City&Country: Cover Story-- Recognising innovation in design

Announcing the winners of the PAM Architectural Awards

Refreshing concepts from winning architects

Bold, refreshing and artistically articulated were just some of the words used to describe the work of the winners of the Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM) Architectural Awards 2010. Some 25 architectural firms received awards in eight categories this year.

Single residential building
Wooi Architect dominated this category, emerging the winner for the Ting residence in Country Heights Damansara and earning a honorary mention as well for the Lee residence in Shah Alam.

The jurors called the Ting residence “a daring vision of bold, spectacular and evocative organic sculptural form sensitively integrated to nature, slope and trees in good weathering materials that are both vernacular and modern.”

altAn eye-catching structure with a curvaceous shape sitting on a steep slope, the project allowed the architect to take a new approach to sloping site issues and Malaysia's equatorial climate. The form of the building derived from the contour of the site, and the clever play of light creates a sense of mystery, while the design attempts to celebrate living in the equatorial region.

The Lee residence was commended for its bold statement of free-flowing forms and spaces around nature; a piece of art expertly executed.

Praised for its clear forms, which are simple but sensitive to the context, Design Network Architects Sdn Bhd’s Ben Law house in Kuching, Sarawak, earned a mention.

Mentions were given to House X2 (by Ngiom Partnership) in Sungai Buloh, noted for its well-controlled modernist design and Red @ 2A (by Masyerin M N Architect) in Petaling Jaya for its honest and innovative interpretation of contemporary tropical living.

Multiple residential (low-rise)
Iringan Hijau, located in Kuala Lumpur (by C’ Arch Architecture & Design Sdn Bhd), was the winner. Jurors described the development as a “highly compositional and layered building, well-crafted, where the simplicity in detailing, including the overall landscape approach, is sophisticated and elegant”.

altThe 3-storey low-density luxury condominium sits on two contiguous land parcels conjoined at the corners, which created an opportunity to place two sets of dwellings each grouped around its own garden deck. Attention was paid to the landscape to emphasise the connection between the two gardens and to ensure a stream of natural light. The units, sized between 2,595 and 4,950 sq ft, were designed to allow maximum natural lighting and ventilation.

Bayou Water Village in Gelang Patah (by y.architects Sdn Bhd) was commended for the delightful quiet and soothing way the stilted buildings interface with the water’s edge.  Zephyr Point on Basong in Damansara Heights (by Garis Architects Sdn Bhd), was commended for their innovative planning within a difficult site, while capturing the magnificent surrounding views, and expressive use of sunshading elements. Both earned honorary mentions.

Multiple residences (high-rise)
There were no winners in this category, but Architects 61 Sdn Bhd’s Springtide Residences in Penang received an honorary mention for its clean lines, frames and crisp form interplay with light and shadow.  One Menerung Condominium in Bangsar (by GDP Archictects Sdn Bhd) was commended for “a sensitive massing, well composed with the interplay of planes and fins to good effect”.

Overseas building
Again, there was no winner. An honorary mention was given to SK Chan Architect, Cox Arch & Planner and Design-Environment Group Architects for their joint work on the Mochtar Riady Building, School of Business, National University of Singapore, noted for a refreshing and dynamic structural expression on the façade of an otherwise typical office building. The Mandarin Oriental Hotel in China, (by Chan Sau Yan Associates), received a mention in the same category.

Conservation building
The restoration of Malaysia’s only Anglo-Indian Georgian building — Suffolk House in Penang — (by Arkitek LLA Sdn Bhd) was the winner. Jurors called its conservation effort in the recovery of meaning to a place of glorious history, “exquisite”.

altThe goal was to restore Suffolk House to its most significant form (1812 to 1820), considered to be its greatest time of glory. However, the restoration of the dilapidated 200-year-old building was no easy task.
With more than 70% of the detail of the structure lost, and no plans, notes or record of the master builder, the architect had to piece together bits of information from the earliest paintings of Suffolk House, literature of that period and books to prepare the blueprint. Today, the building is used as a heritage interpretation centre, a workshop, training and events venue and a fine dining restaurant.

