Site Nestled at the old industrial district of Section 13, Petaling Jaya, Glad Tidings Vision Centre (GTVC) is a visual respite from its dour surroundings. It is strategically located amidst established and flourishing neighbourhoods, which are predominantly residential.
Brief The brief called for a revamp and upgrade of the old church facilities due to the growing congregation. The new building comprises a Multipurpose Hall, a garden chapel (for wedding, water baptism, prayer and meditation, and outdoor functions), prayer halls, prayer chapel, function rooms for meetings and seminars, and car parking facilities.
Design Concept The 23,125-square metre edifice is envisioned as an iconic landmark created as a genius loci set in a concrete jungle of placelessness, with its white shell-like roof engulfing the site. Its monumental form is juxtaposed with carefully wrought materials and finishes on a more accessible human scale.
Rising from a two-storey “solid rock base”, concrete buttresses reinforce the three-storey mass, which is crowned by a carapace-like, double curved standing seam roof on a site area of 17,556 square metres. The exterior of GTVC has naturally rendered finishes – off-form concrete walls, cement plastered walls and unplastered common clay brickwork. These raw unfinished surfaces intertwine with three-dimensional concrete chevron patterns on the walls, and concrete fins at the car park levels.
Entrance and Circulation The canopy roof extends from the main building, skirting the administrative block, and tapers towards the entrance to create a visual and physical navigator that directs members into the new prayer halls. Supported by angled round steel columns, the orange skeletal underbelly of the metal roof provides a warm ambience against the ubiquitous raw concrete surfaces.
The main lobby staircase linking its five storeys – LG1, LG2, Ground Level, Level 1 and Level 2 – is a spiralling and turning masonry ensconced within exposed brick walls and glass enclosure. The stairwell has a sweeping view of the neighbourhood with an oculus at the 2nd floor lobby. Traversing within GTVC is never monotonous; polished tiles and unplastered brick wall corridors extend to spacious triple-volume foyer that features an ephemeral cross created when light filters through its linear slits, and naturally lit lobbies with views.
Courtyard The garden chapel is created as courtyard with brick paved grounds for outdoor functions. A tented metal roof structure serves as the wedding chapel on one end and a concaved vessel sculptured as an immersion pool for baptism on the other. Beyond the baptism pool, appended to the stairwell is a prominent white crucifix fashioned out of steel I-beams. This transitional space is caught between the old and the new; the refurbished existing administrative block and the unfinished aesthetic of GTVC, both structures congregated to form and embrace the courtyard.
From the courtyard below its roof, the new building has five glass panels outlined by symbolic fish form on the brick wall. What seems to be rather random and meaningless composition is in actual fact the configuration of the letters “J” and “C” in Braille.
Multipurpose Hall The Multipurpose Hall exploits the cavernous convex underside of the roof as the ceiling is moulded into the bellying volume and imbricated with acoustic ceiling panels. The acoustically treated space, which has a stage and lobby, can fit 1,200 persons in auditorium arrangement and 800 for banquet seating. Other ancillary facilities include a catering kitchen, service corridor and changing rooms. The hall also doubles as a sports complex for badminton, basketball, netball, futsal and gym.
Prayer Halls The prayer halls are accessible via the main entrance on the ground level. The capacious reception area continues into a wide corridor that allows congregations from the three flanking halls to spill onto and intermingle with much ease. Hall 1 that accommodates up to 600 pax boasts a double-volume space blessed with natural daylight through series of clerestory windows. Prayer Halls 2 and 3 are single volume spaces that fit 430 and 300 persons respectively. Despite the modern outlook, technology, and comforts, the acoustically primed halls adhere to the traditional naves, aisles and bema configuration. Every hall has an attached parent room.
Prayer Chapel Located at the highest level of the building, the cloistered chapel is designed for 24/7 prayer sessions. There are 12 prayer cubicles dedicated to solitary praying. Backed by a solid timber panelled wall in deep stained mahogany in contrast with the fairer kekatong timber strip of the floor, the chapel is intended to exude a raw yet cosy atmosphere.
Ancillary Facilities Pre-function area is an integral part of the community centre. Ample space has been allotted to facilitate a wide range of activities. Smaller function rooms for flexible use are also available. These rooms can be used as meeting rooms, book/gift shops, and offices. In support to these are pantries for office and administrative use located near the reception area on the ground floor, and on the second floor. The naturally ventilated car park located on lower ground 1 and 2 has a capacity of 419 lots.