During the 18th century, spice attracted both traders and pirates to Penang, an island harbor for ships on the Strait of Malacca in Malaysia. Now, government officials are hoping that 21st-century vanguard architecture and luxurious beachfront resorts will once again draw international visitors to the island—this time, investors and tourists. To aid in the effort, municipal authorities have tapped Asymptote Architecture to design a $7 billion, 256-acre mixed-use complex called Penang Global City Center (PGCC).
Lise Anne Couture and Hani Rashid, principals of the New York–based architecture firm, unveiled their design for the nearly 11-million-square-foot PGCC development in September. Their project takes the form of two sinuous, 60-story steel-and-glass-clad towers that reach skyward from a stagelike plinth. The towers will house luxury residential units and five-star hotels; the plinth will function as a public plaza and contain retail, a performing arts center, and a convention center.