Archive for centre

7 Sensational Modern Theaters in China.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2016 by vincentloy

Recently, I found an article to be very interesting as it looks into six very good-looking contemporary opera houses in China. Hence, I would like to share the article here below:

Pure Architectural Theater: 6 Sensational Chinese Opera Houses.

As China’s presence on the global economic stage has steadily risen over the past couple decades, so too has its desire to match its outsize economic influence with equally robust cultural institutions. Despite being one of the world’s biggest economies and a producer of the vast majority of consumer goods, China has been less recognized for its cultural output including the performing arts, theater and opera than for its booming population and rapidly expanding cities. But as China continues to grow its economic stature, inhabitants and cities for the near future, it also needs to provide the cultural space for these forces to express themselves.

The opera house is one architectural intervention for a city, state or culture to manifest its values and ambitions and in doing so proclaim a degree of cultivation and artistic cachet. In Western Europe, the opera house emerged in the 17th century, often financed by noblemen and wealthy merchants looking to solidify their cultural hegemony. This began to change in the 19th century, as opera houses became more democratic spaces financed by public institutions.

While this rich history is absent in China, we can see similar impulses behind the following collection of contemporary opera houses. These spanking new facilities provide spaces not only for opera, but a number of performing arts enjoyed by the public. Furthermore, they are a physical manifestation of the powerful forces of the country’s economy, the untapped cultural potential of the public, and the architectural destination-making pioneered by Gehry’s Bilbao. These Chinese opera houses reinterpret this enduring cultural institution for a new era and are tailored to a region witnessing dramatic physical, social and material transformations.

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Dalian International Conference Center by Coop Himmelb(l)au, Dalian, China

The multifaceted, scaled aluminum façade on this Northern Chinese port city’s opera house contains within it a conference space for 2,500, a smaller 1,400-person theater and flexible exhibition spaces. The billowing and sinuous forms of the building pierced by unexpected angles are typical of Coop Himmelb(l)au’s Deconstructivist approach to architecture and well-suited to this changing typology.

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Guangzhou Opera House by Zaha Hadid Architects, Guangzhou, China

Zaha Hadid’s similarly dramatic Guangzhou opera house is one of the most well-known realizations of China’s drive to jumpstart its urban cultural development. Set in one of the country’s largest megacities along the Pearl River, the building features two smoothed spatial “pebbles” clad in triangular granite and glass panels supported by a webbed steel frame that leaps into intrepid forms.

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Harbin Opera House by MAD, Harbin, China

Occupying a gigantic site of almost 450 acres along the Songhua River, this three-petaled opera house, cultural center and public outdoor space is composed of ascending curvilinear forms that seem to sprout from the wetland landscape and warmly envelop patrons from the elements. The white aluminum cladding of the exterior mirrors the harsh winter climate, while the seemingly hand-sculpted Manchurian ash of the auditorium provides a cozy counterpart.

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Wuxi Grand Theatre by PES-Architects, Wuxi, China

A series of structural steel roof wings overhang the cubic volumes of this multipurpose opera house and feature LED-lit undersides of perforated metal. The terraced pavilions of the entrance and outdoor spaces are illuminated by decorative columns that continue into the lobby to become structural supports. The design incorporates elements of traditional temples and the crystalline forms inspired by Finnish geography.

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Grand Theater Tianjin by gmp – von Gerkan, Marg, and Partners Architects, Tianjin, China

The semicircular roofline of this theater extends from a stone public plaza and opens up towards the head of the adjacent lake. The three volumes of the building are sheltered by this cantilevered form that fans out like a traditional bandshell and exposes the functional spaces towards the outdoors.

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Bayuquan Theater by Shanghai Dushe Architectural Design DSD, Bayuquan, Yingkou, China

This smaller-scale opera house was designed with traditional Chinese theater in mind, and the bent thatches of the aluminum façade recall the billowing fabrics in the classic performances. The building is organized like a traditional theater, but can also be rotated and shifted according to programmatic needs.

