Picking the next best high-rise for Kuching city will be the Herculean task for the judges of ‘Langit’, a nationwide architecture competition organised by Hock Seng Lee (HSL), Next Phase (NP) and Malaysian Architecture Institute (PAM) Sarawak Chapter.
Out of 85 submissions from 112 registrations in total, the jury has shortlisted 11 entries. PAM Sarawak Chapter received 85 submissions out of 112 registrations in total, with almost two-thirds of its entries from outside Sarawak, including architecture firms in Kuala Lumpur and Sabah.
All entries are anonymous and only identified by a code number to ensure that judging is based only on merits.
Construction specialist, HSL, in collaboration with Next Phase, has also included six additional entries to be part of the free public exhibition at La Promenade Mall.
“The competition gives architects and the developer the opportunity to create the next best commercial high-rise in Malaysia. There has never ever been such a design competition before in east Malaysia. The project sponsors, HSL-NP, will get a great design for this strategic piece of land. More importantly. the people of Kuching will get a great building with some of the best design considerations put in. This is a big advancement for both architecture and real estate development,” said PAM Sarawak chairman Chai Si Yong, who is the competition convener.
The shortlisted entries range from 11 to 39 stories high. They include retail showcases, innovative home- offices and truly world-class serviced condominiums.
“The shortlist are the ones that are customised for the site. They are not generic buildings. They fit their site context. Almost all also offer very well-thought out public spaces. By and large, they are not the kind of development with a guardhouse in front, keeping the public out. Langit must be a building that offers community enhancement. Inner city living is important. Jobs, schools and even good public parks tend to be in the inner city,” said Yu Ji, a representative from competition promoters Hock Seng Lee and Next Phase.
Besides civic consideration and designs with good public spaces, other jury considerations include sustainable design, lessons learnt from Covid-19, and the economic feasibility of the designs.
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 competition will complement our existing projects, and is a signpost of where we want to be in a few years. We want to have the best ideas right from the start. For each of our current real estate projects, we try to make sure there is something outstanding. For La Promenade, it’s to be the best gated community. For Samariang Aman 3, it’s to be one of the most affordable while also making sure we can offer well planned open spaces. For Vista Industrial Park, we’ve started Sarawak’s first Rent-to-own scheme for entrepreneurs,” said Yu Ji, who is also the director of Next Phase.
Where is the future high-rise in Kuching going to be?
The site is a challenging and small 0.78acre at Jalan Tabuan, opposite the Inland Revenue Tax Academy.
It is near Kuching’s central business district areas, a stone-throw from Reservoir Park, the Kuching South City Council and some of Sarawak’s best performing schools. It is also within a kilometer to The Spring Shopping Mall and Sarawak Club.
Langit’s results announcement and prize presentation (cash prizes for the competition total RM200,000) is scheduled for late June.
“A good design will mean sunpath, window placement, cross ventilation and natural lighting will be built better. Quality of life is better. Projects can actually become cheaper. Efficiency is higher. We want to try to build something that will be a relevant many years and decades from now. The best ideas are timeless,” added Yu JI, who will also be one of the five jurors for the competition.
For more info on the design competition ‘Langit’, log on to langitkch.com, hsl.com.my or search #langitkch and @hslcn on social media.