Sitting on the northwest part of Borneo facing the South China Sea, Kota Kinabalu, colloquially referred to as KK, is the state capital of Sabah – the second largest state in Malaysia with a population made up of non-indigenous group, non-Malaysian citizens, and 42 ethnic groups with over 200 sub-ethnic groups with separate own languages, cultures and belief systems.
Part of the reserve land for the new KK City Complex development along Tugu Road on the west and KK Bypass Road on the east, the site is located in between the existing Kota Kinabalu City Hall and former Kota Kinabalu Court House. The site, which is an existing car park area, is surrounded by old British colonial commercial retails, city park, hotel buildings, as well as the popular Gaya Street which is the centre of business within Kota Kinabalu central business district, that is frequently visited by both local and foreign visitors.
Due to lack of implementation of public transportation system, the Kota Kinabalu city is facing perennial traffic flow problems on a daily basis, which could get worse especially during food markets among other festive activities being spilled into the public realm.
In recent years, the Kota Kinabalu City Hall has been considering plans to shift all its operations including departments from the Centre Point near to its present headquarters at Bandaran Road. Our design team sees the opportunity to propose a parking complex for the convenience for the civil servants and local citizens. Our design concept is to propose a parking complex that is related to the surrounding area built next to it. We want to design the proposed parking complex to mark the entrance to the Kota Kinabalu central business district and to be interpreted as a gateway to its neighbourhood.
The proposed parking complex consists of two stories of car parking, which could accommodate at least double the existing number of car park provision sat above one level of commercial retails. The commercial floor is provided indicatively to relate to the nearby context of Gaya Street, and in order to interlink the existing centre of business. At roof level, an urban garden oasis is being inserted with the provisions of leisure amenities such as natural pond, walk path, sitting benches, mini amphitheater, timber deck, and exercise area, to improve people’s mental health by producing a more relaxing environment that could help to reduce anxiety and aggression.
By shaping the proposed parking complex within the civic and business area, a lively urban oriented façade design is being applied to the skin of the conceptual building, in order to create a sense of colloquial landmark quality for the city of Kota Kinabalu. As the word ‘Kinabalu’ is derived from the indigenous language, the individual façade panel is carved with representative indigenous art patterns to not only pay tribute and respect to the native community who firstly inhabited the state from the earliest times, but also to function as natural light and shadow art projections for the interior space of car parking.