From cars to cargo – the building was formerly designed for a car dealership and showroom in the late 80s, located on a second lot from Jalan Mendu. We had just completed his house when he asked us to look at this building as a potential new office for his logistics company, which he runs with his older brother. During our first site visit, we took note of the building’s good structural condition and the double-storey car showroom. We decided to comply with the client’s brief through the addition of new elements and spaces rather than demolishing it in order to alter the existing structures.
The client’s brief was straightforward; to fit in as many staff as possible within the building with optimum expenditure, and in the shortest time possible. In response, we decided that:
- To add new elements would be a simpler and cheaper process rather than to partially demolish and alter to suit.
- The majority of the new elements will be in steel; for speed of construction and lightness in weight.
- A majority of existing structures and spaces will be retained, and re-planned for their new roles.
As a result, the former showroom has been transformed into a new open-plan office, featuring the addition of a steel mezzanine. The previous offices of the car dealership now serve as rooms for back-of-house facilities, staff toilets, and a pantry. The only new building in this project is a single-storey ‘container’ designed for conferences and corporate events. Its proportions and steel-clad exterior allude to the shipping containers, which are integral to the client’s business. Positioned perpendicularly to the existing building, it stands as an architectural statement visible from the street, while also serving as a flanking element that guides visitors along the entrance canopy.
This project was completed within nine months from its design, with submission to authorities and construction occurring concurrently. Many of the design decisions took place on site with hand sketches to confirm ideas and obtain agreement from the client, who attended all the weekly site visits. It was a small but intensive project; ideal for training a young office, and just enough to pay them.