Sarawakian Mike Boon Chee Khian received an honorary mention for his work in restoring the 131-year-old Square Tower in Kuching which drew praise for its sensitive conservation process. Receiving a mention was the century-old Logan Heritage Building in Penang (by y.architects Sdn Bhd).

Public and civic buildings
Boon is also the winner in this category for his work on Taman Panorama Benak (Tidal Bore Observatory) and earns a mention as well for the Sibu Central Police Station, both located in Sarawak.

The Taman Panorama Benak project is described by jurors as having “an ingenious, honest and powerful form language coupled with distinct relationships between the forms, the surrounding undulating terrain as well as adjacent water bodies.”
Working on a concept of "building a landscape", the site is conceived as a public park that enables visitors to go down from the road level via a ramp to the new river esplanade.
The resemblance of the ramp to the wild local fern and delicacy, Midin, which is also ritually significant for the Ibans, recognises the culture of this indigenous group and distinct Saraw
akian identity. The architect used the motif to generate the form of the building.

The collaborative work of Assaffa Design Practice and Cox Group Pty Ltd on Satellite Clubhouse, Puteri Harbour, Johor, earned them a mention.

Alterations and additions
Two architecture firms share top honours — Duta House (by Wong Tung Ken) in Taman Duta, and Gan’s Gallery in Bangsar, (by Zon Design Rekabina Sdn Bhd), both in Kuala Lumpur.

Duta House is noted for the seamless intervention that blurs the new and the old, while the landscape acts as an organic counterfoil against the glass and metal expression.

Designing from scratch is easier altthan redesigning an existing house. However, the architect's work in adding a new guest/entertainment pavillon has created a setting that is sensitive to the existing house, yet able to express the new structure with minimal visual distraction.

The layering of the façade for Gan’s Gallery, meanwhile, using different materials and techniques, evokes a sense of both wonderment and mystery in the gallery which helps to direct one’s attention to the objects on display, say the juro

altThe gallery was built to showcase the client's collection of antique pre-war items and is at times used as a venue for events and special heritage-themed exhibitions.
The protruding, floating cage like box that lights up like a lantern at night draws curious eyes to the structure. Its interior, designed to highlight and maximise the exhibition space, is almost void of any decorative enhancement, save for a stairwell made of rusted steel.

Honorary mentions were given to 58 Iris Garden in Kuching (by Lau Ming Ngi) for its sensitive study of the relationship of an office within an old volumetric space and Courtyard @ Heeren, a boutique hotel in Malacca (by PCL Architect and IDEA Workshop Sdn Bhd) for what the jurors saw as a transformation that has given the courtyard a new interpretation and lease of life.  Garis Architects Sdn Bhd receives a mention for its three Archetypes for school computer laboratories located in Perak, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Johor.

Special category
There were no winners in this category, but Razin Architect’s guard house in the residential development of East Ledang in Nusajaya Johor, earned a mention for its clear expression consistent with the overall development’s contemporary look and feel.Tan Sih Pin’s work on Bayan Villa’s green streets and central park also received a mention in the special category. The jurors applauded the notion of communal facilities within a standard housing project, which offer the opportunity for people to foster the “kampung” spirit.  The development is located in Seri Kembangan, Selangor.

The awards recognise the pursuit of excellence in design by Malaysian architects and promote the advancement of a quality built environment that has a beneficial social, physical and cultural impact on Malaysia, as well as recognising the diversity of Malaysian architecture.

This year, the members of the master jury were Boon Che Wee (president of PAM), Ashvinkumar Kantilal (president of the Singapore Institute of Architects), Chalay Kunawong (vice-president of the Association of Siamese Architects), Tony Liew (dean, School of Architecture, Building and Design, Taylor’s University College) and Au Foong Yee (executive editor and chief marketing officer of The Edge).

The awards were presented during the PAM annual dinner on Sept 25.

This article appeared in City & Country, the property pullout of The Edge Malaysia, Issue 825, Sep 27-Oct 3, 2010

Looking for properties to buy or rent? With >150,000 exclusive listings, including undervalued properties, from vetted Pro Agents, you can now easily find the right property on Malaysia's leading property portal EdgeProp! You can also get free past transacted data and use our proprietary Edge Reference Price tool, to make an informed purchase.