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Case Research of Architect Serina Hijjas and Menara Telekom



Ar. Serina Hijjas is a 50 years old renowned local architect that has more than 20 years of experience in architectural field. She has done many high climb government projects in Malaysia and also participated in several international projects. Having an amazing architect, Hijjas Kasturi as her father, she was subjected to the architecture world earlier than every other architect. This has helped her much to develop her own design theory since young. She has also functioned in Foster Affiliates for a couple of years in UK. Today, she is the director of Hijjas Kasturi Associates as well as the foundingmember of Malaysia's Green Building Index Tech Committee.

Menara Telekom, Kuala Lumpur is an office building created by the father little girl Serina Hijjas and Hijjas Kasturi in yr 1995, completion of building construction was in 12 months 2001. Menara Telekom is an intelligent building ranked with six actors because of its design work on green element or sustainability. The tower is a 55 storeys high accommodates a working population of around 8000. It has a 1500 seating theatre and a huge exhibition area under the base of the tower. Because the consumer of the building - TM Malaysia is a professional of telecommunication services, this clever building has been made to reflect their determination on energy efficiency in the building management and maintenance system. To review Serina Hijjas's personal qualities of architectural theory in the look of Menara Telekom, analysis and observation is done physically and intellectually to theorize and understand the structures.


The first exterior contributing factor of Serina Hijjas's design on Menara Telekom could be the climate. Malaysia gets abundant of sunlight throughout a yr. Hijjas has carefully designed the building by orientating the office building to face the North and South part to prevent the occupants from receiving direct glare. To resolve the penetration of sunlight from East and West, sky gardens are designed among of the two office tower to tone the indoor areas. The gardens supply the users of the building the comfort and convenient to go beyond your building, from the busy working surfaces, to humanize the working environment in this large composition. Besides, the South and North faades are installed with long and slender tinted glass windowpane panels to lessen extreme glare from sunlight. At exactly the same time, all the windowpane panel on the building faade is also in a position to provide sufficient daylight to the office tower to lessen the energy intake of the building. Alternatively, Serina Hijjas has done a great effort in designing a good air flow in this building to permit the wind pass through the building fenestration. Mid-air pressure theory is being applied on the sky gardens whereby heat goes up on the sky landscapes (which received natural light from East and Western) causing high pressure, and the ruthless pushes the air creating a continuing air movement between the outside and interior of building. Thus, the building can receive fresh air source through sky garden and release exhaust air from air conditioning equipment in the building to the outdoor through house windows of the office tower. This careful design strategy of sunlight and wind flow working together has taken great benefits to the Menara Telekom, making it an efficient wise building. The thought of Hijjas on the orientation of building to the sun light penetration and wind movement has shown her efforts on building the building in response to the local climate.

Number 1. Air flow in Menara Telekom

b) Architectural Theory - Regionalism

The second exterior contributing factor of Serina Hijjas on creating Menara Telekom is Regionalism. Regionalism can be an architectural theory which embraces modern architecture but at exactly the same time consumes the concern of geographical framework. Kenneth Frampton once said "it ought to be on topography, light, weather, on tectonic form alternatively than on scenography. " Menara Telekom is today's building that have metaphor of local component that shows the personal information of Malaysia. It really is a visible translation of "bamboo shoots" into the form or shape of building. The bamboo could symbolize the individuality of Malaysia because it is a common seed or construction material used in local. Not merely with the building form that is able to reflect Malaysia's individuality, Menara Telekom is also responding to the surrounding framework with its concrete faade which ties in harmoniously with the neighbor building on the website. The expression of building materiality shows the building respects the road context (a lot of the neighbor building are built using concrete) and stands on the ground in a humble way without overpowering the encompassing environment. Moreover, among the tallest building in Kuala Lumpur, Menara Telekom was created to provide different factor of visual forms, whether taller or shorter; slimmer or broader depending on different point of view from the road. For instance, when someone is sitting on the North and South, the entire breadth of Menara Telekom is shown, making a broader view; but when one is sitting on the East and West, it looks thin and appear to be taller. This interesting visible perception has shown how much Serina Hijjas considers the visual experience of people on the street. She knows it is important to consider the view from different course when the building she designs is made this extra tall and many would view it from different way. Furthermore, the orientation of the building has been designed to react well to the sunlight penetration and air circulation as the particular climate factor explains. The sky garden is the strategy used by Hijjas to treat the hot East and West side. Additionally, the huge transparent wall structure under the canopy which grades the main access of the building, was created to face the primary road, Federal government Highway as an inviting indication to welcome visitors to type in the building. Serina Hijjas's design has responded well from site framework to climate factor, making Menara Telekom a building that has regionalism features.

