In a bewildered quest to locate the site boundary within a hinterland, lead architect Cherng Yih Lee trekked through acres of abandoned oil palm plantations, on what seemed to be one of the few remaining grasslands for a dairy farm in the locality.
Whilst studying the site, an unusual landscape pattern emerged. The prevailing palm oil trees had formed a border around an area of what was later known to be a cluster of rubber trees, preserved during the land-clearing works. This incident inspired the ensuing design process: the design of human experience preceded designing the actual building. The path to the gallery is found at one end of the preserved rubber forest as visitors are encouraged to find their way through the trees on a winding and elevated metal platform. Due to the building’s striking red façade, one can always vaguely see it behind the forest. However, its image is never certain nor fully revealed. Entering the forest path is akin to entering a dark cave. Conversely, one sees a huge white cave when walking into the building’s gallery.
Across different functional areas, the scale of space changes dramatically from one end of the building to the other as ceilings rise and fall above the head, and as walls fold in and out at various places, framing fragmented views of the outside at angles. A zig-zag corridor leading to an internal courtyard garden that serves as a central point to the office space is all part of a designed journey that mimics the experience of searching for a destination in a forest.
As one leaves the site southward, the building is fully revealed with the forest behind it. Its form is reminiscent of compressed, undulating hills that slope towards the ground, disregarding any sense of scale.
Project Name: Red Hill Gallery
Location: Iringan Bayu Show Village, Seremban, Malaysia
Completion Date: February 2018
Site Area: 20,000 square metres
Gross Floor Area: 1,160 square metres
Developer: Aspect Synergy Sdn Bhd (subsidiary of OSK Property)
Architecture Firms: MOA Architects; Formzero
Principal Architect: Lee Cherng Yih
Design Team: Desmond Lee; Justin Lee; Hung Sing Ing; Tan Ewe Liat
Interior Design Firm: Luna Solutions Sdn Bhd
Civil & Structural Engineer: Perunding LNL Sdn Bhd
MEP Engineer: YF Perunding Sdn Bhd
Quantity Surveyor: Jurukur Bahan FPS Sdn Bhd
Landscape Architects: Formzero; HODA Design
Main Contractor: OSK Construction (formerly known as PJD Construction)
Images: Twins Photography (Ronson Lee)