D30IC: Originally proposed in 2010 by the Malay real estate developer PNB. With the initial foundation and groundworks commencing: Innovation In Construction Practice Case Study, HWU, Malaysia


Heriot-Watt University (HWU)

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D30IC: Innovation In Construction Practice

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Originally proposed in 2010 by the Malay real estate developer PNB. With the initial foundation and groundworks commencing in 2014, Merdeka 118 is set to be the second-tallest skyscraper in the world when it opens in 2023. Designed by the Australian architect Fender Katsalidis. Its unique and complex design building included a spire design with a distinctive irregular diamond-shaped façade.

This major project, as the name indicates, features a total of 118 usable floors, with the top floor reaching a height of 502.8 m. The total height of the structure, including the spire, tops at a total of 678.9m. The total gross floor area of the project, within its 118 floors, is around 292,000 sqm  (CTBUH, 2023) (Figure 1). The project will cost an estimated RM 5 billion, which equates roughly to 1.5 billion USD.

D30IC InnovationIn Construction Practice

As expected on a building of this magnitude, the design features a number of wide range innovations in regard to the construction technologies deployed, particularly on its structural design. ARUP, who engineered the project, utilizes a complex structural system and innovative construction materials, like high-performance concrete, (Figure 1) to enable the building to effectively withstand high loads of wind, such as those expected during the Malaysian monsoon season.

Moreover, environmental performance and overall sustainability were key considerations when developing the building with a strong consideration of design strategies putting particular emphasis on energy optimization and preventing overheating. The building will be certified LEED Platinum, as well as accredited with the GreenRE and Green Building Index (GBI) Malay certifications. In addition, as a high-end development, occupant well-being, and comfort is also a priority with the building also being WELL Certified  (JLL, 2023).

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