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This mod­i­fied dou­ble story house by Se­shan De­sign is a cool and ex­tremely functional home for a gamer and his young fam­ily.

The typ­i­cal dou­ble-storey link house found in the end­less blocks of sub­urbs across the Klang Val­ley ceases to be just one of many in the hands of the de­sign­ers at Se­shan De­sign. After all, those be­hind the prac­tice have a knack for ac­com­mo­dat­ing own­ers’ unique needs de­spite limited en­velopes. The client for this par­tic­u­lar project is an old fam­ily friend of ar­chi­tect Ramesh Se­shan, who was so im­pressed with his work on their pre­vi­ous link house projects that they wanted their new abode to un­dergo a sim­i­lar trans­for­ma­tion. “This house is a hy­brid of our Gas­ing In­dah and Har­ta­mas projects, but with added re­quire­ments, of course. The hus­band is into fast cars, rac­ing, scale mod­el­ing, and BBQs. And so, the house was de­signed for en­ter­tain­ing. A pri­vate man cave pod, sus­pended on the top of the house, ended up look­ing like a Mecha from some Ja­panese An­ime, which is why we call it the “Gun­dam House!” ex­plains Se­shan.

The pro­gram of the house was in­verted: the bed­rooms were re­lo­cated to the ground floor, and the liv­ing spa­ces above. The ground floor, usu­ally oc­cu­pied by pub­lic places, now com­prised of a guest room at the front and the mas­ter bed­room in the rear. To avoid the prob­lem of too lit­tle light­ing, both bed­rooms open up to a cen­tral court­yard, which is open to the floor above with a sky­light right at the top. A small util­ity room with the wash­ing ma­chine and dryer is also lo­cated ad­ja­cent to this court­yard. Says Ramesh: “This court­yard is cov­ered by a translu­cent glass roof above, so it al­lows light and heat in, but ob­scures the view in from above. The mas­ter bed­room and bath­room also open up to a small court­yard at the rear of the house. This rear court­yard is screened off and se­cured from the back lane by a vent block wall on the ground floor, and con­tin­ues into a two-storey high ex­panded me­tal cage right to the top which com­pletely se­cures the rear of the house.”

To ac­cess the pub­lic area, a main stair­way at the en­trance leads guests right up to the first floor. This straight long flight of stairs also al­lows for ef­fi­cient stor­age di­rectly be­low it. “The main spa­ces of the house ac­tu­ally be­gin on the first floor. The first floor ap­pears large and airy, and can be opened fully from the front to the rear. The front of the house is the liv­ing space, which opens up into a huge out­door ter­race – the car porch roof. The din­ing room on this first-floor ter­race fa­cil­i­tates par­ties and the client’s reg­u­lar BBQs. We sep­a­rated the open kitchen from the liv­ing space with a

court­yard, while the rear of the house opens up to a flat roof in the rear. This is the ser­vice zone for the air­con out­door units, and also the per­fect plat­form for a herb gar­den di­rectly be­hind the kitchen,” says Se­shan.

While the ex­panse of space is im­pres­sive, es­pe­cially in a mid­block ter­race house, the high­light of this space is un­de­ni­ably what Se­shan calls the ‘Gun­dam drop­ship’ mez­za­nine hang­ing over the kitchen. “Steel stairs lead up to this alien space­craft, which has a fairly low ceil­ing. In it lies the owner’s mas­sive col­lec­tion of un­opened Gun­dam ro­bot (and other) kits, dis­play cases for fin­ished models, and a work desk for the scale mod­el­ling and air­brush­ing work. A vir­tual race car-sim­u­la­tor takes the prime cen­tre space in this pod. We also added an en-suite bath­room so the pod could also be used as a guest room. A few guests have, in fact, lodged here on the fold­able daybed that they man­aged to squeeze in as well. The idea is this: when there is a func­tion, the ladies can keep busy in the kitchen and din­ing ter­race be­low while the men can keep busy “play­ing” up in the pod, but with a clear line of sight to each other,” laughs Se­shan.

As with Se­shan’s pre­vi­ous projects, the seem­ingly small house ap­pears much larger than it is. Se­shan puts it down to the open­ness, and the clear line of sight from the top pod all the way down to the en­trance and court­yard be­low. “This is the key fac­tor in de­sign­ing small spa­ces: con­tin­u­ous line of sight (and a lot of nat­u­ral light!). It en­sures that the spa­ces do not feel claus­tro­pho­bic and gives the per­cep­tion that the spa­ces are much larger than they ac­tu­ally are. The cen­tral court­yard with all spa­ces open­ing to the front and rear of the house at both lev­els en­sures the house has suf­fi­cient cross ven­ti­la­tion as well,” con­cludes Se­shan. But even the best-laid plans can go awry as Se­shan adds: “The clients sur­prised every­one (in­clud­ing them­selves) with their first child, who was born just be­fore the house was com­pleted, so we all ended up fran­ti­cally adding in child-safe fea­tures just be­fore han­dover!”

LEFT The fa­cade of the dou­ble story link house is unas­sum­ing although the fu­tur­is­tic font hints at the cool­ness within. OP­PO­SITE RIGHT The mez­za­nine is made to look like a drop­ship from Gun­dam float­ing over the liv­ing space on the 1st floor, it con­tains the “man-cave” and games room for the hus­band. LEFT Neat plots of green­ery can be found through­out the house to soften the hard fin­ishes

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