Red Hill Gallery


The journey to site began in an arduous adventure on foot at the edge of a small tropical town. In a bewildered quest to locate the site boundary within a hinterland, the lead architect Cherng Yih Lee trekked through acres of abandoned oil palm plantations and on what seemed to be one of the few remaining grasslands for a dairy farm in the locality.

前往現場的旅程始於一個熱帶小鎮邊緣的徒步艱難冒險。在一次令人費解的尋找內陸地區邊界的探索中,首席建築師Cherng Yih Lee徒步穿越了數英畝廢棄的油棕櫚種植園,並徒步穿越了當地為數不多的奶牛場剩餘的草地之一。

The exact location of site remained unidentified on the first day as the crew felt disoriented amidst large, undulating hills within an agricultural landscape that will soon disappear as development plans for urban housing in the area has been set in motion.


Whilst studying the site, an unusual landscape pattern emerged. The prevailing palm oil trees had formed a border around an area of what was later known to be a cluster of rubber trees preserved during the land-clearing works. This incident inspired the ensuing design process.


The design of a human experience preceded designing the actual building. This is a journey in which one discovers a forgotten place. The path to the gallery is found at one end of the preserved rubber forest as visitors are encouraged to find their way through the trees on a winding and elevated metal platform. Due to the building’s striking red facade, one can always vaguely see it behind the forest. However, its image is never certain nor fully revealed. Entering the forest path is akin to a entering a dark cave. Conversely, one sees a huge white cave when walking into the building’s gallery.


Across different functional areas, the scale of space changes dramatically from one end of the building to the other as ceilings rise and fall above the head, and as walls fold in and out at various places, framing fragmented views of the outside at angles. A zig-zag corridor leading to an internal courtyard garden that serves as a central point to the office space is all part of a designed journey that mimics the experience of searching for a destination in a forest.


As one leaves the site southward, the building is fully revealed with the forest behind it. Its form is a reminiscence of compressed, undulating hills that slope towards the ground, disregarding any sense of scale.



Project Information

Project Name: Red Hill Gallery

Location: Seremban, Malaysia

Architect Office: MOA Architects + Formzero

Lead Architect:Cherng Yih Lee

Completion Year: 2018 

Area:1,160 m²

Photographer:Ronson Lee from Twins Photography

formzero / lee cherng yih

Lee Cherng Yih (Kuala Lumpur, b.1978) received his architecture degree from RMIT University, Melbourne in 2002. After spending a decade working in Shanghai, London and Kuala Lumpur, Cherng Yih founded Formzero in 2012, an architectural research studio injected with the ideology of reengaging the architecture with tropical landscape in the urban context. His design approach often focuses on challenging the conventional architectural typologies and the boundaries of urban realm. formzero is also served as a think tank that runs within MOA Architects in Kuala Lumpur.

2002 graduated from RMIT University, Australia
2011 2nd prize winner of Academy Science Malaysia competition
2012 founded Formzero

2014 teach at Taylor’s University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2016 joined MOA Architects as think tank unit
2017 Networked Garden joint winner of Master Builders Association Malaysia competition
2018 Window House awarded Commendation by PAM Award (Malaysia Architect Association)

2019  Planter Box House winner of FuturArc Green Leadership 2019 award

Public lecture / talk:

Speaker of PAM Design Lecturer Series in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Speaker of Construe and Construct 9 at National University of Singapore
Speaker of Future Thinker at Taylor’s University, Malaysia

Speaker of PAMSC Design Lecturer Series in Kuching, Malaysia

Speaker of AA Asia Book Launch, Singapore

Discourse Panelist at MIID Reka Conference, Malaysia

Panelist at Lunch Meet by DOMA Initiative, Malaysia

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