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Neri&Hu's latest courtyard intervention at hotel Alila Bangsar in Kuala Lumpur

Through the creation of a courtyard as an 'urban oasis', Neri&Hu's design for Hotel Alila Bangsar is a great example for hotel architecture in Malaysia.

by Jincy Iype Jun 26, 2019

Located between Brickfields, a former colonial neighborhood, and Bangsar, an up-and-coming area of Kuala Lumpur, the project is situated at the junction between these two districts, old and new, a conceptual linkage between the past and the present.

The hotel occupies the ground floor and the top eight floors of a new tower, with five levels of guest rooms and three levels of public areas, with Neri&Hu responsible for both architecture and interior design. A rigid structural grid defines the project from outside to inside, signaling its presence on the façade, while acting as a framework within which each function of the hotel is contained.

  • Aerial view of hotel Alila Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Image Credit: Pedro Pegenaute
  • Hotel Alila Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Image Credit: Pedro Pegenaute
  • Hotel Alila Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Image Credit: Pedro Pegenaute
  • Alila Bangsar hotel by Neri&Hu Design and Research Office Image Credit: Pedro Pegenaute
  • Alila Bangsar hotel by Neri&Hu Design and Research Office Image Credit: Pedro Pegenaute

On the ground floor the guest is guided along the building and into the lower lobby through regular intervals of the structural grid, which form the entry doors as well as a protective canopy. Upon entering, the concept of an ‘urban oasis’ is immediately presented through the lush tree plantings throughout the interiors.

Arriving at the upper lobby on level 42 the guest is welcomed into a double height space, a lantern open to the surrounding city which allows the maximum natural light.

  • Lower Lobby of Hotel Alila Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur Image Credit: Pedro Pegenaute
  • Hotel Alila Bangsar, Malaysia, Ground Floor Image Credit: Pedro Pegenaute
  • Upper Lobby with double height space Image Credit: Pedro Pegenaute
  • Upper Lobby with double height space Image Credit: Pedro Pegenaute
  • Upper Lobby on level 42 Image Credit: Pedro Pegenaute
  • Upper Lobby on level 42 Image Credit: Pedro Pegenaute

Adjacent to this is the swimming pool, connected by a theatrical grand staircase, which becomes a stage to see and be seen. In this moment the boundary between interior and exterior blur, while the structural grid breaks open to form a courtyard, around which all activities within the hotel are centered.

  • ‘Urban Oasis’ Image Credit: Pedro Pegenaute
  • ‘Urban Oasis’ Image Credit: Pedro Pegenaute
  • Swimming Pool Image Credit: Pedro Pegenaute
  • Open Exterior Courtyard Image Credit: Pedro Pegenaute
  • Open Exterior Courtyard Image Credit: Pedro Pegenaute

The public areas of the hotel center around the open exterior courtyard, spanning three stories high, defined by the regular grid of columns and beams which frames views of the stunning panorama but also protects the inserted courtyard from the crowd of the surrounding metropolis. The notion of landscape continuing in from exterior to interior, of nature being inserted into the architecture, is the key element which ties all the public spaces together and defines the urban oasis.

Located on the top two levels of the courtyard are the specialty restaurant, the cocktail bar and the outdoor rooftop bar. All the venues converge around the courtyard to activate this space in unexpected ways at all hours of the day. Custom furniture and crafted bronze details compliment the simple material palette of gray stone, white plaster and Balau wood.

  • Specialty Restaurant Interior Image Credit: Pedro Pegenaute
  • Specialty Restaurant Interior Image Credit: Pedro Pegenaute
  • Specialty Restaurant Interior Image Credit: Pedro Pegenaute
  • Cocktail Bar Interior Image Credit: Pedro Pegenaute

For the guestrooms, the concept was to define the layout with two different elements – ‘the hut’ and ‘the indoor courtyard’. Following the analogy of a small village the hut is the indoor space where the functions of daily living are enclosed. The bathroom is inserted as a floating box in the hut structure and allow for free-flowing circulation around the space.

The indoor courtyard at the end of the room, close to the window, becomes a private sanctuary to take in the beautiful view of Bangsar and beyond.

  • Lobby area, way to Guest Rooms Image Credit: Pedro Pegenaute
  • Guest Room Interior, Hotel Alila Bangsar Image Credit: Pedro Pegenaute
  • Guest Room Interior, Hotel Alila Bangsar Image Credit: Pedro Pegenaute
  • Guest Room Bathroom Image Credit: Pedro Pegenaute
  • View from Guest Room, Hotel Alila Bangsar Image Credit: Pedro Pegenaute
  • View from Guest Room, Hotel Alila Bangsar Image Credit: Pedro Pegenaute

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About Author

Jincy Iype

Jincy Iype

Iype is a trained architect, who often indulges in writing and amateur photography. She was a cinephile and a melophile even before she knew what those words meant. She is inclined towards architecture journalism, and can usually be found curled up reading a book, or cooking for therapeutic relief.

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