Friday, February 23, 2024

Sustainability in Design: Shell’s Headquarters in Malaysia

[This article was originally published in The Sentral Hub]

Menara Shell’s status as one of the most environmentally friendly and sustainable buildings in KL Sentral CBD reflects MRCB’s emphasis on sustainability as a key component of its business and corporate responsibility strategy. Akin to other developments fronted by MRCB, the building balances aesthetics and practicality, and is one of the very few buildings in Malaysia to receive the LEED Platinum Certified building award, which is the highest accreditation from the USGBC.

According to MRCB’s Vice President for Property, Lok Ngai Hey, the key factors behind MRCB’s successful bid were the strategic location which MRCB proposed – being located in a transportation hub – and also the iconic design.

It was a win-win situation for both parties. Shell Malaysia is able to benefit from the various advantages at KL Sentral CBD, in particular, easy accessibility and connectivity with the rest of the KL–PJ conurbation thanks to public transport options available. At the same time, the decision by Shell to locate its headquarters at KL Sentral CBD adds to the neighbourhood’s growing reputation as a business hub.

MRCB Vice President for Property, Lok Ngai Hey, next to a model of KL Sentral CBD, of which Menara Shell is one of the many stunning landmarks.

Aesthetically Pleasing and Practical

As a petroleum company, Shell wanted their headquarters to reflect this aspect of their identity.

According to project architect Serina Hijjas, this can be seen in the design of Menara Shell. For instance, its diamond-shape structure alludes to the diamond used in oil drilling, while its chiselled facade symbolises a rock, which is quite apt since the word “petroleum” comes from the Greek “petra” for rock and “oleum” for oil. Also, as Serina explained, the diamond is also meant to symbolise the strength of Shell’s history and culture.

Another unique aspect of the building is that the tower block is seemingly made up of six series of diamond shaped pods rising from the five-storey podium. The podium contains several features that Shell specifically requested.

These include food and beverage (F&B) outlets, retail areas, and a multi-purpose hall for town hall meetings that Shell management usually hold with staff. There is also a crèche where staff can drop off their children and then pick them up after work.

Aside from offices, Menara Shell also has amenities such as F&B retail outlets, and even a crèche, all of
which can be found in the podium area.

Furthermore, as Serina explained, the building core, which is where common facilities such as lifts, stairwells, ventilation shafts, and electrical distribution are located is found at the side of the structure. This is very distinctive as the usual practice is to have the core in the centre. In addition, the depth of the office is around 18 metres, more than the average 15 metres for offices in Malaysia, thus ensuring more space.

Ascott Residences represents the temporary home of many visiting Shell executives, as the company regularly hosts visitors from various countries and staff from other Shell offices. MRCB’s development of the serviced apartment demonstrates their deep understanding and commitment to support companies and organisations which have put their faith in the Company’s projects.

Environmentally Sound

Thanks to the eco-friendly design, the interior of Menara Shell is able to receive much natural sunlight
during the day, thus reducing energy consumption.

Conceptualised as a Green building, Menara Shell’s average energy usage is around 120 Watts per sq. metre, which is way below the national average of around 220 Watts per sq. metre. The installation of high performance glass lends to this advantage, as the building’s thermal transfer value (TTV) averages at 42 Watts per sq. metre compared with 50 Watts per sq. metre in regular buildings.

The building interior therefore benefits from natural sunlight while the glass reduces incoming heat and glare. This allows the air-conditioning to be kept at a sustainable temperature and helps reduce electricity consumption. The air-conditioning system in Menara Shell also features the uniqueness of emitting air from the floor instead of conventional methods from the ceiling or wall-mounted units.

Aside from the above, Menara Shell also has features such as rainwater harvesting which helps to increase the building’s water efficiency. The design is such that it also serves the purpose as a covered shade over the path of those walking to the LRT and Monorail stations.

As aesthetically stunning as it is ecologically sound, Menara Shell is a prime example of MRCB’s conceptualisation and creation of iconic structures for their corporate clientele. MRCB’s delivery is in line with its strategy to develop and construct iconic and bespoke buildings catered to precise specifications, which cements their reputation as one of Malaysia’s premier property developers.

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