Quarza at Desa Melawati is an environmentally responsive mixed-use development. It comprises of 3 residential towers, a retail mall and a grade A commercial office. Generous public open spaces that range from pleasure parks and retention ponds, to amenity and recreation decks, and skycourts to complete the programme. Embodying passive design strategies that seek to minimise energy consumption by reaping the benefits of natural light, ventilation and rainfall, Quarza provides a rare insight into sustainable 21st century tropical urban living within one of the most cosmopolitan cities in South East Asia. The design draws inspiration from the strata-like formations of the Quartz Ridge in Melawati, the oldest quartz crop in Malaysia. The undulating lines of the building reinterpret the ridge’s linear formations, with the interspersing of greenery representing the green outcrops that take place within the natural environment counterpart. Coupled with the more objective bioclimatic approach to the design that pays particular emphasis on a low energy, high performance green development, the concept is a marriage between nature and technology. A “form matching climate” approach has been taken to the orientation. Just as the slenderness of the traditional Malay Kampung house reduces solar heat gain when the shorter faces are orientated toward the east and west, the apartment towers are configured in a similar fashion. Such orientation reduces solar heat gain but also allows for the harvesting of the prevailing south-westerly/ north-easterly wind patterns, thus cooling the buildings and its occupants. This is optimised by separating the blocks to naturally ventilate all the common areas. The slenderness of the floor plan also allows for optimal daylight penetration and cross ventilation. Such a passive design approach enhances energy efficiency by reducing consumption. A set of large louvres protects the apartments from direct sunlight, reducing the wall temperature. The optimization of natural light and ventilation minimizes the reliance on artificial lighting and artificial cooling. However, when it is necessary (i.e., in the night time), low energy light fittings have been specified in the form of compact fluorescent lamps and LEDs. If heat levels rise above the comfort zone, low energy ceiling fans or air-conditioning units can be operated. Energy efficiency is further enhanced by the appropriate specification of high performance glazing to ensure improved indoor environmental quality by keeping out heat and keeping the interior cooler. A 60% reduction in average water consumption is achieved by aerating the showers and using water saving fixtures and fittings. Water efficiency is further enhanced by grey water harvesting. In the case of the former, water is salvaged from the hand basins and showers, and recycled to be used for the flushing of the WCs. Rainwater, collected from the roof top garden, is similarly recycled and used to irrigate the on-site flora.


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