BIG, MVRDV, Foster + Partners and more shortlisted to design artificial islands in Malaysia

Island Time

BIG, MVRDV, Foster + Partners and more shortlisted to design artificial islands in Malaysia

International design teams are competing to create a master plan for three artifical islands off the coast of Penang. (Roberto Reposo/Unsplash)

Five heavy-hitting international teams have been shortlisted in a competition to design a master plan for a network of new islands off the coast of Penang, Malaysia. Foster + Partners, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), and MVRDV are among those left in the running out of 124 initial entries. 

Organized by the Malaysian Institute of Architects Northern Chapter and the Penang Government, the project will result in the construction of a 4,500-acre site made from reclaimed earth—split into three islands—located just south of the Penang International Airport. Known as the Penang South Islands Project (PSI), the positioning of the future islands is key as the government aims to spur economic development in the area ahead of 2030, while also easing traffic congestion in Penang. The new islands will also serve as spaces for industrial manufacturing and technological growth, incorporating smart city and smart park features, according to The Star.

Black and white screen capture of Penang Island and outline of future islands
The three islands will be set off the coast of another island—Penang on Malaysia’s northwestern coast. (Courtesy PSI)

Each of the following teams will be given an honorarium of $125,000 for their design work. Competition organizers are expected to select a final winner in early February.

– BIG and Hijjas Architects + Planners with Rambøll and Ernst and Young;

– Foster + Partners and GDP Architects with WSP (U.K.), Grant Associates, Urban DNA, and Pragma;

– MVRDV and Alm Architects with Mobility in Chain, Deltares, Transsolar, and Rebel Group;

Tekuma Frenchman and Eowon Architects with Level Agency for Instructure, The Pearl River Hydraulic Research Institute, and Skymind AI Berhad

UNStudio and Architects 61 with Strelka KB,  schlaich bergermann partner, and more