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Kuching’s up-coming landmark features Iban Terabai design

Langit Citadines Hotel and Condo to be unique landmark in Kuching

While Kuching is abuzz about the height and grand nature of the up-coming Langit Citadines Kuching, one unique feature caught my eye.

According to the Director of Neat Plan, Yu Ji, this feature must remain as part of the Langit-Citadines as it reflects the culture of the people in Kuching and Sarawak in general.

The feature in mention is non other than the Iban Terabai shield shape.

At one glance, the Terabai shape isn’t that obvious because like everyone, you will be focused on the shape and general layout of the two block building itself.

However, once pointed out or taken notice, you can’t unsee the Terabai shape which certainly adds character and charm towards the Langit Citadines Hotel and Condominiums.

What is the Terabai

According to the Malaysian National Museum, the Terabai Shield is an oblong shield which is made of a single piece of softwood and engraved with figurative and flora designs.

It functions to protect one’s body from being slashed by an enemy during ‘Ngayau’ (the head-hunting) days.

The Terabai at Langit Citadines

That said, Yu Ji explained that the windows of each tower are actually made up of multiple Terabai shapes, creating a beautiful and unique facade when seen from far.

Such design was made to pay homage to the local Sarawak culture.

In fact, from the promotional video of the project does highlight the shape although it wasn’t mentioned in the Langit Citadines promotional video.

Such detail however is mentioned by MOA Architects of Kuala Lumpur and David Ong Architect of Kuching, in their promotional video of their design.

You can see the video below.

Project details

It is also interesting to note that the Langit Citadines Hotel and Condominium isn’t built using the winning Langit Design architecture competition which was held and organized by HSL.

It actually came in third.

Yu Ji explained that while HSL co-organized the architecture competition with the Malaysian Architect’s Board, it was the later that choose the winning entry, with HSL only being the owner of the land.

He added that HSL, as a business entity, wanted to develop the land and the third place design by MOA Architects and David Ong Architect (which came with Ascott Citadines’ collaboration), was the best choice for such need.

The readily available open public space which is created through the huge common staircase also played a vital factor in selecting the design for the building as well.

This grand stairs would eventually be an important meeting point and activity area for locals and those coming to the building in the future.

Yu Ji also stresed that Ascott as the owners of the Citadines brand, had their own set of request and requirements when it came to the collaboration.

The Singapore based company innitially wanted a mixed use building which combined a hotel, a condominium, office spaces and commercial areas, but settled with a design minus the office spaces.

He also added that the building was in fact shorter in the initial proposal, but grew in height to meet the demands of Ascott.

When I noted it would be one of the tallest hotels and condos in Kuching when completed, Yu Ji appeared surprised.

He said said that they never thought of building one of Kuching’s tallest buildings as they were more interested to fulfil Ascott’s requirements and also their own financial projections.

He added that there was no point competing for height if it would ruin the project.

This eventually ended with the building being a 27-storey two tower building with 213 hotel rooms, 64 condominiums, and a grand public staircase which will also be the public and commercial area of the building.

The building would also boast a similar 20 x 22 meters swimming pool with each tower exclusively owning one pool each.  The pool for the residents will be on the 18th floor, while the hotel guest will be able to enjoy the pool on the 10th floor.  These pools would have their very own clubhouse as well.

Yu Ji also explained that the interior of each room would optimize space, having something like a multipupose table which can be folded or moved to suit ones needs.

On top of that, the Langit Citadines Hotel would also boast Citadine’s 5th generation layout, which is also the latest Citadines concept in the market.  This generation is similar to the one available in Citadines Raffles Place Singapore at CapitaSpring.

Conclusion

At the end of the interview, Yu Ji expressed his excitement over the project and was hoping for more design related competitions to be done in Sarawak.

He said competitions like the one done for Langit Citadines not only allow better talents to be unearthed, but also allow more designs to be made available to a city like Kuching.

This in turn would create new landmarks which are not pale, but rather unique and meaningful to Kuching as designers will try their best to incorprate local culture into their designs, much like how the Terabai was made an important part of Langit Citadines Hotel and Condo.

Cyril Dason

Cyril Dason was born and currently lives in Kuching. He loves jungle trekking, clean rivers and chilling out with friends.
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