Penang Global City Center by Asymptote



Architects Asymptote have announced Penang Global City Center (PGCC), a large development in northern Malaysia.


The million square metre mixed-use development features two sixty-story towers and is part of the Malaysian government's plans to boost economic growth in the area.


It was unveiled in Penang last week by Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi last week.


Image credit: Asymptote: Hani Rashid + Lise Anne Couture. Here is Asymptote's press release:



PGCC – Design Concept

Asymptote’s design for the PGCC complex is centered on the idea of creating a new and powerful image for the city of Penang and the new initatives associated with the development of the Northern Corridor of Malaysia. The design achieves its elegance and stature through the simultaneous embrace of natural landscapes and contemporary urbanism. The PGCC will become a vital new precinct that complements and enhances the unique characteristics that typify Penang as a remarkable island metropolis. The design of the iconic towers in particular draws inspiration from not only the lushness and drama of the surrounding mountains and seascapes, but also from the rich and diverse cultural heritage that makes up the Malaysian nation and Penang in particular.

The forms of the two towers are comprised of both horizontal and vertical elements: sculpted horizontal components move across the plinth, rise up and transform into articulated vertical structures. Set against the backdrop of the nature reserve of Penang Hill, the twisting, glass façades of the towers “perform” various surface effects—reflecting, refracting and distorting views of Penang, the surrounding landscape and the seascape beyond. The vast, cascading plinth, which functions as a public plaza with multiple gathering spaces, are venues for the performing arts center, convention center and various facilities for residential, office and urban life.

PGCC – Program

The PGCC project is remarkable for its monumental proportions and programmatic diversity as well as its innovative design. The main components of the program include:

Retail Complex: 400,000 sq. m.
Convention Center: 100,000 sq. m.
Penang Performing Arts Center (PenPAC): 75,000 sq. m.
Condominiums: 70,000 sq. m.
Hotel and Service Apartments: 50,000 sq. m.
Offices: 25,000 sq. m.
Observatory: 1,500 sq. m.
Parking: 190,000 sq. m.

Many aspects of the PGCC incorporate the latest in sustainable design and engineering technologies including building-integrated wind turbines; high-performance façade engineering and design with integrated, thin-film photovoltaics; high-efficiency central mechanical systems utilizing trigeneration; comprehensive storm water management and water recycling. The incorporation of these site-wide strategies into Asymptote’s design represents the highest commitment to the creation of energy-efficient and environmentally conscious architecture.

Posted on Friday September 21st 2007 at 9:26 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Mattia Nuzzo

    Wow! Asymptote is going to be the firm to watch in the realm of skyscrapers.

  • I didn’t think I was really into the whole ‘bendy alien’ genre but i think this is absolutely stunning.

    A ‘Barbican’ for the 21st century?

  • Amit Sisack

    anything more to say than WOW! AMAZING!!! it feels as brazil brasilia capital principles have met the 22 century…. such an alegant, beautifull way to connect the vertical building with its basement…. just incredible!

  • jiabao

    not very provocative, can’t find anything makes it stunning, what makes it outstanding?

  • Haji Yahya Sulaiman

    Beautiful, I hope this project becomes a reality, Congratulations Dato Patrick and Equine, the Penang Global City Centre looks breathtaking, it indeed will be a boon for all Penangites, an icon we can all be proud of. We pray you will continue and you will succeed

  • Andrew Lim

    This is amazing. Seems like an alien had just landed on Penang. No more boring Bukit Bendera. I hope PGCC will become reality. Can’t hardly wait.

  • Hi Hani…
    Incredible new forms that are very believable…..its truely beautiful work that has an intelligent progressive techtonic language……


  • putraUSM

    as an architecture student, i am not really proud wif this building. why should i proud if this building will create a problem of green house effect. heavily glazed buildings which is not suitable for malaysia climate- tropical climate especially penang-the day temperature is very high.A problem of ‘greenhouse effect’ is created which means that the approving parties concerned have created a problem of heat build up in the interiors and then solving it by using air-conditioning to cool the interior, not knowing that the electricity bill for maintaining coolness by air-conditioning takes up a big chunk of the monthly bill. This project not only equipped with high-end ICT but must also use energy wisely and help towards reducing global warming butthis building not helping out in reducing the global warming.after all, this building still cant be a project that we can pround of…

  • jonathan lim

    i think there are two sides to this matter, first, the design itself is something out of a fictional novel, which is also very very captivative. and if pgcc is going to be built as what mentioned above with the sustainability and wow factor, i think its a great start to reintroduce penang back into the map of the world.

    as a penangite and an architectural student, it is quite conflicting for me now because as a penang “kiah” im very proud that we are moving forward, but from an architectural stand point and this brings me to my second point – does penang really need something as iconic as pgcc at all? – it is an alien like all have mentioned above (and i bet a lot of people will think so too) to place it in a penang context, which is such a historical city that has many jewels from the past, pgcc will be very unforgiving towards the other buildings from the other eras.

    however, all this while, i have learnt a very important lesson that is….nothing is forever….and so is architecture, if moving forward with time is the only step to do, then why not.

    i love penang, i have been living there since i was born, and i will continue to live there if i have the choice, but to me, penang is everything nostalgic, what i want for my future penang is to walk through at least one small street in the middle of georgetown and see the vanecular houses without anything obstrating the skyline accept for a few clouds.

    i love penang, it has always been my home and will always be.

    thank you for reading.

