The house was built upon an existing structure, where the designers sought to transform the redundant space into appealing living areas. Designed to meet the needs of the dwellers, the house is not just another project, but also a space with customised elements that fit right into the occupants’ daily lives.
The house is laid low in front to link with the street level, with its rear sitting on the slope with a gradual cascading landscape to blur the level differences. The house is further connected with the environment where the panoramic views to the low-rise houses and forest reserve is unobstructed.
The split-level effect of the bungalow was reduced by taking down 50 per cent of the building structure to provide higher headroom. The confined interior spaces were then lifted up and well-lit from the enhanced natural lighting and cross ventilation. Walls that separated the garden from the interiors were also taken down and replaced by floor-to-ceiling windows. Additionally, a semi-indoor green pocket space was created. This is a courtyard where the home owners can enjoy open air and greenery without compromising privacy.
The courtyard is not only a gem that holds the house together and but it also provides a safe haven for the home dwellers, an open space that protects the interior from the external elements.
Direct sunlight that enters the spaces from the courtyard is minimal, keeping the rooms cool and usable. Even in the hottest afternoons, or during a heavy storm, the door and windows surrounding the courtyard can be kept open to provide natural ventilation to the adjacent rooms.
Design features like operable louvres and floor-to-ceiling sliding door/windows allow the home owners to take a full control over the building skin to achieve the intended indoor air and light quality, according to different time of the day and weather. Operable louvres shade the building from the sun, and block heavy rain. It is also openable to allow unobstructed view to the neighbourhood.
Construction materials were mostly procured from local sources, for example the teak wood flooring; the fair-faced bricks; balau timber strips; nyatoh table top; concrete vent blocks; upcycled railway sleepers; and polished concrete floor. These materials retained their original appearances, with complementing materials reinforcing their natural features.
The major challenge in the construction was to reuse part of the building structure. The major take is moulding liveable spaces into the existing RC column, beam and slabs so that the ensemble can complement one another. The solution was to reuse part of the original building structure and transform the low headroom split-level bungalow into a bright and airy living space.
Project Name: Zen House
Location: Kuala Lumpur
Completion Date: October 2019
Site Area: 558 square metres
Gross Floor Area: 800 square metres
Building Height: 3 storeys
Number of Rooms: 7 rooms
Owner: Private Owner
Architecture Firm: Wan Hui Architect
Principal Architect: Ar. Chong Wan Hui
Civil & Structural Engineer: JPS Consulting Engineers Sdn Bhd
Lighting Consultant: Wan Hui Architect
Landscape Architect: Wan Hui Architect
Main Contractor: Naruda Jaya Construction Sdn Bhd
Images: Benedict Chan