KUCHING: Sarawakian architects Jascinta Yii and Alan Kueh, practising in Kuching and Melbourne respectively, won the Langit architecture competition.
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.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg (in blue) presenting the award to Jacinta Yii of Yii KE Architects at Langit prize giving ceremony as Hock Seng Lee managing director Datuk Paul Yu Chee Hoe looks on at HSL Tower in Kuching on August 7. Yii and design collaborator Alan Kueh won first place.
Judges called the entry “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, in collaboration with Next Phase (HSL-NP), intends to build one of the winners. The project site is a compact 0.78acres at a strategic location within Kuching’s central business district.
The contest drew 112 registrations nationwide since March 2021.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg announced the results at HSL Tower here on Saturday.
“The Sarawak Government enjoys a close relationship with architects. This is clear to see in our urban planning, public parks and institutional buildings. In Sarawak, we know cities are made for people and the people make good cities. We know that development plans must start from the human level,” Johari said.
“My friends at HSL-NP codenamed this competition Langit because in Bahasa Sarawak, ‘Lang’ means door, and in Malay, Langit is the sky. We want to reach for greater heights together. I hope Langit will be the prototype of, not only a new building, but a new way of thinking about development.”
Second place went to Just Architecture, third place to MOA Architects, and two honourary 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, third-place winner, uniquely, 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.
Cash prizes for the top five totalled RM200,000.
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 demonstrated refreshing approaches in place-making in the context of Kuching. A majority of the submissions displayed clear commitment to social and environmental sustainability,” said Jong, who was jury chair.
“The shortlisted schemes pushed various aspects of design ideas thinking and juries were impressed by the creativity, approach andthoughts demonstrated.”
In 2021, there have been just two architecture competitions in the whole of Malaysia. The first was for 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.
1st – Yii K.E Architect, Jascinta Yii & Alan Kueh
2nd – Just Architecture, Lee Shyan Luen & Justin Lee
3rd – MOA Architects, Hung Sing Ing
Honourary mentions UT Moh Architect – Moh Ung Tai Arkitek LH Wong – Wong Leong Hong
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg (in blue) looking at shortlisted entries of Langit, Sarawak’s first architecture contest, at HSL Tower in Kuching on Aug 7. Also seen here (from left) HSL managing director Datuk Paul Yu Chee Hoe, executive director Simon Lau and Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian.
The top five Langit winners in descending order: Yii K.E Architect, Just Architecture, MOA Architects, plus two honourary mentions UT Moh Architect and Arkitek LH Wong.
The Langit project site is a compact but strategically located 0.78acre plot at Jalan Tabuan, Kuching. Langit is the first architecture competition in Sarawak.
The Langit logo. In Bahasa Sarawak, ‘Lang’ means door, and in Bahasa Malaysia, Langit is the sky. HSP-NP organised the competition with PAM to find the best ideas and to be public drive.