Singapore and Malaysia-based practice, AKK Workshop has reimagined the commercial tower typology for the tropics, inspired by the tree habitat. This conceptual design is found in Kuching, which is the gateway to the Borneo tropical rainforest.
The 10-floor ‘Vertical Tree Tower’ is designed as a self-sustainable microhabitat that mimics trees and branches upwards. Designed to plug into the existing ecosystem, the tower footprint has been minimised to make a minimum impact on the ground.
“Inspired by the remarkable rainforest habitat that supports the livelihood of hundreds of plants and animals, the Vertical Tree Tower seeks to retain a balance between people and Nature, thus infusing Human-Nature interaction to the building design,” said AKK Workshop.
The Vertical Tree Tower is a mixed-use building, containing retail, co-working spaces, and flexible spaces for the library and multi-purpose room. The internal tower layout is arranged around the circulation core with rings of program circulating the central body.
Inspired by the tree canopy, the design features a series of overhangs on the upper floor, supported by concrete columns. The overhanging form of the tower shelters the ground plane, which is designed as a flexible amphitheatre space for the community.
A vertical street has been included on the exterior to encourage people to discover the building as they wish, bringing the people from the ground floor plane to the roof garden on top.
The roof garden is designed as an urban farming area which also provides extended habitat for the biodiversity in the area.
The shelf-shading form of the tower helps lower the solar heat gain of the building. This is further assisted through thermal insulation provided by the roof garden soil, allowing the building to cool down while harvesting rainwater.
The roof garden is complemented by surface-level greenery to provide further indoor insulation and microhabitat, which adds to the ecosystem services.
Locally sourced Belian and Meranti wood have been used as the primary material for the building façade and interior, which helps reduce the carbon footprint of the tower.
Project Name: Vertical Tree-Tower at Kuching, Sarawak
Location: Kuching, Sarawak
Typology: Mixed use Retail and Office Tower
Architect: AKK Workshop
Design Collaborative: MakeArchDesign
Project Competition Organiser: PAM Southern Chapter
Client: HSL Sdn Bhd
AKK Workshop is an architecture design studio founded in May 2021 by two passionate and experienced architects and designers. Jhee Son Koh is currently based in Singapore and has vast involvement in various scales and typologies of projects across South East Asia. Kah Sheng Ngew is currently based in Malaysia and is experienced in building construction and green architecture. The team is highly motivated to come up with ecological and innovative design solutions to address the urban and built-environment issues, especially in the tropical context. With combined experience, the team is looking at a pragmatic and impactful design solution that can improve livelihood and shape the entwined economic, social and cultural landscape.