Big Dutchman (BD) is a global livestock equipment company that operates on the international arena. It recently unveiled its regional head office and logistics centre for the Asia Pacific region in Klang, Malaysia.
The 25-million-euro (about RM123.5 million) state-of-the-art facility is the largest and most modern in the group, with about 26,000 square metres of storage and office space. It is five times larger than the previous centre, also located close by, and is designed to enhance operations and meet the company’s expected future growth. The office also has a large integrated showroom and training facilities that can be used by customers, staff and agents.
A TOUCH OF EUROPE
The 20-acre site lies in a high-density heavy industrial zone, surrounded by energy-intensive factories, which imposes visible infrastructural pressures on this area. This is a far cry from BD’s original operations in rural Europe, where industries co-exist in Green-sensitive environments.
The new Klang campus draws from its European origins by breaking the mould of industrial facilities with a lush green landscaped environment. It’s built on a low plinth ratio, adopts a human-scale approach to large-scale warehouse operations, and maintains a low-carbon footprint in a Green-friendly sustainable environment. Even the main gate’s green wall is a symbolic signature drawn from its European origins.
BRICK BY BRICK
The over-burnt brick used throughout the façade is an expression of durability and timelessness. It is architecturally rough, yet refined. It is also a symbol of a strong business foundation and an interpretation of the company’s commitment to grow its business on the bedrock of its brick-by-brick tradition in a sustainable and environmental manner.
Practically, the bricks act as a robust and heat-insulating material requiring minimum maintenance. Expressively, the iconic 3-metre-high floating brick wall maximises openings to the edge of potential penetration, serving as an air funnel for cross ventilation to negate heat build-up and maximise air flow through the facility.
The idea is to lift a traditional brick form and allow it to float in mid-air. It is a twist and a contradiction—a twist as technology allows for the walls to be suspended unexpectedly, and a contradiction to see a traditional heavy masonry element float on air.
Underlying it all, the fundamentals of good sustainable architecture are anchored by the building’s passive Green design.
The campus reduces dependency on fossil fuel energy by generating solar power as part of its clean energy programme through the photovoltaic cell technology. A solar panel the size of two football fields has been installed on the warehouse’s roof to supply Green power. Rainwater harvesting and recycling conserves water consumption. On-site surface water detention capacity acts as part of the area’s flood mitigation programme. Waste is managed through a structural disposal programme.
The architectural design adapted a second skin heat insulation concept for the external envelope of the building to lower the air-conditioning load demand by reducing direct heat gain, especially on the east and west façades. The operable louvres on the sun sensors allow the major glazing areas to be shaded—they follow the sun’s direction throughout the day to keep a constant ambient temperature at the workspaces, while allowing maximum visibility and light penetration.
The passive environmental design concept actively creates and encourages the use of comfortable external-internal spaces functioning on minimum energy needs. This approach means that the air-conditioning only needs to be sustained to 10 per cent of the overall built-up space.
Creating pleasant, healthy, and attractive well-lit work and recreational spaces encourages increased use of the facility, resulting in less need to travel out during breaks, thereby reducing carbon emissions. Sustainability is not just a technical concept but a commitment to enable an environment where greenery is simply about living it.
Project Name: Big Dutchman regional head office and warehouse
Location: Bandar Bukit Raja, Klang
Completion Date: 30 September 2016
Site Area: 76,618 square metres
Gross Floor Area: 25,507 square metres
Headquarters: 4 storeys; 16 metres
Warehouse: 1 storey; 11 metres
Client/Owner: Big Dutchman Agriculture (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd
Architecture Firm: NWKA Architects Sdn Bhd
Principal Architect: Ar Ng Wai Keong
Interior Design Firm: Mmoser Associates Sdn Bhd
Principal Designer: Ranko Kume
Civil & Structural Engineer: HSS Integrated Sdn Bhd
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer: HSS Integrated Sdn Bhd
Quantity Surveyor: Stanley Chin QS Consult Sdn Bhd
Lighting Consultant: Exin Lighting Sdn Bhd
Landscape Architect: Pentago Landscape Sdn Bhd
Green Building Consultant: IEN Consultant Sdn Bhd
Main Contractor: Nakano Construction Sdn Bhd
Interior Fit-Out Contractor: Jalex Sdn Bhd
Images: David Yeow Photography