The article above came from this original source (including the images):

http://architizer.com/blog/chinese-opera-houses/.

However, I think the author of that article must have left out the…

National Centre for the Performing Arts by Paul Andreu, Beijing, China.

It is nicknamed ‘Giant Egg’ due to its form. The centre, an ellipsoid dome of titanium and glass surrounded by an artificial lake. This is another amazing opera house in China that is deserving to be in that list too.

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(Image by Vaughan Jordan)

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(Image by SilverKris)

‘Titanic: The Exhibition’ in Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre

Posted in Interesting Encounters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 10, 2016 by vincentloy

Not having any classes today, I decided to go to the Perth city centre this morning. The reason for it is that I have to visit ‘Titanic: The Exhibition’ currently being held in the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre (PCEC) at Pavilion 6, Level 1. The lecturer of my culture class visited it and recommended me to pay a visit to this exhibition as I would be writing a scholarly essay later based on this ill-fated ship for my assignment under her subject. As a student, I do get a cheaper ticket price, but it still costs me over AUD 30. That’s still expensive (about RM 100 in Malaysian currency), but I do make full use of that money by reading and analyzing almost all the displays in the exhibition and it took me two hours to finish the tour.

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I think everyone in this world must have heard of the word ‘Titanic’. It is universally known not only because of the magnitude of its sinking back in 1912 on its maiden voyage, but also due to the immense popularity of a 1997 movie of the same name. That particular epic motion picture directed by James Cameron won audiences’ hearts and subsequently winning 11 Academy Awards including Best Picture. Everyone is melted by the love story between Jack and Rose from the movie. It also became the first movie ever in history to cross over US$ 1 billion in original box office release and remain the highest grossing film worldwide for many years before being surpassed by another James Cameron’s movie called ‘Avatar’.

Let’s put the focus back on the ship itself and the exhibition I had just visited this morning regarding its rich history. The ship named RMS Titanic under the ownership of White Star Line was the largest and the most luxurious ship of its time when it was built and first set sail. On its maiden voyage from Southampton, UK to New York City, USA, this British passenger liner struck an iceberg and sank in the North Atlantic Ocean on the early morning of 15th April 1912. This resulted in death of over 1500 people out of about 2200 people on board (only about 700 people were saved from the doomed ship), making it one of the deadliest maritime disasters in modern history.

The exhibition is filled with interactive installations, graphic art, music and videos, artifacts, costumes, postcards, newspaper articles, as well as recreations of the ship’s luxurious interiors (Grand Staircase, First Class Corridor, First and Third Class rooms). The exhibition also included memorabilia from the 1997 blockbuster movie I mentioned above including the famous ‘Heart of the Ocean’ jewelry and the painting of Rose by Jack. The exhibition started with a photo section on the very edge of the ship (where Jack and Rose’s famous postures are in the movie) and ended with a small shop selling Titanic-themed souvenirs. Before I enter, I was presented a boarding pass with a name of a passenger who boarded the ship in 1912. In the exhibition later on, I can check whether the passenger in the boarding pass survived or died from the tragedy or not from the list of survived and lost passengers on a huge wall.

Hereby below are some of the images in the exhibition that I took:

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I had quite a good time going through the exhibition and I’m almost moved to tears by this sad tragedy that took place over a hundred years ago. Nevertheless, my focus in the exhibition is still on finding great information for my Culture assignment of which I selected this particular ship on examining and analyzing how luxury took its form in the ship from its architecture, interior, fittings, accessories and the passengers that varies, depending on the classes of the people on board. I find this topic interesting and has a strong connection to my Architecture and Culture class. Hence, this exhibition that happened to be held right now (will end on this 20th March) is a good platform for me to gain valuable information for my general knowledge as well as for my personal assignment.

The exhibition is good, but can be better. The lighting is not sufficient in some areas. Besides that, interactive installations are also not enough, making it not a very engaging exhibition especially to young kids (they don’t like to read the sea of words on the wall). The recreations of the ship’s interior are great but I’m actually expecting a bit more of that too. The organizer should also put a huge replica (model) of the ship to amaze visitors. Anyway, it is still a visit that gave me a further understanding of the ship’s history and is recommended especially to those who have not known much of the ship before and are eager to find out more.

