SLOPING BEAUTY

In­door and out­door spa­ces blend seam­lessly in this house which show­cases how beau­ti­ful and mod­ern tim­ber can look when skil­fully de­ployed.

Home & Decor (Malaysia) - - CONTENTS -

In­door and out­door spa­ces blend seam­lessly in this house which show­cases how beau­ti­ful and mod­ern tim­ber can look when skil­fully de­ployed.

Call it chem­istry, or sim­ply be­ing on the same wave­length, but when you work with some­one with sim­i­lar pas­sions, it cre­ates a pos­i­tive syn­ergy. This was what hap­pened when Choo Gim Wah of Choo Gim Wah Ar­chi­tect met Gallen Yap about four years ago. Yap, a 35-year-old busi­ness­man with a fam­ily of 3 runs a com­pany which sup­plies var­i­ous types of tim­ber fin­ishes. When Yap met Choo to talk about the pos­si­bil­ity of de­sign­ing a house for him­self and his fam­ily, Yap also ex­pressed how he would like to ex­plore the cre­ative use of tim­ber in his home, some­thing which is coin­ci­den­tally in line with the ar­chi­tect's love for the ma­te­rial.

Lo­cated in the af­flu­ent sub­urb of Kayan­gan Heights, the site was un­de­ni­ably beau­ti­ful. How­ever, the task was not with­out its chal­lenges as the site con­sisted of a jun­gle with a gentle slope up of ap­prox­i­mately 25 de­grees, with an ad­ja­cent vir­gin for­est area which pro­vided the build­ing with a com­pli­men­tary lush for­est view. Given the gen­er­ous land size of 7,600 sqf com­bined with added com­pli­ca­tions of a slope, Choo ex­plains that it was ex­tremely chal­leng­ing to de­sign with or­tho­dox spa­tial plan­ning in mind. How­ever, the ar­chi­tect did not al­low this to get in the way of cre­at­ing the most liv­able space he could man­age based on the sur­round­ing con­text.

Choo’s solution was to stack the spa­ces in­stead of ad­her­ing to a lin­ear pro­gram. He de­cided to lo­cate the main spa­ces like the liv­ing, din­ing, dry and wet kitchens on the first floor, which left the ground floor free to ac­com­mo­date an en-suite guest room and enough space for six cars. The first floor was de­signed with an open plan con­cept, in­cor­po­rat­ing a 2-storey void for both liv­ing and din­ing com­bined. To make the most of the lush sur­round­ings, the liv­ing and din­ing ar­eas were built to open up to a tim­ber deck and a swim­ming pool out­side, com­bin­ing the best of in­door and out­door spa­ces while

per­mit­ting am­ple en­joy­ment of the pool and its view. All three floors are con­nected via a large yet light­weight stair­case adopt­ing steel, tim­ber, and glass con­struc­tion, with the stair­well also pro­vid­ing each level with lots of nat­u­ral light­ing. The mas­ter bed­room is lo­cated on the high­est floor, and ori­en­teered to af­ford it with the most spec­tac­u­lar view high above the build­ings across the road and all the way to the hori­zon.

While Choo found the site chal­leng­ing, he also read­ily ad­mits that it was also a source of in­spi­ra­tion. “Given the site con­di­tions and con­straints, it was a chal­lenge to de­sign a 3-storey struc­ture that would ful­fill the re­quire­ments laid down by lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, that still en­gaged har­mo­niously with the site and slope. I wanted to cre­ate a build­ing that would be able to cap­ture the beau­ti­ful view of the jun­gle nearby with plenty of nat­u­ral light­ing and ven­ti­la­tion. It is a place for the owner to en­joy both na­ture and mod­ern ameni­ties, but still feel the warmth and com­fort of a 'house',” he en­thuses. “It is a con­stant fight be­tween an ar­chi­tect in a trop­i­cal coun­try and its cli­mate. One of the chal­lenges is the ori­en­ta­tion of the build­ing within the site. Due to the ex­ist­ing hill slope and ter­rain, the house is set to face east, which is also fac­ing the main view. To max­imise

this view, a sig­nif­i­cant amount of glass was used. How­ever, the east-fac­ing fa­cade also meant that the house would be sub­jected to the heat of the morn­ing sun. To mit­i­gate this, the client had to tint all the east-fac­ing glass to re­duce the heat. An­other chal­lenge was the con­struc­tion of the full height slid­ing glass doors which stretch across the liv­ing room, and get­ting this per­fect re­ally tested the skills and abil­ity of the con­trac­tor.”

As so­lu­tions were found to work with, rather than against the site, Choo also did not for­get the client’s re­quest to utilise tim­ber in cre­ative ways through­out the build­ing. “The tim­ber cladding was used lib­er­ally on walls and ceil­ings. As it was sup­posed to cover the var­i­ous walls, re­in­forced con­crete struc­tures of dif­fer­ent thick­nesses, and even serve to sub­frame the win­dows, great ef­fort was used to en­sure that the in­ner sur­face of the wall was level, so that the bat­ten and tim­ber cladding could achieve the de­sired ef­fect. A small Alu­minium Chan­nel was used to di­vide the tim­ber and the ex­posed con­crete sur­faces,” he ex­plains. “My favourite spa­ces are the liv­ing, din­ing, and dry kitchen, which all have views and phys­i­cal con­nec­tions to the deck and swim­ming pool out­side. The liv­ing room pos­sesses a tim­ber fea­ture wall, and with warm tex­ture ma­te­ri­als - mar­ble and tim­ber, and water, the to­tal space feels like a re­sort, and yet with all the com­forts of a home.”

TOP Seam­lessly com­bin­ing in­door and out­door, the liv­ing and din­ing over­look the tim­ber deck and swim­ming pool out­side.BOT­TOMThe Gan fam­ily are per­fectly at home in their re­sort-style abode.

Am­ple space and stor­age were pro­vided to cater to the needs of this young fam­ily.

CLOCK­WISE FROM BE­LOW All three floors are con­nected with a steel, tim­ber and glass stair­case that ap­pears to float in the space.

The tim­ber cladding im­bues the ar­chi­tec­ture with an el­e­gant nat­u­ral ap­pear­ance.

TOPThe bath­room en­joys an en­vi­able view of the lush sur­round­ing green­ery.

BOT­TOM The full height slid­ing doors be­tween the liv­ing and pa­tio were a chal­lenge to achieve but well worth the ef­fort.

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