Paramit – Factory in the forest, Penang, Malaysia

Key design team: Design Unit Architects Sdn Bhd (architect), IEN Consultants (environmental engineering), Web Structures (structural engineers), Perunding Eagles Engineers Sdn Bhd (MEP), JLL (project manager), DK-QS (QS) and South Island Building (contractor). Design brief by Transsolar KlimaEngineering and client Paramit Corporation.

Paramit Corporation is focused on development and manufacturing in medical devices and life science instruments for the global market. The well-designed and state of the art newly built electronics manufacturing facility in Malaysia emerged from an architectural competition. From the outset, the client wanted an environmentally friendly, energy-efficient, and climate-responsive building with plenty of natural daylight. The winning architect proposed that ‘Forest’ was to be a cardinal design element, for the benefit of macro- and microclimate as well as people's well-being.

The office and the courtyard are shaded by a slatted canopy that effectively protects from the tropical sun during the hottest part of the day. The roof gardens can be visited from the offices. The access to the buildings lead through a landscaped courtyard, with an overarching bridge connecting the office and production space.

In the factory, floor-to-ceiling glazing allows views into the landscape, protected from too much sun by free-standing concrete slats and roof louvers. Thanks to cooling via the radiant cooling system in the floor combined with modern air conditioning technology, energy consumption is almost half that of a conventional facility of the same size.

The skylights were optimized in size and position and daylight measurements in operation show what the simulations predicted: throughout the factory a uniformly daylit working environment without glare is achieved all year round. Dimmable, daylight-dependent LED lighting and individual workplace lighting always ensure the required light level in an energy-efficient manner.

The “factory in the forest” is now documented in a book by Nizar Musa:
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