c) Socio-culture

The third external contributing factor of Serina Hijjas's design is socio-culture. Hijjas Kasturi Associates has an interest to design building using metaphor that displays certain meaning. According to the lists of building that the company has done, there are a few buildings being made to symbolize something. For instance, Maybank building in Kuala Lumpur symbolizes Keris (a Malay tool and also an indication of social position), The Pod which presents the droplets of Mother Nature (responded to the site framework). Menara Telekom is no exception. Menara Telekom uses bamboo shoots as a metaphor to signify Malaysia's Personality. In Malaysia, bamboo is a common and well-known plantation that has been used frequently. It can be used in various industry for different purposes such as building material, design materials, food, and many more. Menara Telekom is designed to symbolize the "bamboo throw" of bamboo to mention a message whereby young bamboo has strong foundations at its main using its leaves unfurling one at a time. This design concept is also often associated with the Malaysia designer Latiff Mohidin;s image of a pucuk rebung (bamboo shoot), but only the theory for a contoured form had to be balanced against complex limitations. Serina Hijjas designed the building in ways where she uses repeated elements on the faade and floor plates in a tight core likely to achieve equilibrium but still maintaining the form of the bamboo shoot. In short, the sculptural form of the building was developed by the design team to searched for a condition that can mirror the cultural personal information of Malaysia, making the building an instant recognized skyscraper that individuals could view it as building that represents Malaysia.

Number 2. Bamboo shoot


By looking on the three external contributing factors which have influenced Serina Hijjas in building the building, it somehow demonstrates Serina's design main is motivated by her daddy, Hijjas Kasturi, and some experiences that she's gained while working at Foster Affiliates in UK. Serina Hijjas who always research to her father since young gets the same design intent as her dad but she will it really in her own way with the assist of newer technology knowledge. Like her dad, Hijjas Kasturi's project, she always wished to design building which suits the local architecture dialect whether by its look or its function but she includes energy efficiency and sustainability features into her design. This process is important to her because as an architect who may have been exposed to different foreign architecture environment (especially Europe where she put in most of her analysis time), she realized the importance to design a building that is thoughtful and dependable to the environment, making the building lasts longer on the planet without causing damage. At the same time, she doesn't overlook the need to move on from modernism to the post modernism thinking as she designs her building with more interesting elements in terms of form and materiality to use the field of building a "machine building". It creates her an architect that has a useful design approach as basic design notion which is motivated by her daddy, and also offers acquire the environment friendly quality in her building which includes inspired her from her experience and realization while working abroad.

In addition, Serina Hijjas has always acquired her own design theory when making a building in which she would emphasize the "lightness" of 1 building. By looking at the many assignments done by Hijjas, it is shown that the reason of her on insisting having "lightness" element in a building is to produce a building looks less considerable and bulky. During the 1980's when Serina Hijjas was working in United Kingdom, the building in the city at the time has shown various elements of post-modernism design incorporating with new advanced technology. The usage of steel and wine glass is becoming another important feature to make a building appears modern and lighter. It had been the time where the two famous new materials were unveiled to the planet and they received good response in architecture industry. Many people becomes fond with the new materials since then. Perhaps being influenced by the structures trend in European countries, Serina Hijjas is using the "lightness" as you of her important design basis on her project until today showing her matter for Malaysia to check out the modern structures pace in abroad once she came back working from UK. It's important for her to create a building which is less visual burden to create a feeling as though the building is inhaling and exhaling lively however, not standing on ground massively, therefore she likes to play around with "lightness" element in her assignments design. Besides, while making use of lightness on her behalf building design, the building of Serina Hijjas has portrayed another key feature where she never designed a building to overpower the framework surrounding. It really is a humble way of her to allow building respect the site context utilizing the same architectural words and factor unlike some commercial building which is shouting for folks to note. It demonstrates Serina Hijjas is a considerate architect who considers carefully on every possible factors that will not only affect the building itself but also the encompassing context.


In a nutshell, Serina Hijjas can be an architect or a designer who portrays postmodernism features with energy efficiency and sustainability thought in her design that is based on "lightness" basis. As the little girl of the neighborhood legendary architect Hijjas Kasturi, Serina Hijjas definitely has the qualities that her daddy is famous for and she even make the effort to set-up her own way of expressing her architectural theory into her design. Her way of planning makes her absolutely original in Malaysia architecture industry.

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