Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Tepian Tunku in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by zlgdesign
May 15th, 2016 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: zlgdesign
Tepian Tunku residence is situated in an old-established, low-density residential area called Bukit Tunku in central Kuala Lumpur, surrounded by vast landscape.
The site of 26,000 sq ft is situated along a dead-end road, sloping downwards with wild overgrown planting ending close to an existing stream outside their lot with a gross build up area of ~10,000sq ft.
Clients’ brief is to design a household for a total of 8 persons: 4 bedrooms for the closer family which consist of 2 kids, husband and wife, one room with own entrance next to main entrance for the father-in-law and 1 separate room for the mother-in-law, 1 guest room and a room for 2 maids.
Living area, kitchen and dining are to be ‘open’, combined and bright, being the most used space. Other spaces like library, storage space for paintings as well as walls for paintings, gym and play room, swimming pool and an area for planting herbs. A garden with cycling/ walking path, an outdoor basketball court and car park space for 5 cars with guardhouse.
Main criteria for the spatial arrangement, apart from fulfilling clients’ requirements, was for us to reduce cut and fill of the site and given the shape of the site we decided for a very long rectangular building, allowing everyone an uninterrupted view towards the garden and the sunset.
From the road, you enter into the ‘center’ or the ‘heart’ of the building, the kitchen ‘opens up’ to the dining and living space with a terrace all around, where the owners live, eat and interact with each other most of the time. On top are the private bedrooms and below is where the entertainment, play and sport activities are located surrounded by a lush garden.
The private spaces on the 3rd floor are expressed in a very long rectangular ‘box’ with color cement finish in dark brown color, one of the first buildings in Malaysia using color cement technology from Germany instead of plaster and paint. Giving it a ‘natural’ patina, with no need to repaint over and over again. The overhanging bottom part of the framed ‘box’ is constructed as a double slab and RC fins shading devices for the terrace below.
The walk towards the private bedrooms is via a ‘light’ and minimal staircase cantilever from the wall, facing you upon entering the house. You will pass a small roof garden before arriving at the long corridor on the 3rd floor where many of our clients’ artworks, which are carefully selected and arranged, are hanging.
The lower garden spaces are reachable through an external staircase, also directly located next to the main entrance with an ‘open’ and natural ventilated custom-designed shoe rack. This zone is enclosed with the perforated brick walls, skylight above and trees in between as a puffer zone between the car porch and the building envelope. The only space in this zone is the wet kitchen which is accessible directly from the car porch and connected to the living/dining area.
The gym/play room is designed as a pavilion on its own, with its own flat roof, tucked below the building. Enough ‘open space’ for cross ventilation all around and natural light filtration into the circulation area.
A double height library combines the lower and ground floor together and is visible through a full height glass wall when walking towards the main entrance of the house. The library is built fully in plywood, plywood ceiling panels, full height plywood shelves including a gallery space connected through a steel/ timber spiral staircase in the center and a study space facing the pool through a double height glass facade.
The front elevation is kept ‘silent’ and understated with only a few vertical slot like windows for the private corridors.
This vertical ‘opening’ is repeated throughout, may it be in the RC fins framing the porch or the RC fins along the boundary line or the vertical slots in the main entrance sliding gates. Whereby the penetration of the Kalsa brick walls is carried through into the openings of all steel gates and steel partitions as well as in the fare face concrete wall separating the gym/play pavilion with the basketball court next to it.
The elevation facing the garden is a play of composing and arranging openings, enclosures or semi enclosures, play of different colors, materials and textures, like a jigsaw or patch work, mainly designed from the inside out andonly partially composed from outside. Using fare face concrete fins, Shera planks for the library and gym pavilion, big glass sliding doors along terrace, shanghai plaster or color cement for the walls and a fare face concrete canopy in raw sawn timber finish texture at the end of the swimming pool.
The pool finish is in smooth, polished concrete with salinated instead of chlorinated water, overflowing at the outer edges. All bathrooms are designed to allow for natural ventilation and views outside but at the same time it allows privacy by rotated, angled fare face concrete fins with gaps in between.
The client keeps the ‘central’ living space ‘open’ throughout the day, with ceiling fans enhancing the cross ventilation. Other, active energy efficient moves are solar panels on top of the roof and rainwater harvesting for watering the garden and washing the cars.
Eventually the success of this project is largely due to the good relationship between client and architect; the given respect, trust and good workmanship of the contractors, cooperation and well-managed working relationship among all consultants and team members involved.