(Copyrights reserved to all the images in this blog post).

Being a tourist in Perth first before being a long term student here.

Posted in Wonders and Places with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2016 by vincentloy

I had my first weekend in Perth a week ago mostly in my room, still adapting to the new environment while making the necessary preparation to get me settled here before my study commences. The orientation week was over of which I had quite actively participated in some of the events organized throughout the past week. For my second weekend here in Perth which is also my last weekend before my study officially begins, I took this opportunity with my housemates to explore the city before all the stress from upcoming assignments come in. It’s a waste if I’m not becoming a tourist at here first before turning into a long term student beginning tomorrow.

Yesterday, we head out to the city centre of Perth. We took public transport and it is quite convenient and the fees are very reasonable (student price is very low). In the city, we walked along a main street where all the office buildings are and also checked out some nice places and cool-looking landmarks along the way like the Bell Tower, Commonwealth of Australia’s Building and the Perth Arena. There is also a shopping street in the city centre worth a visit. Generally, the city is quite small but it still has a great looking skyline that is enhanced by the Swan River in front of the city.

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The Bell Tower with Perth’s city skyline at the background. This picture is taken at Elizabeth Quay, a new waterfront development.

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Perth Arena, a huge indoor venue used for big sporting or entertainment events.

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Commonwealth of Australia’s Building in the city centre of Perth.

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An interesting building (name unknown) in the city centre too.

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A heritage building in the city centre of Perth in front of a modern skyscraper at the back.

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A cool looking pedestrian bridge at Elizabeth Quay.

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The main shopping street in the city centre of Perth.

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The beautiful city skyline of Perth.

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This image is a continuity of a panoramic view of the city skyline of the previous image taken on a ferry ride at Swan River.

Then, we took a ferry ride out of the city centre and then took a train to IKEA. It’s a huge store (same like in Malaysia) and I bought small pillows here of which both cost less than AUD 10. In the afternoon, we then went to a shopping mall named Westfield Carousel which is actually not that far from our campus (Curtin University) and watched a movie there. I’m shocked to learn that a movie ticket price here costs AUD 21 for a person. That’s very expensive. I can watch at least four movies with that same amount back in Malaysia. This mall is quite large (but still small compared to any malls in Kuala Lumpur). However, I would have prefer this over the much smaller Waterford Plaza shopping centre besides our hostel.

Today, we went to Fremantle. This place is quite far as it took us about an hour to reach. It is a town south of Perth where there are a lot of old heritage buildings lining up streets, many tourist attractions as well as popular beaches. We went for a quick walk in the famous Fremantle Markets, an indoor place where there are many stalls selling souvenirs, clothes, bags, food, snacks, fruits, etc. We then proceed to the Kailis Fish Market (right besides the sea) where there is a restaurant there known for selling fish and chips. We were hungry and that’s the spot we were most happy for. The fish and chip was delicious.

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Fremantle Markets.

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Beautiful street in Fremantle with many well-preserved architectural heritage buildings all around.

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View of a street in Fremantle from the Fremantle Prison.

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A clock tower in Fremantle.

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A ferris wheel in a park. Nearby this is the Kailis Fish Market in Fremantle.

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The Port Beach at North Fremantle.

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At the beach facing the Indian Ocean.

After the lunch, we visited the Fremantle Prison (now a tourist destination) and took a train to North Fremantle where the famous Port Beach is. It is a long stretch of beach along the coastline facing the Indian Ocean. It feels great walking along the beach with clean white sand and crystal clear seawater. This is the last stop of our two days trip in Perth before returning back to Erica Underwood House, our on-campus accommodation. Yup…after this weekend, we are no longer tourists as we would have four semesters of stressful study coming up!

(Copyrights reserved to all the images in this post)

16th ARCHIDEX from 12th to 15th August 2015.

