Green by ex­am­ple

The new Per­tubuhan Akitek Malaysia Cen­tre in Kuala Lumpur leads the way in green de­sign.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Spaces - Sto­ries by WONG LI ZA star2@thes­tar.com.my

THE al­most 100-year-old Per­tubuhan Akitek Malaysia (PAM) fi­nally has a place to truly call home, one that was re­designed spe­cially for the in­sti­tute by its own mem­bers.

PAM, or the Malaysian In­sti­tute of Ar­chi­tects, were oc­cu­py­ing Wisma Ban­dar on Jalan Tangsi, Kuala Lumpur, when it bought a four-storey for­mer ware­house in 2010 to turn into its new home.

The new PAM Cen­tre is an eye-catch­ing, con­tem­po­rary eight-storey build­ing lo­cated along Jalan Tan­dok in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, com­pleted last May at a cost of RM17.8mil.

The most dis­tinct fea­ture is the black alu­minium screen that en­velopes the build­ing’s con­crete fa­cade, as well as the di­ag­o­nally-stacked and land­scaped open atri­ums that can be seen from the street, as if etched into the build­ing. Th­ese stepped atri­ums pro­mote cross ven­ti­la­tion and com­ple­ment a long, sin­gle-flight stair­way within.

“This is the first time that we are oc­cu­py­ing our very own build­ing, which we de­signed and built. It serves as our new PAM Cen­tre as well as a Cen­tre of Ar­chi­tec­ture,” said PAM pres­i­dent Ezumi Harzani Is­mail at a press con­fer­ence last week, adding that the cen­tre is also a pub­lic space for ar­chi­tec­ture and art-re­lated ex­hi­bi­tions and events.

To­day, Se­lan­gor Ruler Sul­tan Shara­fud­din Idris Shah is sched­uled to open the cen­tre and launch a book, In The Eye Of The Storm, which doc­u­ments the jour­ney that led to PAM get­ting its own cen­tre.

PAM also hon­oured the in­sti­tute’s first two pres­i­dents by nam­ing the coun­cil room and the roof ter­race af­ter the late Datuk Ik­mal Hisham Al­bakri and the late Datuk King­ton Loo re­spec­tively.

The cen­tre’s de­sign was cho­sen from a com­pe­ti­tion that was open to all PAM cor­po­rate mem­bers in 2012. The win­ner, HMA & As­so­ci­ates, led by Mohd Heikal Hasan, pro­duced a de­sign that is “ele­gant and an ef­fi­cient so­lu­tion on a very tight and highly con­strained site.”

“The de­sign of the build­ing fea­tures a no-bound­aries con­cept. The space it­self is like a gallery and has an open feel,” said Ezumi dur­ing the me­dia tour.

The cen­tre has a def­i­nite min­i­mal­ist vibe with its ex­posed brick and con­crete walls. Squar­ish open­ings and sky­lights pro­mote nat­u­ral light­ing, cool the build­ing, and re­duce the use of elec­tric­ity.

The roof ter­race is some­thing Ezumi is proud of: it is an area filled with green­ery that con­tains the build­ing’s so­lar sys­tem.

“It also of­fers the best views of Bangsar,” said Ezumi.

More im­por­tantly, the cen­tre re­ceived the high­est rat­ing of plat­inum un­der the na­tional Green Build­ing In­dex (GBI). The in­dex is a rat­ing sys­tem that was de­vel­oped by PAM and the As­so­ci­a­tion of Con­sult­ing En­gi­neers Malaysia in 2009. Build­ings are awarded rat­ings based on six key cri­te­ria: en­ergy ef­fi­ciency, in­door en­vi­ron­ment qual­ity, sus­tain­able site plan­ning and man­age­ment, ma­te­ri­als and re­sources, wa­ter ef­fi­ciency, and in­no­va­tion.

“As PAM is be­hind the GBI, we have to walk the talk. Hope­fully, this build­ing will serve as a show­case for what we are ca­pa­ble of do­ing,” said PAM past pres­i­dent Sai­fud­din Ah­mad who was also at the me­dia pre­view.

The triple height atrium upon en­try gives you an idea of what to ex­pect in the build­ing: airi­ness and lots of light.

Ex­posed bricks and con­crete floor­ing give off a min­i­mal­ist vibe and nat­u­ral feel.

Ezumi, on the eight floor roof ter­race, look­ing down at the sky­light above the stairs within the build­ing.

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