Ecoworld Flow Gallery

Penang / Malaysia / 2015

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“How do you extend the memory of history but yet remain relevant?” Ecoworld, one of Malaysia's leading developers, commissioned MOD to design a show gallery and office in Penang, Malaysia. Situated at a busy traffic junction in zone 2 of Penang's UNESCO heritage district, the site is along the historic Macalister road and houses an existing 100-year-old colonial bungalow that would have to be adaptively reused and incorporated into the new design. When first considering the richness of this heritage site and building, there were 2 possible design responses. The first possibility had long been established as common practice in Penang, i.e. create an “unseen” sacred boundary around the heritage building and respectfully distance any new buildings away from it. Though this would allow the heritage building to maintain its rightful place under the proverbial 'spotlight', it unintentionally draws what could be a harsh and jarring distinction between old and new; negating any attempt to cultivate a continuum between old and new worlds. Instead, any design born from this approach often juxtaposes generic, physically disconnected and glaringly modern buildings alongside heritage ones; enhancing the gulf between old and new, and missing the opportunity to complement or directly embrace the richness of Penang's heritage context or distinctive architectural language. “The New Extruded from the Old” There is a second approach, one which is grounded in a humble reverence for heritage and pays homage to it, by literally becoming an “extension” of it, albeit with a contemporary twist. This approach seeks to create a continuum between old and new, whilst simultaneously maintaining an artful balance, which celebrates them both. MOD's proposal takes this route and the design for the new 'extension' derives its very form, presence and articulation from the heritage building itself. The new building simply could not exist in its current form without the heritage building, and literally 'extends' from the heritage building, sharing its profile, proportions and image. Simultaneously however, there is a clear and intentional transition between old and new building. This can be seen through the introduction of skylights and vertical glass blades along the new building's length, a column-free double-height space and a transparent glass entry facade. The new building's entry facade is also angled towards the heritage building in deference to it, a gesture which underpins the importance of the heritage building as its forerunner and establishes a clear hierarchy which pays homage to heritage.

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    “How do you extend the memory of history but yet remain relevant?” Ecoworld, one of Malaysia's leading developers, commissioned MOD to design a show gallery and office in Penang, Malaysia. Situated at a busy traffic junction in zone 2 of Penang's UNESCO heritage district, the site is along the historic Macalister road and houses an existing 100-year-old colonial bungalow that would have to be adaptively reused and incorporated into the new design. When first considering the richness...

    Project details
    • Year 2015
    • Work finished in 2015
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Corporate Headquarters / Showrooms/Shops
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