Posted in Explosive News and Results with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2015 by vincentloy

The annual International Architecture, Interior Design and Building Exhibition (ARCHIDEX) is back with its 16th edition this year. The exhibition began today and will run until this Saturday at the usual venue: Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. The event is not only comprising of an exhibition that runs in several halls in the convention centre but also several conferences and design-related forums (DATUM KL International Architectural Design Conference, KL Design Forum, Green Building Forum, Professional Practice Forum) will be held at the same time. ARCHIDEX is always an important event particularly for people in the field of building construction, architecture and interior design. Even if you are not in this circle, you can still visit the exhibition to learn more about building construction and gain extra knowledge. Entrance is complimentary.

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(Image source: http://www.decra.com.my)

This event in recent years is also touted as Southeast Asia’s leading multi-national exhibition and networking event in the industry’s trade calendar. It has also earned itself a pivotal position as a leading gathering among the region’s fraternity of architects, urban planners, interior designers, developers, academicians, students and other related industry professionals.

I’m not going to miss it and I’m planning to go to the exhibition on this Saturday, the last day of the event. That’s the only day that I’m free to go since I have to work till Friday. I have been to ARCHIDEX for several years already and I knew what to expect from visiting the exhibition. There would be a lot of booths displaying, promoting and highlighting many latest building products, technologies and systems. What’s more exciting to me is that I will always return from the exhibition with a lot of free gifts: bags, pens, key chains, note books, brochures, and even small product samples. Entering with empty hands and leaving with plenty of bags! That’s my objective. Haha…

It’s also nice that we would be attended quickly if we are interested on certain things along the tour in the exhibition halls. And sometimes, I do get excited by some very advanced and never-seen-before products from the exhibition. But usually these items are very expensive. Listening to four or five people explaining their products is still fine, but as the visit progresses, I would be getting really tired of all the promotional talks and will just walk through many booths in a split second. That’s the time to avoid eye contact with the people from the booths. If not, I would be spending many hours there. That’s my past experience of visiting ARCHIDEX and this year, it will be the same for me on this coming Saturday.

On the other hand, there will be a section that displays excellent design presentation boards and some scaled models by local architecture students. This is where I will stay longer a bit to check out talent from young architecture students in Malaysia through their works. Unfortunately, ARCHIDEX didn’t emphasize much on this and we will only see very little from this section. As for the forums and conferences mentioned earlier, I would just say no as the entry fees are very costly and that most speakers invited are not famous and it’s not worth that much of money. Unless, they invite star architects like Zaha Hadid, Norman Foster, Cesar Pelli, etc.

Before I end this post, here is the official website of the ARCHIDEX 2015: http://www.archidex.com.my/. Check it out if you want to know more about this exhibition before visiting especially when you have never been to ARCHIDEX before.

 

Walkabout around KLCC for a good look on skyscrapers.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 3, 2015 by vincentloy

Today, I was free and I decided to go for a walk around Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) region to gaze on the many tall buildings clustered in that area. I think I’m the only one that would purposely do this due to my strong interest on skyscrapers. This particular stretch of place where I took photographs of buildings is somewhere in between Jalan Tun Razak intersection and Petronas Twin Towers. It’s a gloomy day and I managed to take these images before the heavy downpour in the afternoon just now.

Ilham Baru Tower – under construction (topped out), height about 270-300 metres tall, among tallest in the city, looks a bit like Hong Kong’s Bank of China Tower with the zig-zag pattern, I like the shading devices (can see in the pictures below) of which from a bit further away, you will not see the shading devices. They blend in to the glass cladding of the whole structure.

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Troika Towers – 3 towers of residences by famous architect, Norman Foster, the tallest residential building in Malaysia at over 200 metres for the highest tower, I like the distinctive and sculptural appeal of the design.

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View of iconic buildings from left to right: KL Tower (telecommunication and sightseeing tower of 421 metres high), Petronas Tower 3 (above 260 metres high), and Petronas Twin Towers (world’s tallest twin buildings at 452 metres).

