Monday, May 23

Jascinta Yii, Alan Kueh bag top prize in Langit architecture competition

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Abang Johari (third right) presenting the prize to Yii as Yu (centre) looks on. Also seen from left are Chai, Dr Sim and Lau. — Penerangan Photo.

KUCHING (Aug 7): Sarawakian architects Jascinta Yii and Alan Kueh, who are practising here and in Melbourne, Australia, respectively, beat 111 others to emerge champions in the Langit architecture competition, taking home RM100,000 in prize money.

Yii and Kueh’s joint submission is an 18-storey mixed-use commercial building. Eco-friendly with a green facade, the proposal includes public spaces, offices, apartments, plant nurseries — all designed with inter-generational living in mind.

Judges described the entry as “impactful, providing high-density, yet adaptable multi-generational living and working units”. It was also praised for promoting ideas of sustainable living with urban farming as a feature.

Langit is Sarawak’s first ever national architecture contest. Hock Seng Lee (HSL), in collaboration with Next Phase (HSL-NP), intends to build one of the winner’s submissions. The project site is a compact 0.78 acres at a strategic location within Kuching’s central business district.

The contest drew 112 registrations nationwide since March.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg presented the prize to Yii at a prize giving ceremony at HSL Tower today.

The event was also streamed live on HSL and Sarawak Public Communications Unit (Ukas) social media platforms.

Present at the prize giving ceremony were Local Government and Housing Minister Dato Sri Prof Dr Sim Kui Hian, Hock Seng Lee managing director Datuk Paul Yu Chee Hoe, HSL executive director Simon Lau and PAMSC chairman cum competition convenor Chai Si Yong.

The second place went to Just Architecture, third place to MOA Architects, and two honorary mentions to UT Moh Architect and Arkitek LH Wong.

Their designs ranged from futuristic vertical farms to 39-storey skyscrapers.

Each scheme had different strengths, carrying different messages.

For instance, the third-place winner is a twin tower designed using a plot-ratio system. This planning method is similar to those used in regional megacities like Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Bangkok.

The plot-ratio system allowed MOA Architects’ entry to have a large and meaningful public space at the lower levels.

Second and third place winners took home RM50,000 and RM25,000 respectively, while honorary mentions took home RM10,000 each.

The judging process was anonymous. Jury members comprised Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM) president Datuk Ezumi Harzani, PAM Sarawak immediate past chairman Ivy Jong, Veritas Architects director Lilian Tay, multi-award winner and conservationist Mike Boon, and developer HSL-NP representative Yu Ji.

“Many of the design ideas challenge conventional expectations and demonstrate refreshing approaches in place-making in the context of Kuching. A majority of the submissions displayed a clear commitment to social and environmental sustainability,” said Jong, who was jury chair, in a statement today.

“The shortlisted schemes pushed various aspects of design ideas thinking and juries were impressed by the creativity, approach and thoughts demonstrated.”

In 2021, there were just two architecture competitions in the whole of Malaysia. The first was to design the facade of a train station between Johor and Singapore. That competition, which the Johor Sultan was the patron, concluded in February.

Langit began in March. Participants comprised some of Malaysia’s best known firms, including TR Hamzah & Yeang, Design Network Architects, DrTan LM and Form Zero — all winners of national design accolades.

HSL-NP is the project site land owner and and competition sponsor.

HSL’s current HQ is the first privately built Green Building Index certified office in Sarawak. Located at the 200acre La Promenade, it is the only Sarawak development to win the trifecta of awards from developers, landscapers and architects’ institutes.

For more info, visit langitkch.com, hsl.com.my or search #LangitKch and @hslcn on social media.