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PETALING JAYA, Feb 19 — A Malaysian architect’s futuristic vision won over the judges in a competition to design the facade for the Johor Baru-Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS) Link Project’s Bukit Chagar station.
Johor Baru-based architect Chin Yee Chong from SM Architects Sdn Bhd took home RM250,000 in prize money from the competition which was organised by Mass Rapid Transit Corporation Sdn Bhd (MRT) and Pertubuhan Arkitek Malaysia (PAM).
The competition was the brainchild of Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, who also served as the patron of the competition and chairman of the jury panel.
Chin’s entry triumphed out of 91 submissions that came in from all over the country between November 23, 2020 and January 25 this year.
His design, dubbed “The Integration of Two”, signifies the historical relationship between Johor Baru and Singapore which will be further enhanced by the RTS Link.
A photo of two hands holding each other at the opposite’s wrists served as the primary inspiration for the design, which features an intertwined roof with a striking sculpture at one end.
Chin was also influenced by Islamic architecture, the Jalur Gemilang flag, the Johor royal crown, and the Malay keris in his work.
MRT Corp chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Zarif Hashim said Chin’s design was handpicked by the Sultan himself and the other judges thanks to its powerful symbolism.
“This futuristic design manages to capture the relationship between Johor Baru and Singapore and the station will not only become an iconic landmark in Johor Baru but also amongst the great railway stations of the world.
“This design was picked by Duli Yang Maha Mulia Tuanku, together with the competition’s jury panel at the final judging meeting because of the strong symbolism that the design portrayed,” said Mohd Zarif in a press release.
He added that he was proud of Chin’s team at SM Architects as many of them are Johoreans who graduated from local universities.
PAM president Datuk Ezumi Harzani Ismail said the competition provided a great platform for Malaysian architects to display their skills in designing challenging and complex buildings.
“The competition provided the opportunity for Malaysian architects to participate in key projects of national importance such as the RTS Link.
“It also demonstrates the vital importance architectural imagination plays in the transformation of buildings and cities,” said Ezumi.
Modern and green
Chin’s facade is environmentally sustainable with self-cleaning glass roofs which will bring down maintenance costs and allow natural sunlight to illuminate the station without the need for artificial lighting.
Both sides of the facade will also have openings that can create cross ventilation to keep the building cool, a technique that Chin credits to the architecture used in traditional Malay houses.
The Bukit Chagar station is located in a prime location close to the city centre in Johor Baru and will be connected to the Woodlands North station in Singapore.
Commuters will be able to make use of a nearby transport hub with bus and taxi drop-offs as well as easy access to JB Sentral via a covered walkway.
During an online press conference held this morning, Mohd Zarif said a three-month public inspection for the project, a requirement under Section 84 of the Land Public Transport Act 2010, is being held virtually due to the movement control order.
The public inspection is slated to wrap up on April 15.
The RTS Link Project has also launched the Bumiputera Participation Programme which is being jointly run with the Johor Centre for Construction Development.
Forty per cent of the RM2 billion infrastructure construction works has been allocated to Bumiputera contractors and more than 500 Bumiputera contractors have registered their interest to participate in the project.
Construction of the RTS Link station is expected to be completed by the end of 2026.