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Naza Tower – under construction (topped out, spire still not installed), a height of over 270 metres including spire, like the smoothness of the facade.

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Felda Tower with the already mentioned Naza Tower at the back. Felda Tower – over 210 metres tall, the roof ‘capping’ is ‘light’ and interesting, the cut-in portion that runs all the way to the top also looks good.

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The tower’s base has a green wall feature. Wonderful.

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The Oval – twin tower of residences, all glass around.

 

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The Intermark – previously named Empire Tower, over 230 metres tall, I like the slim design of the building which is already there over 20 years ago.

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A bunch of shorter buildings (residential) nearby.

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From left to right: Le Nouvel Towers and K Residences, both are over 200 metres tall and are right besides the Petronas Twin Towers.

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Le Nouvel – under construction (topped out), designed by famous architect Jean Nouvel, looks interesting with the hanging planter boxes (some already with plants as can be seen below) that realizes the ‘vertical garden’ concept, there is also a skybridge!

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Front, you will see the under-construction Four Seasons Place – expected to be over 340 metres high and be the third tallest in Malaysia once completed.

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View of the city from KLCC Park. Seen at the back is the under-construction Banyan Tree Signatures which is expected to reach height of about 240m when completed.

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You can see Ilham Baru Tower, Troika Towers, Citibank Tower, Felda Tower, The Oval, PNB Building, Naza Tower and Binjai Residences in the picture below.

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This collection of photos would not be complete with some shots of the iconic Petronas Twin Towers. Also visible in the image below is KL Tower.

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From left to right: Petronas Tower 3, Petronas Twin Towers, Maxis Tower, Le Nouvel, K Residences. Would not be bored after looking at these pictures for hundreds of time.

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Just about a decade ago, this adjacent area nearby to the twin towers is quite empty with only few highrises scattered around many low-rise buildings (many are decades old). Fortunately, the growth of the city is quite steady over the years and we observed more new towering buildings being constructed in this region (many are even over 200m tall respectively). The density of buildings in this area kept on increasing and it’s good to enhance the overall city skyline of Kuala Lumpur to be one of the best in the world.

(Copyrights reserved to all the images above which were taken by me in early August 2015. Kindly ask for permission if you want to use any of the images in this post)

Went to ARCHIDEX 2014 on its last day today.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2014 by vincentloy

The 15th International Architecture, Interior Design and Building Exhibition (ARCHIDEX) 2014 took place at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (usual spot every year) this year from 25th to 28th June. Organized together with the exhibition are the DATUM Design Conference, Eco-Building Exhibition, some forums and also a newly held congress themed ‘Rejuvenation’. This is the annual event I have been continuously attending, and this is my fourth time visiting the exhibition.

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So, I’m quite familiar with what I shall do in the exhibition; going around all the booths in the exhibition halls and getting all brochures and catalogues, and if possible, together with goodie bags and some free gifts like pens or note books. It has also been made easier for me to enter as I do not need to complete any registration as I already received express tag earlier. This year, I think there are more companies involved in the event, and hence the greater number of booths and also bigger areas of halls covered for the exhibition. Here’s the official website of the exhibition: http://www.archidex.com.my/.

As usual, there are booths promoting doors, windows, glass, hardwares, softwares, outdoor and indoor elements, tiles, finishing, wood, roofing, paints, sanitary fittings, books, and all the other related products or technologies related to architecture, interior design, building construction and engineering fields. Me and my colleague were getting tired as time passes as we took more and more bags and brochures. Now, I’m taking some time to read through those catalogues we have taken and to check on which ones are interesting. However, the most delighted thing would still be the free gifts we can find from those bags.

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We spent about two hours for the exhibition. Hmm…many booth’s staff approached to us trying to brief us on their products but we just don’t have time for most of them. Sorry…Lastly, we also managed to glance through some of the presentation works (finalists of some kind of architecture competitions) displayed outside several exhibition halls before leaving. Then, only after that, we thought of going for movie ‘Transformers 4’ (just out yesterday) at Suria KLCC. You can check out my movie review of that particular film in my previous post. And for all that, the worst thing is that I have spent RM30 alone for the parking fee. That’s shockingly high and unreasonable. I’m not like parking my car there for whole day!

