PAM Awards 2012
Showroom Category - Shortlisted
'This office building is inspired by the parts and components of automobiles, reflecting the owner's nature of business.'
(Architecture Malaysia Vol 26 issue 1 2014)
The building, Hiap Ho Paints Centre, is a privately owned 3-storey showroom-office building that serves as the client’s headquarters to showcase automobile painting products, materials, paint mixing processes, as well as to provide for ample storage space. The building represents the fulfillment of the client’s dream to own their own building for the expanding family business. The ground floor of the building comprises of a customer service foyer and pantry, which can be converted into an event showroom at the front facing facade, leaving the back of the ground floor as storage space. The operation office, director rooms, mixing and toner rooms occupy the entire first floor. The second floor is dedicated to the meeting room, seminar room and auxiliary storage spaces. The building also incorporates a roof garden that allows for panoramic views of its surroundings. The site is surrounded by low-rise residential housing and 3 churches that have become well-known landmarks within the area. As such, the building was developed from the context of ‘Churches as landmarks’ and designed to continue as an additional landmark along the streetscape. Architecturally, this Paints Centre contributes to its surroundings as a ‘Cathedral of Colour’ of sorts, either by its colour scheme or built form, which is meant to enliven the streetscape. Sited on higher land in comparison to its surroundings, the building has stood out outstandingly as a landmark from afar, within its humble and quiet surroundings. Additionally, the building was intentionally designed to be an ‘advertisement piece’ by itself, enhancing the commercial value for the client. The form, inspired by parts and components of automobiles, reflect the client’s nature of the business. This is achieved with angled glaze openings and the continuation of the building’s silhouette by using 2 dimensional super-graphic inputs to enhance 3 dimensional visual effects from 360 degrees. The second floor space is visualized as a floating object, creating a distorted effect for onlookers as they drive by. The left and right facades are mainly solid, to highlight the
lightness of the front facade. In addition to the different gradients of natural day lighting externally, the building emerges as a combined piece of art, architecture and product. Working within budget constraints, construction materials and methods are typically conventional, with a reinforced concrete structural frame and brick wall construction. However, these restrictions did not limit the design of this project in terms of architectural exploration and expression. The client’s brief requested for the built-up area to be maximized. The design also sought to reduce the building’s heat gain, with the second floor’s deep overhang shading the ground floor from sun and rain. The first floor has been further recessed from the envelope of the building, leaving a double volume space for more airy and welcoming foyer. Lastly, the interior was designed with unique details such as the specially detailed pivoted two-face panels, which serve as a giant colour chart to suit to the nature of the business. These panels can act as advertisement panels or as solid partitions for privacy, and is used to change the mood and colour of the ground floor foyer easily.