When looking to create comfortable, contemporary residences it pays to keep a careful eye on the past. A thoroughly modern home can still make good use of traditional architectural features that have been tried and tested in the same climate for hundreds of years.
This residence, by architect Kun Lim, uses two design elements more often associated with classic Malaysian kampong village homes. First, a double facade provides sun shelter for the interior from shutters positioned on the glassless outer face much like the covered and fringed verandas of local village houses. Second, the home is partially set on stilts another kampong-house feature with a swimming pool tucked partly underneath. This introduces cross ventilation beneath the residence, an age-old form of air conditioning.
The stilts and outer facade were also design responses to a constricted site, says Lim.
"The house could only extend to within six metres of the edge of the property due to council constraints, but the outer facade allowed us to increase the apparent size of the house without breaking any bylaws," he says. "Similarly, space constraints meant the only place to easily locate the pool was partly under the house, which was another reason to raise the building on stilts. This has the added advantage of allowing breezes to blow across the surface of the cold pool water before flowing into the home's interior."
The design of the house is also a response to space allocation in other ways. In the spirit of sustainable development, the sloping corner site was embraced rather than excavated, which kept the need for earth cutting to a minimum. Essentially the house is dug into the hill on one side and supported by stilts on the other, enabling the architect to create vast uninterrupted open-plan living spaces.