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Outside the square – a mixed-use project with a difference from RT+Q Architects

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d7 building, by RT+Q Architects, brings life to Sentul

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Sentul township, near Kuala Lumpur, takes its name from the sentul, a handsome, fast-growing tree valued for its fruit, timber and wind-resistant shade foliage. This dramatic, versatile species has its architectural equivalent in d7, an individualistic new mecca for business, design, retail and social interaction that stands proud on Jalan Sentul East. Like the graceful, shady tree, d7 will become an enduring, protective part of the local urban fabric.

Developer of the futuristic building, Sentul Raya, sees d7 as a shot in the arm for local business culture. The idea is not to move people away from their homes to crowded, traffic-locked commercial and entertainment hubs, such as the heart of Kuala Lumpur some 5km away, but rather to bring the offices, opportunities and general social dynamic home to them. The launch of this project is part of the push by developer YTL Land, parent company to Sentul Raya, to bring long-term urban renewal to the greater Sentul area.

Essentially, d7 is intended to redefine traditional office spaces and offer a new type of environment that merges social, commercial and retail on an approachable, easily negotiated human scale, says lead architect Rene Tan, of RT+Q Architects, the firm that designed the building.

"As a vanguard for a new kind of development, d7 had to have a strong street presence," says Tan. "The textured grey metal facade is intentionally bold and simple, creating a unified front amidst its messy urban backdrop. The exterior features unusual window forms, many in an L shape, that give each office or boutique its own distinctive window shape and identity, despite the relatively basic, homogenous unit footprints."

The seven-storey d7 comprises 20 retail outlets at street level, 78 office suites and 34 duplex sky offices. And the L-shaped windows symbolise how many of these interlock.

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"At street level, greenery brings a softer feel, pushing pedestrians away from the traffic and towards d7's retail and F&B outlets," Tan says.

However, it is the heart of the U-shaped building that creates its most dramatic point of difference.

"The central courtyard, or forum, comprises outdoor seating, patios, glass elevators, soaring transparent sky bridges, and over time, lush, jungle-like landscaping," says Tan. "The low-rise nature of d7 and the sky bridges slicing through the negative space overhead bring an intimacy of scale – part of the developer's vision for a new kind of business experience.

"In addition, the internal walls fronting onto the courtyard are in white stucco, differentiating them from the external facade and also helping ensure the courtyard is as light as it can possibly be."

This sheltered, communal space is intended to animate the building. Retail and F&B boutique outlets open to the courtyard as well as the street, so that shop interiors are flooded with natural light, attracting shoppers and diners into this area.

"d7 will soon be linked to YT Land's second commercial development, d6, via a skybridge that stretches over Jalan Sentul. In the long term, the elevated Sentul Skywalk will connect all Sentul East developments," says Tan.

With a strong contingent of designers taking occupancy of the building, d7 looks to become a creative hub for Sentul – an address where parking is easy, crowds are less daunting and there is a sense of that rare commodity, individuality.

First published date: 29 November 2012

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Credit List

Location d7, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Developer Sentul Raya
Design architect RT+Q Architects, project team Rene Tan, TK Quek, Eddie Gan, Joanne Goh
Construction Syarikat Pembenaan Yeoh Tiong Lay Design
Group YTL Design Group Landscaping Seksan Design
Civil engineer, mechancial and electrical engineer, quantity surveyor, earthworks Syarikat Pembenaan Yeoh Tiong Lay
Cladding Colorbond Cassex
Roof Epoxy paint, ICI
Glazing Aluminium-framed tempered glazing system
Hardware CKS, Doric
Balustrades MS Railing
Columns Granite
Flooring Local stone, homogeneous tiles, cement screed
Wallcoverings Plaster, paint
Ceiling Gypsum and aluminium composite panel
Veneers Nyatoh veneer
Lighting SNFOR
Security CCTV by Urmet, door and elevator card access by MicroEngine, PA system Emix, Dvox & Sherwood, fireman intercom by Firevox, barrier gate by Aprigate
Signage Leo Burnett Elevator services Kone
Awards Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM) Awards 2011 Silver Award, Commercial Category Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA) Architectural Design Award, Special Mention, Commercial Category