The primary mission for Sasaki's master plan has been to leverage the academic excellence and mission-oriented research of Universiti Teknologi Petronas' existing campus (designed by Foster & Partners) to create a new, innovative 21st century R&D Cluster. Sasaki's master plan considered the significant interdisciplinary developments that are happening in academic and private industry partnerships around the globe. The master plan, together with an economic development plan led by Tim Gocher (chairman of the Dolma Fund) develops a strategy that recognizes best practices from some of the world's most successful university-anchored research districts—selectively applying it to the strategy, business models, and implementation plan for UTP's Research Cluster.
Sasaki's master plan integrates and articulates public spaces and buildings that are created and configured to facilitate interaction and collaboration. The importance of the quality and interrelationship of design of the public realm, the adjacencies of different programs and uses, and the underlying digital connectivity and accessibility throughout the campus are combined in the master plan. Streets, buildings, sidewalks, and parks have been considered for their potential to become "living laboratories," where ongoing innovation and invention such as renewable energies, new modes of transportation, and new technologies, can be displayed and shared. As the underpinning to the plan, Sasaki developed a comprehensive sustainability strategy that incorporates buildings, infrastructure, and landscape.
At the point of transition between the Foster-designed campus and the new district is a dynamic mixed-use hub, made up of business centers, a hotel, exhibition & event center, recreation, retail, and restaurants—a catalytic place where academia and private industry can engage and collaborate.
The UTP R&D Cluster provides a vision for a new and unique district that builds on the distinctive identity of the university, maximizing the opportunity for new strategic industrial partnerships, and balances the extraordinary environmental setting of the site.