A new park with an old-world charm

The Star Online, March 24, 2005

By CHOW HOW BAN

Park at Sentul West is fast shaping up on a 14ha land and is poised to become one of Kuala Lumpur's premier landmarks when it is ready middle of the year.

The RM35mil park, developed by YTL Land and Development Bhd at where the Sentul Raya golf course was, will not only benefit house buyers in its vicinity, but other city folks, too.

Gone are the golf course's lawns and in their place are cemented walkways that are framed by trees, slopes and gleaming ponds.

Together with the Red Flames, Golden Showers, Raintrees, Frangipanis, Cinnamons and Fucus that have been on the land for years are new cherry trees and species such as the Sentol, Pelawan, Merawan Siput, Tualang, Kelat Nasis, Tembusus, and Gleams.

“Ficus trees that are growing on a brick wall that was part of the Sentul railway workshop remain where they are,'' said principal architect Ng Sek San. The 100-year-old wall will serve as a facade of the new Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre at the park's Festival Plaza.


Cherry trees line the walkways in the park.

When completed, the RM25mil centre will become the new home of The Actors Studio that lost its base at Dataran Merdeka to floods a couple of years ago.

 

Built on a 6,300sq metre site, the centre is a collaboration between YTL, the studio and Yayasan Budi Penyayang and its aim is to, not only offer classical, contemporary and innovative acts, but also interest the public to the performing arts.

 

Blending with the rustic features of the old railway workshop is a new-age four-storey glass and steel structure.The facilities in it will include a 500-seater proscenium theatre with top-of-the-line acoustics and a 200-seater experimental theatre with movable seating, ideal for smaller productions.

 

Also in the works at the structure are pre-function foyers, a performing arts academy, a resource centre, a bookshop, a bistro and a workshop where props are made.

 

Ng said what is unique about the centre was that visitors could view the entire park through its steel and glass atrium at the holding foyer.

 

“The interfacing is crucial,'' he said. “We don’t see very many differences between the park and the centre's architecture. All of them complement each other as a whole.

 

“We like the idea of bricked buildings on green lawns where performances can be held in the open."

 

Among the other features at the park are seven red-bricked walls that have been built on a straight line as if to draw visitors' attention to the arts centre. The centre itself is situated on the park's fringe.

 

Ng said the old railway workshop's glory had been retained on purpose. 


The Sentul Raya golf course is slowly making way for the new park.

“When we began conceptualising the park, we wanted it to be all about lines and train stations,'' he said, adding that should one takes a hot-air balloon trip over the park, he or she could see from above people moving along the parks corridors to converge at “destinations'' that interest them. “Just like on a railway track.'' 

Plans are afoot to build a hot-air balloon centre besides a pet hotel for condominium buyers. Along with these will be movie lawns and areas for picnics, weddings and other celebrations.  

He said by July, besides the Festival Plaza, the South Gardens, East Fields, West Fields and Central Lake - where a camping site and a bird viewing island are located- would be ready.  

“The park is half completed,'' said Ng. “The second phase will include themed and water gardens.''  

An interesting feature will be the Koi Centre, a hub where the fishes will be bred and sold. It will also serve as an educational centre for enthusiasts and students.  

Ng said the general idea was to bring to indoor activities to the outdoors. “We may even put sofas in the open.''



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