Thursday, March 17, 2011

CV: Putrajaya Lot 4G2 (Wisma Tani)

Designed as part of a 4-building cluster at the Central Boulevard of Putrajaya Core Island, Lot 4G2 (abbreviation for Precinct 4, Government Building, Parcel 2) is home to The Ministry of Agriculture, Malaysia, and is now referred to as Wisma Tani. A design competition was organized by Putrajaya Holdings Sdn Bhd in mid 2000 and participated by 16 Malaysian firms of which eventually 4 firms were declared winners; Veritas Architects Sdn Bhd, W&W Architects, Almaz Architect and Jafri Merican Architect. The winning scheme by Veritas proposed a cluster of 4 oval shaped towers, a metaphor of 4 petals of a flower, upon which each participating firm developed their final designs. Lot 4G2 was tendered as a design and build contract and was awarded to Putra Perdana Berhad. The building was completed in 2004.

Projecting the image of a modern and energy efficient contemporary development, the ‘4Gs’ 18 storey towers of glass/aluminum facades and passive solar devices are architecturally distinct from its adjacent predecessors, the ‘2Gs’ (Precinct 2 Government Buildings) and the Palace of Justice, built of solid walls with punctuated windows and heavily colonnaded street fronts.
Aluminum louvers and fa├žade projections are extensively used throughout the building enclosure to achieve an Overall Thermal Transmission Value of lower than 45 W/m2, a requirement of an energy conservation plan adhered to by Putrajaya Holdings Sdn Bhd. The building form addresses urban design requirements of Perbadanan Putrajaya, the approving authority, for well defined streetwalls, punctuation zones at roof areas, landscaped ’Halaman’ spaces and verandahways at Boulevard level.

A notable feature in the building is a fa├žade system utilizing a series of tension rods that support a vertical arrangement of 2m by 2m fixed frameless glass. This feature is visually apparent at the vertical central band of the tower and the corners of the low rise blocks. Although unprecedented in Malaysia at the time, this technology had been widely used in high tech architecture in the UK, in buildings such as Nicholas Grimshaw’s Western Morning News Headquarters & Print Works in Plymouth UK, built as early as 1993.

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