Let’s start with a not so fun fact, did you know that it takes just about 30 seconds for 13 hectares of rainforest to disappear? At the rapid rate it is going, perhaps there won’t even be a forest left for us to tear down in 100 years.
Deforestation has been named as one of the key problems in today’s world and Malaysia has also been cited as one of the many countries with the highest rate for it. Yikes!!!
Today, about 59.5% of Malaysia’s total land area is covered with forest. Although all is still not lost, the country is developing at a rapid rate.
In 1998, the country ventured into one of its biggest development projects of the century, the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). The airport site spans over 100 square kilometres of land and is one of the world’s largest airport sites.
As the site took a lot of land, the government paid special attention to the design of the building so that it may conserve the natural habitat surrounding it.
This is where the architect, Kisho Kurokawa comes into the picture. Kurokawa had the idea for a symbiotic relationship between architecture and the forest. For Kurokawa, the close relationship with nature is an essential part of the Asian trait.
Kurokawa’s “Airport in the Forest, Forest in the Airport” concept is most visible through his design in the main terminal building and the satellite building. The infrastructure was designed accounting for its ecological benefits.
Yet the most impressive part of the design was having a jungle in the middle of a satellite building. A rainforest was transplanted from the jungles of Sepang. The mini forest is home to an impressive variation of trees such as the Medang, Kelat, Tukas and Penaga lilin tree that can be commonly found in the jungles of Malaysia.
KLIA’s ecological friendly design even won them an award in 2004. The airport was recognized by Green Globe and received the Green Globe Certificate 21. They were the first and only airport to receive the award. And to top it all off, they even manage to hold the title for 5 years in a row. In 2012, KLIA was awarded the Platinum status in EarthCheck Benchmarked Airport global certification.
KLIA is the best example of Malaysia’s effort in conserving nature while also undergoing development. It embraces the relationship between nature and humans. So, if you are ever flying into KLIA, take a walk around the airport. Marvel at the spectacular innovative design and the lush greeneries inside the airport compounds. I promise that you will be impressed. Plus, to walk around the KLIA Jungle Boardwalk is totally free.