The Majlis Bandaraya Pulau Pinang (MBPP) office at Youth Park showcases an unconventional type of office typology located in a forest setting. The Landscape Department and Community Services Department had insufficient offices for their own usage. Hence, they decided to locate two new office buildings within the compound of the Youth Park (Penang Municipal Park) on Penang Hill. As the site is surrounded by greenery, it improves their public image as a sector with an approach for a greener working environment.
The proposal was to have a modern and simple design, while also being environmentally friendly. In addition, the design had to take into consideration the existing building on-site that is also owned by the Community Services Department, MBPP, in order to reflect a blend of contemporary and traditional architectural style. The design also needed to take the disabled community into consideration as the neighboring context involves the only playground for disabled children in Penang— the accessibility of the buildings was prioritized.
The different leveling of contours along the slope was one of the design constraints. The designers decided to utilize the different leveling for Bondek ramp access for the disabled, which connects the playground to the office buildings at different levels. This also minimized the cost for the buildings’ foundation system. During construction, a steel structural framing system is used to allow for easy transportation to the site and convenience.
At the entrance, one is diverted either to an open-plan viewing deck, an intimate interior walkway leading to the office blocks or to a spacious scenic event lawn. Imitating the form of trees, the overlapping roof structure and the slanting steel support that extend outwards show how the buildings are sheltered under the trees. The floating roof structure also allows for natural ventilation between the blocks. Furthermore, a rainwater harvesting system is integrated to better sustain the buildings.
Walking along the walkway, one can see how light is manipulated in the space. The contrast between the warm interior wall coverings and the cold monolithic concrete walls with large window panels creates an awareness of the surroundings. The linear walkway efficiently cools the interior with natural ventilation. Natural sunlight also allows climbing plants to slowly cover the buildings, giving them an identity that illustrates the concept behind the design.
Note: Professional experience @ ZZM architects Sdn. Bhd.