  • SharonS

    I love Penang too. It’s the place where me and my family grown up. Yes I like the way it was but as a young student, I don’t want to be left out. It is about how we should balance between moving forward and preserving our heritage. I don’t think this is a mistake. Having a development which will be benefit me and and my child in the very long run is the most important.

    My family and and my friends were from very low income family. This is an advantage for us to work and earn for our living without leaving our lovely Penang. I am happy to know that in conjunction of this development, we are going to have lots more public facilities such as the public transportation.

    Well, there will be more people come and go to Penang. They will love to enjoy the modernisaton and the heritage we have here.

  • L.Lim

    Poor Penangites and Malaysians, completely deceived by Patrick Lim, architects and politicians. Press editors bought out, put on the board of Abad Naluri, high ranking K.L. politicians involved. No transparency, accountability or consultation with the people of Penang. A project THIS MASSIVE that will affect all our lives cannot be allowed to proceed without consultation.

    1. Not 2 iconic towers – but 37 of them, bet 42 and 60 storeys!!
    2. prevailing neighbourhood densities 6 units to an acre – getting 37 units/acre!
    3. Non developable hill land being calculated in the densities
    4. Prevailing neighbouring height control – 2 storeys, PGCC 60 stories!
    5. Prime Minister launches a project not yet approved at Municipal local level
    6. Low medium cost units not provided on site, its all for the rich and famous..
    7. 6933 units residential, 14 million sq ft commercial – is this what Penang needs and wants when we already have more than 1 million sq ft of empty commercial space
    8. Carbon 0 : this is actually Carbon off-setting : produce the carbon in Penang, pay for carbon reduction programmes elsewhere in the world
    9. Estimated 60,000 car movements a day. 27,000 car parks being provided on site – are these electric or solar powered cars to claim to be carbon 0?
    10. And the traffic !!!! Anyone in Penang can tell you how horrendous this is NOW. Imagine what this project will do.
    11. Deceit – all models shown in the ‘roadshow’ only show Hani Rashid’s 2 iconic towers. Where are the other towers? Only green park land shown
    12. 30,000 jobs? How do they reach this figure? And what kind of jobs, service jobs, cleaners, etc ? We already have to import foreign labour for these jobs. Penang wants high end professional jobs not these 30,000.

    and we could go on …….Penang DOES NOT need the PGCC in its already crowded city centre. SAY NO TO PGCC, send it somewhere else or scale it down very very drastically.

    Thank you

  • The towers in those 3D renderings may look good to some, but they have been rendered out of its true context. Right beside those buildings are development zones reserved for 38 high-rise towers, and those 38 towers will probably look like any other high-rise tower – tall, blocks that serve to worsen the existing excessive population density problem in Penang.

    A more accurate model can be seen here.

    The development proposals are also full of greenwashing and vague details. They propose flyovers and underpasses but do not state who is paying for them. Also, they advertise a “medical centre”, but it’s not even a clinic nor hospital. The STOP PGCC website has the full picture. The developers should be ashamed.

  • SharonS

    “Poor Penangites and Malaysians, completely deceived by Patrick Lim, architects and politicians. Press editors bought out, put on the board of Abad Naluri, high ranking K.L. politicians involved.”

    That is very serious accusation. Any proof? Otherwise your accusation is nothing but as you said ‘no transparency’.

  • SharonS

    Shame on you Kris. Seems you only see everything vague on PGCC.

  • Why don’t you correct me then so I can see ‘crystal clear’?

  • nique

    simply ugly.. and for malaysia to build this, it will only be a nightmare to all malaysians

  • Jycinta

    So Penang’s Chief Minister has sent PGCC back to the drawing board – has put down several new stipulations that mean that Patrick Lim and gang have to re-design. Or is it just an election gimmick? Will we see the same plan approved after the election? Hope not. The traffic implications are absolutely horrendous, and for those of you who know the racecourse, think of what it will mean to have 38 tower blocks (huge tower blocks) crammed in to such a small space. Then there’s the argument that Patrick Lim and his companies just want to sell of the land parcels and get out of there with loads of money in the bank – all because our dear Penang state government rezoned the land in 2002 at the expense of the Penang taxpayer without cost to Lim or anyone else. Result: land value of the racecourse went up by at least fivefold. So, many people think it is all just a money-grabbing scheme. Like so many other mega projects we know and love (?). The people always pay.

  • Olar

    Man should colonize other planets and build buildings like these!

  • Asrul Naim

    ITS awesome,good 4 malaysian architecture scenery

  • steven

    it is located at the penang island????r u sure???penang island got such a big place to locate it???design is nice…if its really become reality..i will very proud to b a malaysian..LOL

  • Jason Caldwell

    I’m a student in California doing a paper on your building designs and I think they are amazing. Your ideas definitely represent the future. Keep up the oustanding work.