top.

 

This one is still not rising and is STILL ON GROUND WORK.

Hoping to see great progress from these skyscraper projects once I’m back to KL end of this year.

(Images in this post are from skyscrapercity.com forum webpages)

I.M. Pei, an architect who had just celebrated his 100th birthday.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 28, 2017 by vincentloy

I.M.Pei, a renowned Chinese-American architect has just turned 100 years old few days ago. A lot of major architecture websites do share news of his centenary birthday and a glimpse of his architectural projects under his career that spanned over six decades. He defied the typical saying that ‘architect do dies early due to the stress, heavy workload and constantly being all-nighter’.

Born on 26th April 1917 in Guangzhou, China, I.M.Pei moved to USA and studied architecture in University of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Graduate School of Design. He was inspired by works by Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer during his years in architectural education. He was particular fascinated by modern architecture and International Style.

I.M.Pei’s design style is described as modernist with significant cubist themes. He is known for combining traditional architectural elements with progressive designs based on simple geometric patterns. He has designed over 70 projects across the world and has received multiple awards and honors such as the Pritzker Prize (known as Nobel Prize of architecture) in 1983, AIA Gold Medal in 1979, Royal Gold Medal in 2010, Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992, etc.

Here below are 10 of his most iconic works:

131 Ponce de Leon Avenue, Atlanta, USA (1949) – I.M.Pei’s first project.

Luce Memorial Chapel, Taichung, Taiwan (1963)

Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Ithaca, USA (1973)

OCBC Centre, Singapore (1976)

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Boston, USA (1979)

Bank of China Tower, Hong Kong, China (1989)

Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas, USA (1989)

Louvre Pyramid, Paris, France (1993)

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland, USA (1995)

Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar (2008)

Looking just at 10 of his works above, you will obviously notice that he applied strong geometrical shapes into his design. It has become his signature approach in architecture. He designed a variety of projects ranging from community centers to highrise towers. He is no doubt one of the greatest living architects of our generation.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)