On the other hand, tomorrow marks the beginning of Ramadhan, the fasting month for the Muslims before celebrating Hari Raya. Here, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all Muslims (particularly my Malay friends and colleagues) a wonderful Ramadhan! Raya is coming soon….

Around KLCC again spotting construction progress of new buildings.

Posted in Architectural Territory with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2014 by vincentloy

Since I was there watching a movie in Suria KLCC shopping mall yesterday, it just gave me a good opportunity to just easily walk out of the mall and enjoy the view of Kuala Lumpur’s city centre and its surrounding. This allowed me to check on some new buildings under construction now around the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, which still stand today as the world’s tallest twin buildings.

First of all is the Le Nouvel. It is a twin tower comprising of a 49-storey and a 43-storey residential buildings connected by a skybridge. It is located besides K Residence and also Petronas Twin Towers across Jalan Ampang. Very strategic location. It is designed by a famous French architect; Jean Nouvel whom had won Pritzker Prize in 2008 (highest architecture honor). Le Nouvel are now topped out and I guess the highest tower should have reached above 200 metres. I was curious why there isn’t any official height data of this twin residential buildings on the internet. The interesting parts of this project are the skybridge (reminiscent of the Petronas Twin Towers’ one) and also the facade treatment. I was quite in shock looking at the original rendering of the buildings that shown them covered up with excessive vertical landscaping. It would makes the building horrible especially when no proper maintenance is done. Looking from the buildings now that are almost completed (very fast construction pace), I guessed those random white boxes are the planters. Hope it will beautifies the buildings rather than turning it ugly. A simple narrow and tall rectangular cube structure can be nice too once interesting treatment is given to its facades. Shown below is the Le Nouvel besides the K Residence (202m).

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Next is the Ilham Baru Tower. This can be considered a tall skyscraper since it has 64 floors and is projected to be built with a height of 298 metres (nearing 300m mark). It is designed by famous English architect, Norman Foster (awarded Pritzker Prize too in 1999) and is located near Citibank Tower and The Troika Tower (also designed by Norman Foster). Its sheer size and impressive height makes it clearly visible from far even when it is not topping out yet now. Should be topping out by third quarter of the year. Shown below is the Ilham Baru Tower behind the Troika Towers (Malaysia’s current highest residential building at 204m).

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Next is the Naza Towers (twin towers again). The Tower 1 (highest) would have 50 floors with the height of 273 metres including the spire. The shorter tower (38 floors) will be owned by Lembaga Tabung Haji. This project is located at Platinum Park, near Felda Tower and Binjai Residences. It is designed by local architecture firm; RSP Architects. The three projects mentioned above are all scheduled to be completed next year. Shown below in the background is the Naza Towers behind the Binjai Residences and besides the Felda Tower (216m) on the left. Also in the image at the front is the construction site of Four Seasons Place (refer next paragraph).

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Last spotted construction (very hard to see this actually because there isn’t any structure rising yet but it is so near to KLCC); Four Seasons Place. It is a 65-storey building comprises of apartments and a hotel. Once completed, it would reach the height of 343m. That’s a tall skyscraper coming soon to dominate its surrounding skyline along with Petronas Twin Towers. After going through several design revision in several years, its construction finally commenced last year. It was once another twin buildings with weird design but then fortunately, it is now converted to a single structure with better design. Very slow progress and nothing rising up yet from the ground. It is scheduled to be completed in 2017. Long wait to go.

Overall view from KLCC Park:

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A visit to this place is never complete without taking this picture (452m tall Petronas Twin Towers and 267m tall Petronas Tower 3 on the left):

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Conclusion: KL still has a lot of space for more buildings to enhance the skyline, but the question is; do we need more office space as it is only a small city of about 2 million population?

(Images in this post are copyright reserved)

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