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Enabling Striation, Leave a Gap

Part 2 Project 1998
Christopher Lee
Architectural Association London | UK
Enabling Striation

Cyberjaya is a development subjected on a tabula rasa site 30km from Kuala Lumpur in the Multimedia Super Corridor strip [54km x 15km], Malaysia's ambitious plans for its own Silicon Valley.

Cyberjaya will be the catalyst city to initiate MSC. The recent currency crisis left behind vast infrastructure without the necessary built up program to initiate the intended aim.


The ambition of the project is to revive the collapsed masterplan on a tabula rasa site without projecting any final visions within an uncertain investment climate and to critically readdress the master planning in urban growth. The project will be presented to the developers of Cyberjaya, Cyberview Sdn. Bhd.


Through the reading of Deleuze's the Smooth and The Striated, observations and analysis are carried out on the paintings by Malaysian painter Ibrahim Hussein, instant programs and infrastructural striation in KL city and the developer's masterplan.

2 Strategy: 2 scales

2 strategies at two different scales are adopted to revive the masterplan.

The first strategy, at a scale of 1: 10 000 involves compacting the masterplan from an area of 7km x 4km to an area of 2km x 4km and reactivating the development within 3 categories of program; 1. Instant/feed-on program. This incrementally builds up the fabric through striation and addition in time.

Strategy 2: Concentrated Striation

The slgSTOP consists of Instant and Feed-on program striating along infrastructural nodes. The organisation of this insertion relates to the natural movement induced by the topography of the sloppy site and level of exposure within the site. Through the manipulation of these parameters, movement and program occupation are choreographed to give maximum returns per square metre.

Differential articulation of surfaces defines programmatic organisation. Strategies of ownership, derived from the observation of sub-letting in shophouses in Kuala Lumpur is adopted here, whereby the owner assumes the role of planner and program organiser.

Strategy 1: Compaction and Intensification

Similar parameters from the smaller scale is in the area of compaction. A maximum activated striation is proposed with the 3 programmatic categories. This is adopted through the use of the Flip Grid whereby infrastructural and program are incorporated as one. This leaves behind gaps.

This striation and gap is regulated through the Gap Ratio. As opposed to the conventional Plot Ratio, which leaves behind empty plots surrounded by infrastructure, the Gap Ratio allows Gaps for every insertion made and at the same time being able to control height, density and foot print.

A series of scenarios of development is made available, depending on the level of available investment, by varying the Gap Ratio. Regardless of any level of investment, every scenario presents itself as a complete system that is able to function and at the same time possessing gaps for future insertion and addition.


Thus the process of striation is additive in process, through necessity without a predetermined form or result. It is concentrated, incorporated and resist to occupy and erase vast amount of land, leaving behind an enabling tabula rasa that can absorb other subsequent system by the virtue of its emptiness.
Christopher Lee

The primary thesis of the project is a critical revision of urban design based on master planning. Masterplans regulate the building up of urban sites towards a projected completion and hence are mostly incapable to function before completion or to absorb change.

As a consequence of this years financial crisis in South-east Asia, all grand masterplans in Kuala Lumpur have been stopped half way through the development of extra-large sites, leaving behind areas with vast infrastructures without the necessary built up of urban fabric.
The Cyberjaya masterplan has not been stopped, in spite of the fact that most investors have bailed out and left.
Chris Lee's unfolds an alternative and incremental development of the Cyberjaya site in KL, on the basis of two interrelated strategies:

1. compaction:

A top-down strategy which effects the larger scale of the site by compacting the areas of remaining investment and the related infrastructures, to cover a much smaller area and leave as much as possible to an area of the site unbuilt and available for future developments.

2. local insertion

A bottom-up strategy of networked small scale building operation, which incrementally grows and hence is able to react to economic conditions and available for future developments.

The project employs data from Cyberjaya's "tabula-rasa" site that is topography, infrastructure and projected programmes to enable an open future development of the site, showcased in a set of possible scenarios.

The criteria for the small-scale insertions are similar to the above. This development is informed by a research on Kuala Lumpur's feed-on programmes (i.e. markets in the narrow streets that live of the direct spatial proximity to the public infrastructure). In reverse of the order of emergence (1. city fabric and infrastructure, 2. feed-on programme) the project proposes initial insertions of feed-on programmes and infrastructure from which the urban fabric begins to unfold.

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