Jewel On The Hill

d+a|Issue 116

Jewel On The Hill
With its expressive silhouette, the new extension of the boh tea centre brings imagination and character to the largest tea plantation in malaysia.
Nizar Musa

Overlooking the verdant Sungei Palas valley, the BOH Tea Centre has, for well over a decade, been a favourite attraction in Cameron Highlands.

Drawing visitors and tea lovers near and far, the acclaimed 145m-by-9m-long building of concrete, steel, glass, and timbre remains to this day a delicately-balanced architecture of unapologetic materiality and considered flourishes.

The Centre’s design has since been revisited, expanded to meet new requirements. Where a legacy vocabulary could have been persistent, there was an opportunity for a trajectory shift.

And seize it, the architects did.

THE CHALLENGE OF SUCCESS

Both the award-winning Phase 1 building and its Phase 2 extension were designed by renowned local practice ZLG.

“It’s a very linear building, based on a simple concept of sustainability, no cut-and-fill, and elevated,” describes Susanne Zeidler, Partner at ZLG, of their original piece.

“It was very site-specific, (we knew) where we wanted to have the views, where we wanted to have the main cafeteria, all connected back to the existing offices.”

The request to enlarge the centre would come 10 years later, finally completing in 2018.

But adding to such a successful and much-lauded icon posed its own concern; the possibility of marring the outlook of the existing building was a real consequence.

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Issue 116