KUCHING: Hock Seng Lee (HSL), Next Phase and the Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM) have launched a design competition for a prime piece of land in Kuching’s central business district.

The plot is about an acre, along Jalan Tabuan, and within 1km’s radius are Kuching Waterfront, Padungan, The Spring Shopping Mall.

The competition is open to all PAM-registered corporate members, with prize monies totalling RM200,000. PAM members may collaborate with foreign architects and there is no limit to the number of entries submitted by an architect.

The first prize is RM100,000, second RM50,000, third prize RM25,000, and two honourable mentions.

Registration opens Feb 8 and closing is on Apr 19.

The results will be announced in late May with prize presentation soon.

The HSL and PAM Sarawak Chapter design competition is the first of its kind in Sarawak.

The judges include PAM Sarawak chairman Ar Ivy Jong, PAM Malaysia president Datuk Ar Ezumi Harzani Ismail, an eminent Sarawakian architect, an eminent Malaysian architect, and HSL representative.

The competition’s design brief calls for a commercial development, which can be mixed-use, except for a hotel.

Judges will focus on community engagement to enhance both the public and users of the building, optimum building orientation and economic viability. The brief calls for a max gross floor area of 30,000sqm.

“This competition is an ‘ideas competition’. A great piece of land, in such a good location, should have a great building on it. Any commercial development is also an opportunity to do public spaces,” HSL properties development general manager Tay Chiok Kee said.

“We want the best ideas right from the start. Our judges will scrutinise all entries, and as the developer, we will build what is best for the location and for the people of Kuching.”

PAM Sarawak chairman Jong is thrilled with the design competition. “This competition is forward thinking and significant for property developers as well as architects. The industry I represent has long yearned for a competition. We want to be challenged and to be competitive,” Jong said.

“HSL will gain significantly from having the most innovative ideas and best designed plans. But, really, the ultimate beneficiary will be the public. The public stands to gain a new architectural icon, new business ventures, new job opportunities and a new public space — all at a location easily accessible to all.”

HSL’s marketing team has tentatively named the project “Langit”, which in Bahasa Malaysia is sky, and in Bahasa Sarawak, “lang” is door.

“This is an aspirational project,” said PAM Sarawak deputy chairman Chai Si Yong, who is director of PDC Design Group.

“We collaborate closely with HSL to make this skyscraper competition happen. It was over a year ago when HSL first spoke to us about a competition. As a developer, HSL is designer- and professional-led. We spoke a lot about challenges, goals and ideas. It only made sense for us to jointly organise a contest,” Chai said.

Kuching is one of the best design cities in Malaysia. It is a city notable for many award-winning architects and unique buildings. Firms in Sarawak like Design Network Architects, Arkitek KDI, IDC Architects, Pu Architects, Jurubina Unireka and David Ong Architects have won national recognition for their designer mansions, hotels, convention centres and interior designs.

Kuching is also home to the iconic new DUN building (by Hijjas Kasturi), the restored Old Court House, Kuching Mosque, OCBC Building, Sarawak Syariah Court, Kuching South and North City Halls.

For the latest, visit langitkch.com and pamsc.org.my. Updates will also be available at hsl.com.my and @hslcn on social media.

Vistas from the site of Langit in Kuching, Sarawak. Views of Kuching city, mountains and sea.

The architectural competition for #LangitKch​ — a commercial high-rise — is on a small but prime piece of land in Kuching’s CBD. It is a matured site with commercial developments including offices, condominiums, shopping malls, hotels and schools, all within a kilometre’s radius.

HSL’s marketing team has tentatively named the project “Langit”, which in Bahasa Malaysia is sky, and in Bahasa Sarawak, “lang” is door.