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Menara Mesiniaga Case Study

I’ve had people ask me why I haven’t mentioned the Menara Mesiniaga, designed by architect Ken Yeang, in Subang Jaya Selangor, Malaysia.  Well…the building was modern + famous when it was finished in the ’90s, and it’s still modern + famous.  I don’t really know if I can do any justice trying to describe the structure, but I’ll direct you to some more detailed information on the building, in case you’re interested in studying bioclimatic skyscraper design and the like.  The Menara Mesiniaga, often referred to as the IBM building, is owned by Mesiniaga, a Malaysian public company in the IT sector that is somehow connected to IBM.  The 15 floor, 207 foot, intelligent building was finished in 1992, and interestingly, property values of the land around the building have flourished. 

Excluding the costs of land acquisition, Menara Mesiniaga was constructed at a cost of roughly $8.9 M (USD).  The building design reduces long-term maintenance costs and lowers energy use.  On the north + south facades, curtain wall glazing minimizes solar gain.  On the east + west facades, aluminum fins and louvers provide sun shading.  All the office floor terraces have sliding doors that allow the occupants to control natural ventilation.  The trussed steel + aluminum sunroof also incorporates solar panels that power the building.  Some other features include the skycourt, vertical landscaping, and naturally ventilated core.  The Menara Mesiniaga is the epitome of building design that reflects climate characteristics specific to the location of the building. 

Good Links:
++Ken Yeang’s Book: Bioclimatic Skyscrapers [Online version]
++Aga Kahn Award for Architecture

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Completed in 1992, this building was a precursor to what we call “green buildings” today. Designed as a headquarters for IBM, the building applies architect Ken Yeang’s bioclimatic designs with both internal and external features to create a low-energy building ideal for a tropical climate. Plantings spiral up the façade and into the skycourts from a three-story-high planted mound. Planting can also be found amongst the triple-height recessed terraces in the upper reaches of the building. These atriums allow natural ventilation with cool air, and the vegetation enhances shade and increases the oxygen supply. On the north and south facades, curtain wall glazing is used to control solar gain and on the east and west facades, external aluminum fins and louvers provide sun shading. The light-green glass and glazing detailing act as ventilation-filters without wholly insulating the interior. On all office floors, terraces are provided with sliding doors for workers to control the level of natural ventilation. In addition, the elevator lobbies, toilets and stairwells have natural ventilation and natural daylighting. The roof has a sunroof made of trussed steel and aluminum, which shades and filters light on to the swimming pools and gymnasium. When it was constructed in 1992, this area was also future-proofed for potential solar cells. The building has a circular floor plan, which offers no dark corners in the offices. Any enclosed rooms that don’t need much light are located near the central core, which allows workstations to be located on the outside edge where natural lighting and high quality views are available. The tower has intelligent building management systems to reduce energy consumption by equipment and air-conditioning plant.

Menara Mesiniaga was designed by architect Ken Yeang as a bioclimatic building in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. ©2008 Nazrey

The singular appearance of this moderately tall tower is the result of architect Kenneth Yeang's ten-year research into bio-climatic principles for the design of medium-to-tall buildings. Its tri-partite structure consists of a raised “green" base, ten circular floors of office space with terraced garden balconies and external louvers for shade, and is crowned by a spectacular sun-roof, arching across the top-floor pool. The distinctive columns that project above the pool floor will eventually support the installation of solar panels, further reducing the energy consumption of a building cooled by natural ventilation, sun screens, and air conditioning.

In his book Bioclimatic Skyscrapers, Yeang points out that geometrically, the skyscraper can be regarded primarily as an intensification of built space over a small site area (or over a small built footprint). The tall building permits more useable floor-space to be built higher, with an opportunity to have better economic return from the land, and to put more goods, people and rents in a single location. The environmental justifications include a higher concentration of commercial activities in an urbanized location that enables reduced energy consumption for transportation.

Design Features

The building brings together the principles of the bioclimatic approach to the design of tall buildings developed over the previous decade by the firm. It was the recipient of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in1995. In particular, the building has the following features:


• “Vertical Landscaping” (planting) is introduced into the building facade and at the “skycourts”. In this building the planting starts by mounding up from ground level to as far up as possible at one side of the building. The planting then “spirals” upwards across the face of the building with the use of recessed terraces (as skycourts).

• A number of passive low-energy features are also incorporated: All the window areas facing the hot sides of the building (ie. east and west sides) have external louvres as solar-shading to reduce solar heat gain into the internal spaces. Those sides without direct solar insolation (ie. the north and south sides) have unshielded curtain-walled glazing for good views and to maximise natural lighting.

• The lift lobbies at all floors are naturally ventilated and are sun-lit with views to the outside. These lobbies do not require fire-protection pressurisation (ie. low-energy lobby). All stairways and toilet areas are also naturally ventilated and have natural lighting.

• The sunroof is the skeletal provision for panel space for the possible future placing of solar-cells to provide back-up energy source. BAS (Building Automation System) is an active Intelligent Building feature used in the building for energy-saving.

• Structural System: Reinforced concrete structural frame and brick infill, mild steel truss structure for sunroof, gym roof and mezzanine deck.

• External Skin: Laminated float glass, composite aluminium cladding.

• Roofing: Tiled r.c. roof slab to roof terraces, metal decking with insulation to gym. roof.

Finishes: Green granite to entrance lobby floor, white marble to lobby walls, composite aluminum cladding to columns and walls, quartz tiles to lobby feature wall, exposed aggregate plaster to forecourt and apron, spray tile to walls, float glass and dry wall to internal partitioning, homogenous tiles to wet areas, carpet to office floors, mineral fiberboard ceiling to offices, white fibrous plaster to lobby ceilings and auditorium.


Documents

  Menara Mesiniaga Drawings (1,538 kb)

  Menara Mesiniaga Technical Review 1995 (5,213 kb)

  Menara Mesiniaga Brief Case Study (1,252 kb)

  Menara Mesiniaga Structure Case Study (511 kb)

  Menara Mesiniaga Environmental Design Case Study (597 kb)

  Menara Mesiniaga Case Study Aga Khan Award (7,408 kb)


Resources

Menara Mesiniaga 3D Model

TR Hamzah and Yeang International (Malaysia)

 

 

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