What does it take to design a global icon? For Mulia Group’s chief development officer Ali Moghaddasi, who possesses over 40 years in the design and architectural world, the fundamental elements would be a building that is “simple, rational and timeless”. At its genesis, the design of Exchange 106 – a flagship development for Mulia Property Development – was considered in relation to a select club of tall buildings around the world, skyscrapers that exceed over 400m in height. “For Exchange 106 to join this family of elite tall buildings of the world, which includes Petronas Twin Towers, meant that we had to determine a personality for its monument-like status,” Moghaddasi says.
Moghaddasi turned to Malaysia for inspiration in conceptualising the look of Exchange 106, which stands 492 metres above sea level. “Exchange 106 is a building that belongs to the country; the mix of cultures and nature here is really commendable – its tropics and hills – and that feeds into the poetry of the space,” he says. A combination of mathematical logic and artistic impulses led to the creation of this building, which follows the natural flow of its approximately 150,000 sq ft plot. It rises above the fray with 106 floors and is topped by a crown-like geometric glass finish recalling the textured pattern of a palm tree. “It took us 15 different modelling studies to get it just right,” Moghaddasi says of the eventual shape of Exchange 106, a streamlined sensation which tapers into the sky.
With that, South East Asia’s newest skyscraper, Exchange 106, launched in December last year, transforming the Kuala Lumpur skyline along with it and joining a rather exclusive club of being one of six tallest completed office buildings in the world.
The idea behind the building’s existence is inextricably linked to Malaysia’s future as it is situated on the 28-hectare Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) financial district, a master plan that comprises four quarters: lifestyle, financial, park and urban. TRX is a vision of a future metropolis with an impressive range of environments: offices, residential, hospitality, shopping, entertainment and green spaces. The Smart City principles applied through the master plan ensure seamless connectivity with an underground MRT station and unencumbered movement for foot traffic above a vehicular road network linked to the city grid, SMART Tunnel and Maju Expressway.
Already the accolades have started pouring in with Exchange 106 recently becoming a recipient for an Award of Excellence for ‘Best Tall Building 400 metres and above’ by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Its height also makes it a contemporary to other architectural wonders such as CITIC Tower in Beijing and Salesforce Tower in San Francisco, both of which were completed in 2018.
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The Exchange 106 is one of the Award of Excellence Winners for the CTBUH 2020 Awards Program which was scheduled for April 2020 but postponed due to the pandemic. Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) December 21, 2019 · 🌁 SUPERTALL SATURDAY 🌁 The Exchange 106 is the centerpiece of the Financial Quarter in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. At the height of 445 meters, it is centered in the development and, according to the plan, will be surrounded by over 20 lifestyle, office, and residential buildings. The highest office Level 106 is within the crown of the building. The plan of the tower is comprised of square and elements of a circle. The square represents equality, while the circle represents strength, which draws back to the very essence of Islamic architecture. The building takes a sustainable approach with all the key features of passive and active energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, water efficiency, green construction activities as well as resource management covering reuse and recycling of materials. The Exchange 106 is one of the Award of Excellence Winners for the CTBUH 2020 Awards Program. Learn more here: http://bit.ly/2sjUccw
This award, conferred for technical excellence in a tall building, is a nod to its multi-faceted winning features. Moghaddasi says that the building’s philosophy is not “fixated in its time but looking forward to what Malaysia’s future will bring”. In the 50- to 70-year life cycle of buildings, Exchange 106 offers an undeniable edge with Mulia Group’s ethos of “going further” in ensuring that it will be considered among skyscraper icons such as the Chrysler Building and Rockefeller Center in New York City.
With Exchange 106, compliance on two fronts, namely the gold rating of the Green Building Index, and Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) standards, is but the start of things. The technology on its high-performance insulated glass on a 100 per cent glass tower reduces the need for artificial illumination by a great deal, while heat gain is negated with the high level of insulation. Working with renowned lighting designers has seen the building equipped with sensors that detect low-light conditions to ensure optimum usage of lights for perimeter illumination as well. Equally impressive is that the building – which offers 2.67 million sq ft of net lettable area – has been constructed from over 30 per cent recyclable materials and sustainable timber, a hallmark of its commitment to sustainability.
The building’s high-touch and high-quality finishes include granite on the exterior and car park, polished marble on all lobby walls and floors, a burl wood ceiling system and powder-coated aluminium panels on all office floors. Washrooms offer marbled floors with onyx on vanity accents and double-glass cubicles with a fabric layer as well as wudu facilities in common washrooms. In here, the music which starts up as you sit on the toilet provide an added welcome aural dimension, with Handel’s Water Music figuring on its playlist of 10 pre-programmed tracks; these smart toilets also offer bidet, dryer and massage functions.
Its intelligent express lifts ensure tenants will not take any longer than three stops to arrive at their desired floor, while the 2,200-bay car park is equipped with camera-based guidance systems. Newly installed base transceivers ensure strong mobile coverage throughout the building, while Exchange 106’s investment on full fibre provides Internet connectivity even when tenants or visitors are zipping through floors in elevators.
Arriving at its grandiose drop-off area with its Light Forest installation and customised bronze sculpture of a sphere will lead to a triple-volume lobby with book-matched marble-cladded walls. The 56th floor will house restaurants with uninterrupted 360-degree views of the city. Most of Exchange 106’s floors will offer the same 360-degree views that look out onto the bustling Bukit Bintang district as well as the Royal Selangor Golf Club and greater Kuala Lumpur city.
At the heart of this building is the people, says Patrick Honan, general manager of Mulia Property Development. “It will be about the Front Desk greeting and assisting visitors, the Auxiliary Police helping them find their way around the car park, Housekeeping ensuring washrooms are sparkling and technical staff working round the clock to ensure zero downtime – that will be the singular different that the Mulia Group brings to the commercial office market in Kuala Lumpur.”
Having attained its Certificate of Completion and Compliance in December 2019, Exchange 106 stands as a poignant reminder of Kuala Lumpur’s progression into the new decade. Its crown – made of double-layered laminated glass panels – weaves a diamond pattern in the night sky, with its facets inspired by Malaysia’s diverse population. “Our lofty ambitions for the building is tied back to what we want for our tenants: security, efficiency, quality,” Moghaddasi says. For him, a place like Taj Mahal, despite its luxurious trappings, exemplifies the idea of rational design, where everything happens for a reason. In the same way, with Exchange 106 becoming a convergent point for global financial institutions, Fortune 500 companies and serviced offices, the essence of the building allows for an “order of things” – what Moghaddasi says will enable the building to live for much longer as a working example of excellence on all fronts.