Counterpoint & Complement

Project Description

Counterpoint & Complement

by Teresa Chow, Feb, 2012[View PDF]

When the Petronas Twin Towers were unveiled in the Malaysian capital city of Kuala Lumpur in 1998, they were the tallest office buildings in the world. Since then, they have become iconically associated with KL’s skyline – so when Ole Scheeren was invited to build a new skyscraper directly alongside the towers, he knew he needed to design something that was completely different – yet very respectful to them.

“To do a twin tower facing the Petronas Twin Towers, one could only lose,” he says. “But if you do a single tower, in a way you lose too, because how could you differentiate its identity from all the other surrounding towers?”

The brief for the Angkasa Raya project required the architect to utilise a relatively small plot of land to accommodate a high density mix-used project with offices, a hotel, residences and retail space. According to Scheeren, the complexity of the brief was that the hotel had to be housed in a separate building. “In a way it was a real dilemma: The site was too small for two separate buildings, so it was almost an impossible request to begin with,” he says.

The spectacular location of Angkasa Raya – directly facing the Petronas towers – also posed a distinct challenge for the design. The twin towers, explains Scheeren, are such a prominent structure that “you cannot design a building without considering their neighbouring presence”. Harmonious contrast, therefore, was the only solution.

Rather than a single mass, Angkasa Raya is made up of three cubic volumes which appear to float above open, horizontal layers. The ground levels form an interconnected spiral of both pedestrian and vehicular circulation and draw the diversity of the streetscape into the building. Urban life will be introduced to these levels with shops, a food court, car parks, terraces and prayer rooms. A second stack of horizontal slabs, the sky levels, is lifted up in the air, appearing to ‘hover’ above the city. Three ‘floating’ blocks accommodate serviced residences, a hotel and offices. The façades are clad with modular aluminium sun-shading, geometrically optimised and oriented to reduce solar heat gain.

With demolition of the existing building on the site completed in 2011, construction is set to begin in the first quarter of 2012, and the project is expected to complete in 2016.


How did you become involved in the Angkasa Raya project?

The client had initially commissioned a series of designs for the project from other architects but was not entirely happy with the results. In summer 2010, he invited us to make an alternative proposal, and we have been working on the project since.

Was the brief challenging?

On the one hand, there was a very high plot ratio with 4 different program components that needed to be accommodated on the very small site, and on the other hand there is this very specific context of the Petronas Twin Towers as your neighbour.

To what extent did the location inform your design?

The Twin Towers are icons of power, and being the tallest was their most important message. I think times have changed and we have entered an era where other architectural qualities are becoming more important.

What was your solution?

The towers are too strong; you can never compete with them. But if you like them or not, architecturally, they have given so much to the city and you also have to be respectful of that, so for Angkasa Raya we needed to find an design that could act as an architectural counterpoint in some way.

What was the thinking behind the design concept?

What makes Malaysia most fascinating is its multi-cultural quality. The whole sense of multiplicity in Malaysia is interesting; and the question was whether we could design a building that expresses some of that – the vibrancy of the city.

What kind of opportunities has the project created?

The very different way in which we approached how the building meets the ground, by opening up and drawing the streetscape inside, has somewhat changed the city’s guidelines for the treatment of tower plinths.
Maybe more importantly, the idea of multiplicity, of how the design resonates with the cultural diversity of the country, has brought a lot of political interest and support to the project.

Have you ever experienced anything like this before?

The CCTV tower in Beijing had a political meaning and agenda from the beginning, in the context of the Olympic Games and China entering a new era on the world stage. What is interesting with Angkasa Raya is that we managed to turn a commercial development to some degree into a civic structure. The idea of inclusiveness of multiple cultures and opening the building to the public has simply gone beyond the project’s initial brief.

Tell us some of the green aspects.

Regulations ask for 9.5 per cent of green but we are providing almost 90 per cent, as gardens for the inhabitants. Shading is another important aspect as it has the greatest impact on energy consumption. You get the sun not only from one side but all around in this tropical city. The shading of the building works like when you raise your hand at an angle to shield your eyes from the sun. Each window has its own shield. As a result, the building will not have a flat curtain wall, but a very expressive texture.

What do you think about the mixed-use building phenomenon in general, now that they have become so familiar?

It’s a big challenge for architects, as these type of projects dominate the emerging cities with the ever same formula. In some ways, I am rather hesitant to engage in too many of these mix-use typologies, but my interest remains to investigate how we can take any kind of typology and explore all its potential, not stick to the status-quo and only repeat what has been done before.


計劃於2016年落成的Angkasa Raya綜合用途摩天大廈,展示建築師奧雷舍人如何在吉隆坡地標雙子塔前建造和諧的對比。


奧雷舍人說:﹁設計一座跟雙子塔對立的雙子大樓,就只有注定失敗。但要是興建一座獨幢大樓,那怎樣從周圍帶裙樓一式一樣的建築分辨出來呢?也不見得會成功。『Angkasa Raya項目要求建築師在一塊面積較少的土地上發揮創意,興建一座包括辦公樓、酒店、公寓及零售空間的高密度綜合用途摩天大廈。據奧雷舍人指出,設計大綱的複雜之處在於酒店必須佔據一座獨立大樓內,他說:『換言之,我們面對進退兩難的局面:一開始提出要在偏小的土地上興建兩座獨立大樓的要求,根本是近乎沒可能的。』

Angkasa Raya的選址與雙子塔比鄰而立這個事實也是一項越級挑戰。奧雷舍人解釋如此宏偉的建築物,﹁是絕不能在毫無考慮其存在的情況下,興建新大樓﹂。因此,唯一的解決方案,就是締造﹁和而不同﹂的共融對比。

有別於獨幢大樓,Angkasa Raya是由三個體塊組合而成,每一體塊彷彿漂浮在各自開放的平台上。大樓地面樓層的兩條相互連接的汽車和行人螺旋形坡道,引入獨特的道路街景。大量的公共空間和活動區域,包括店舖、美食廣場、停車場、平台和祈禱室,將城市的活力帶入樓內。第二個平台,即﹁空中樓閣﹂,則抬升漂浮於城市上空。三個體塊分別是服務式公寓、酒店和寫字樓。建築外牆的遮陽鋁塊,在經過幾何優化及方向疏導後可減少建築物吸收陽光照射。



Angkasa Rayahi的發展商起初委託其他建築師提交設計方案,但結果未如理想。於是在2010年的夏天邀請我們也提交方案,自此便建立了合作關係。




雙子塔的形象太強,根本無法與之相比。從建築的角度看,不論你喜不喜歡,它無疑也對吉隆坡這城市有所貢獻,我們得尊重這一點。於是,設計Angkasa Raya便得找一個能從建築層面上跟雙子塔起對位作用的方案。






北京奧運代表了中國步入新紀元,而在此情況下建造北京中央電視台大樓,本身已涉入政治因素。而Angkasa Raya最特別之處是把一商業項目在某程度上變成屬於整個城市的建築。設計包含多元文化及開放大樓供市民享用這兩大概念已超越了原來的設計大綱。


建築條例要求項目的百分之九點五為綠化借施,但我們卻提供了九成,猶如供居住者享用的花園。遮陽措施對耗能量有莫大影響,亦是另一重要的考慮。在熱帶城市裡,陽光不只從一方照射,而是四面八方。於是,Angkasa Raya的每個窗戶都設有遮陽措施,就如你將手放在額上,阻擋陽光刺進眼睛般,遮擋太陽。因此,建築外牆並不是一塊平面幕牆,而卻富有質感。