The Fennel

RT+Q Architects with YTL Design Group and Alexis Mariadass

The Fennel is a combined product of the social care of YTL Land and the environmental vision of Dato Victor Yeoh Seok Kian. Comprising four towers and a vehicular parking podium, The Fennel is an attempt to bridge disparate societies in Sentul, to mend urban infrastructure, and to provide affordable housing to a rejuvenated urban community 5km north of the Kuala Lumpur city centre. The Fennel is the most recent chapter in YTL’s effort to develop Sentul East, following hot on the heels of The Capers on the adjacent plot.

The Fennel’s 1,000-odd apartments, spread over four 42-storey towers, all enjoy distant views, sunshine, naturally ventilated living spaces and perhaps most importantly a lush and natural landscape setting. Most unprecedented is the free access to the two Olympic-length swimming pools suspended dramatically over two spacious vehicular courtyards. On the reconstituted and elevated ground plane of the podium, residents enjoy a series of conveniences, public rooms, and child-friendly spaces in an environment free from street pollution and urban vehicular hazards.

The architecture of The Fennel is striking. Its form, like the neighbouring Capers, meanders vertically through the urban context of Sentul East. Its zigzag form is a departure from the other residential towers in the precinct. The bold form was inspired by the grassland that once grew freely on the site. Lalang, a sub-tropical long grass, used to billow in the winds here.

The towers of The Fennel are visible from all quarters of Kuala Lumpur and stand as a suburban counterpoint to the Petronas Towers to the south of them. The symmetrical design of the zig-zagging forms defines useful public spaces and ‘courtyards’ up in the sky. Easily accessible to residents, these landscaped sky terraces foster communities and neighbourliness amongst residents. The form of the towers generates good air circulation throughout their height. As hot air rises, a vertical wind-tunnel effect occurs.

There is a hope that The Fennel will invigorate growth and transformation in Sentul East. The streets and sidewalks around the development have been improved and are now pedestrian friendly. Two train stations are within walking distance and traffic has been reorganised to provide direct and simple access to the freeways. It is the vision of YTL that Sentul continues to recover the glory of its bygone days, when it was the railway hub of the city.

Photography: Masano Kawana