The High Water project is a proposal for Malaysia’s Prototype for a flood proof building. High Water contains two cores known as the Eco-Cell, placed as a wet-core for its individual building typology (1. Office tower) (2. Laboratory). The Eco-Cell channels rain water from the sky courtyards and terraces into the middle which creates a loop filtered through bio-filtration from top to bottom where it’s cleaned and harvested for usage. Eco-Cell takes inspiration from the Greek House for its rainwater harvesting openings through the compluvium (opening) and impluvium, it creates a central atrium extending to the sky allows for natural ventilation through stack effect as well as natural lighting which allows for growth of greenery in deep spaces.



High Water has a continuous water loop with the aim for water retention acting as an “urban reservoir”. Through mitigation strategies, flood and rainwater is collected from both ground and sky courtyards. During flood, water is first collected in the well tank located in the basement and pumped up over the laboratory block which has a natural wetland filter over the rear of High Water flowing downwards from 7th floor to basement through stages (collection – sedimentation – retention – reverse osmosis) when cleaned will be circulated again in a loop. Total retention of liquid circulated in High Water is 1,351,720 gallons of liquid which in the case of drought, is able to be used for approx. 74 days.

The form is inspired by the ripples and flow of water. The core of the office block ripples outwards with the open office sandwiched between the sky courtyard and the Eco-Cell. Through extensive green strategies implemented through courtyards and green roofs, High Water has a green area of 104% which is able to harvest rain water for usage (irrigation, flushing, and water quality analysis). The Water Walk Bridge located outside High Water is a homage to the existing pathway of the site. The bridge acts also as a Water Entry Strategy where it is raised up with openings to the well tank beneath. High Water promotes collaborative interactions through open plan offices, linear planning which is connected by loops as well as interaction for a common cause of saving the environment.

Together with Flood Water and Rain Water Harvesting, an overall estimation of 1,351,720 gallons of liquid is circulated within the building during a flood calamity which equates to 74 days of water usage during a drought season.

High Water targets two major design approach which first targets the lower levels through flood mitigation strategies, and secondly higher level spaces to filter and retain water, hence the name of High Water - bringing water up.

The Water Walk Bridge is located infront of High Water. It acts as an interaction platform for both building blocks. The Water Walk Bridge is a homage to the existing site where a dirt pathway was made by people constantly moving illegally through the site to get to the IOI Shopping Mall which is on the other end. This desired path is retained and redesigned being raised up higher as a safety measure for escaping floods.

Beneath the Water Walk Bridge is the “flood entry system” where water infiltrates the gaps beneath the bridge being collected first in the Well-Basin located in the basement, then pumped up to be filtered and retained.

If there’s overflow, “Water Stops” which are lighting poles & Interactive Water Displays will pump excess water up to be stored in retainment pods above the ground.

Through extensive green strategies implemented through courtyards and green roofs, the High Water project together with its aim of becoming Malaysia’s prototype for a flood-proof building is able to recycle flood and rain water to be re-used for the building’s purposes (e.g. Irrigation, flushing, filtration, water quality analysis and providing a flood free zone for the located site in Bandar Puchong Jaya).

The main intention for High Water is to retain flood water for as long as possible during the events of flood. With a 104% Green Area, High Water is able to save costs of water for approx. RM10,000 a month. High Water has the capability of becoming an oasis within the urban city of Kuala Lumpur where massive concrete buildings and impervious surfaces are being built every day with little to no consideration of the environment.


High Water by Wilson Tan Xern Ee in Malaysia won the WA Award Cycle 33. Please find below the WA Award poster for this project.

Downloaded 73 times.


Wilson Tan Xern Ee

Favorited 2 times