KUCHING: Langit, a nationwide architecture competition to find the next best high-rise for Kuching City, has shortlisted 11 entries and put them up for public display at La Promenade Mall.
According to the Malaysian Architecture Institute (PAM) Sarawak Chapter chairman Chai Si Yong, 85 submissions out of 112 registrations in total were received for the first phase of the competition.
He said about one third of entries were submitted by Sarawakian architects while the rest were entries from outside Sarawak, including those by architecture firms in Kuala Lumpur and Sabah.
“The competition gives architects and developers 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, Hock Seng Lee (HSL) in collaboration with Next Phase (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. This is a big advancement for both architecture and real estate development,” Chai told reporters today (May 25).
Chai, the competition’s convener, said final judging would be done on June 3 by five members of the jury while the winners would be announced by the end of June.
“A key jury criteria is civic consideration. Designs with good public spaces were appreciated. A number of the shortlisted entries are mixed-use high-rises with good public, retail and commercial residential components,” Chai said.
The site is a challenging and small 0.78 acre lot 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 city hall and some of Sarawak’s best performing schools.
NP director and jury, Yu Ji, said the competition emphasised that the building must be accessible to the public due to its excellent location.
“We don’t want only certain people to go in the building. The location is so good so it should be accessible to everyone.
“We don’t want to just build another building that’s difficult to fill up. The planning is very important. You cannot make a bad design good after it’s built. So we have to have a good start right from the beginning,” he said, adding that the architecture competition was driven by ideas and quality of life, not just purely economics.
Former PAM chairman, Ivy Jong, who is also a member of the jury, said the competition helped to look at ways on how to build proper buildings in Kuching.
“The rejuvenation of inner cities is very important now, especially in Kuching. This is a very good site to build the next high-rise commercial building in the area,” she added.
The shortlisted entries range from 11 to 39 stories tall. They include retail showcases, innovative home offices and world-class service condominiums.
The grand prize winner will walk away with RM100,000 while a total prize pool of RM200,000 await the selected top five entries.
The public display is held at the ground floor of La Promenade Mall in accordance with the proper standard operating procedures. Admission to the exhibition is free.