Embracing Climate Resilient Design at The Exchange TRX

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1 Sep 2021

The Exchange TRX in Kuala Lumpur incorporates climate resilient and adaptable features in its design, construction and future operations.

Stuart Mendel

Climate change is the defining crisis of our time and it’s clear that business as usual is not good enough. The Covid-19 pandemic that has gripped us over the past year has inevitably enabled our natural environment to hit the reset button.

Global air pollution levels saw a significant reduction trend, with carbon monoxide emissions reduced by more than 50%. Moreover, noise level has reduced by between 35% to 68% across the world while sewage and industrial effluents in rivers have recorded a 500% decrease. These unintended advantages offer unprecedented insights into the dynamics of our built environments, the increased awareness of which, can lead to viable paths for sustainable development.

What does this mean for the built environment and its relevance in managing climate change?

With our global development pipeline of A$110 billion focused on urban regeneration projects across major cities in the Americas, Australia, Europe and Asia, the places we create now will exist well beyond 2050. To avoid catastrophic environmental and social impacts to our society, it is crucial to ensure that the places we create are designed to be resilient, adaptable and sustainable.

The Exchange TRX is an experiential lifestyle destination and thriving world class sustainable precinct at the heart of the city defining Tun Razak Exchange.

Strategically located within an integrated 70-acre development that is poised to be Kuala Lumpur’s new Central Business District and Malaysia’s International Financial District, The Exchange TRX is Lendlease’s largest development in Asia and our opportunity to demonstrate our leadership in creating spaces that are climate resilient, adaptable and allow the people of Kuala Lumpur to continue to thrive and prosper in a changing world.

Our responsibility is to continuously improve operations and integration of climate resilient strategies which help reduce the vulnerability of the urban environment impacted by climate change. As a strategic partner to the government and industry players, we share our best practices through stakeholder engagements and industry sharing platforms e.g. our Climate Resilience Report on The Exchange TRX and learnings on TCFD (Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures) are freely shared to help raise industry awareness and set new benchmarks.

In our construction business in Malaysia, we have been recognised for our leadership in safety and sustainability focusing on the design and delivery of healthy and sustainable buildings, leveraging digital solutions and piloting sustainable building materials to raise industry benchmarks. This is evident in our founding membership of the Green Building Council in Malaysia.

Through sustainability, we play a crucial role in ensuring our gateway cities attract industry, investment and talent needed to live up to this ‘liveability’ status, which is a key goal for the Greater KL Development Plan. 

Resilience as a long-term design principle to address the evolution of the built environment

As part of our planning and design for The Exchange TRX, we have integrated climate resilience and community adaptation into our design, construction and future asset operations, incorporating features to reduce the vulnerability of The Exchange TRX to climate changes and increasing the adaptive capacity and resilience of its community. 

The CCAR (Climate Change Action and Resilience Plan) fits within the broader Lendlease Sustainability Framework which responds to the need to plan for future generations by integrating both environmental and social focus into every part of the business.   

The residences, hotel and office façades have been designed above industry standard with high-performance glazing to reduce solar penetration into the buildings. Building façades feature well-sealed envelopes to minimise air quality issues and improve the passive energy performance of the building. The Exchange TRX and its assets are targeting to reduce potable water demand by 50%, through the selection of water efficiency measures, maximising onsite rainwater retention and the use of water recycling systems to recover over 80% of wastewater. The Exchange TRX has adopted necessary measures to protect against inundation under flood modelling during the lifetime of the development e.g. with ramps with humps at all ingress points and dewatering pumps within the basement acting as additional measures to mitigate flood concerns. 

The 10-acre TRX City Park is a world class public realm.

Social connectivity strengthens an overall sense of belonging, creating communities that thrive

In addition to climate resilience, establishing an interconnected resilient community underpins our approach in designing The Exchange TRX. Inspired by human interaction and evolving urban design best practices, Lendlease’s approach to placemaking at The Exchange TRX engages stakeholders through a series of initiatives that foster vibrancy and diversity. These include spaces such as pedestrian friendly footpaths, green spaces and recreation areas that enable the transition from ‘a sense of space to a sense of place’.   

At the heart of the community is the TRX City Park. Designed as a world class public realm, this activated rooftop park will be an event-ready destination for arts and cultural celebrations as well as a space for sporting and outdoor activities that promote health and wellbeing and family-oriented and mixed-age activities.

The future adaptation and resilience of our developments consist of two main elements – the built environment and its community. It is the combination of these two elements and how they interact that will create strong levels of resilience. 

Our work at The Exchange TRX is representative of our overarching goal of enhancing the sustainable design, construction and operational practices as well as community adaptability in Malaysia. The success of any development relies on the coming together of all components involved to deliver on its vision and we are proud of The Exchange TRX’s role as an exemplar destination of public-private partnership for sustainable development.