TRX's dynamic public realm masterplan was recently recognised at this year’s Malaysian Landscape Architecture Awards (MLAA).
The innovative masterplan that seeks to harmonise the new financial district with the existing fabric of downtown KL won the Excellence Award in the Developer & GLC category.
“Our vision is to create an international financial district with a distinct identity, one that is green, pedestrian-friendly, safe and conducive to a high quality of life,” says Dato’s Azmar Talib, CEO of TRX Sdn. Bhd.
Lush, green and connected
At the core of the masterplan for a revitalised public realm lies a commitment to reverse some of drastic loss of green spaces suffered by the city since the 1980s.
“As landscape architects, we want to bring back KL’s green spaces, and reconnect people to more natural surroundings,” says Phua Chin Eng, Managing Director of Landart Design, the company responsible to deliver the TRX public realm.
Taking inspiration from local fruits, such as nutmeg and mangosteen, the buildings form the tough outer layer that protects a green heart, namely the elevated, multi-tier city park.
Overlaid on top of this central concept, is the idea of vines and leaves. The 10-acre park is laid out in a leaf-like pattern, that stretches its tendrils of green throughout the whole district, extending graciously to the neighbouring areas of Imbi and Bukit Bintang.
Another unique feature is the holistic ecosystem that encompasses care for urban flora and fauna.
“We are aiming to create a unique and interesting ecological corridor for pedestrians and wildlife,” Phua explains.
He gives the example of the short flying spans of urban birds, butterflies and bees, which meant ensuring the spaces between pockets of green would not be too far apart.
Incorporating water features that would maximise water cycle sustainability and selecting the types of trees, shrubs and plants best suited for a healthy dependence between species also came in for careful consideration.
Phua emphasises how creating a true connection between city dwellers and nature means meticulously integrating green spaces with quotidian rhythms and requirements, such as crafting shade and natural cooling methods suitable for the hot and humid tropics.
No stone was left unturned - from the orientation of the sun throughout the day, through to the species of hardy tropical trees and shrubs, and design configurations that would be best employed to reduce heat and provide comfort for daily users and visitors.
“When you have more green, natural environments in cities, people are happier and healthier,” Phua says.
Users of TRX will enjoy a network of shaded pedestrian walkways and plazas that criss-cross the district, connecting all building and major landmarks seamlessly, from the MRT station, through the central park, and all the way to the bustling Bukit Bintang shopping area.
These linked-up areas will not only allow for comfortable travel by foot, but was designed to double up as recreational spaces, perfect for alfresco dining, public events, or simply to rest, recharge and watch the world go by.
The main arteries of Jalan Barat and Jalan Gading will play vital roles in linking TRX to the neighbouring areas of Imbi and Bukit Bintang respectively, with both being revamped with pavement upgrades, extensive greenery and landscaped features.
The Jalan Gading streetscape will encompass three distinct sections which flow into each other, mimicking the riverine origins of Kuala Lumpur.
Wide natural granite pavements with meandering patterns and shallow step elements, bringing to mind streaming waterways, continue from the Lifestyle Street section that starts from Starhill Gallery, through the small plaza and Las Ramblas-style central pedestrian block of Gading Central.
The final stretch, dubbed Festival Street, is designed to be a buzzy, lively prologue to TRX’s North West Plaza, a large open area with public art and pockets of lush greenery, offering the first taste of TRX’s signature green city concept.
From here, choose one of the many walkways available for a short, breezy and shaded stroll to the central park which cascades over a luxury mall, as all road converge on this stunning green heart of the Tun Razak Exchange.
“The TRX public realm will be a new benchmark in Malaysia, and can be a model for other cities around the world,” Datuk Azmar says.