Community-Based Affordable Housing Design Idea in Malaysia

Aerial perspective of the PR1MA housing design at Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur; all images by the author

By Ar Edric Choo Poo Liang

Housing has been a major issue in most countries, especially in a country like Malaysia where the urban population is high. In Malaysia, mid-range housing is over-supplied, which could result in the ‘ghost town effect’ as seen happening in China.

A community courtyard between blocks

Conversely, affordable or low-cost housing has always been under-supplied due to the constantly growing population of B40 (the bottom 40 per cent of Malaysian household income). Many developers do not identify the B40 as the target group of their housing developments for cost and profit reasons. Apart from that, rising material costs; shortage of workers; increase of minimum wage; and depreciation of the Ringgit have also hindered the development of affordable housing. 

In 2015, O2DA+CPLA (O2 Design Atelier SB + Choo Poo Liang Architect) won first prize in an affordable housing competition, jointly organised by Perumahan Rakyat 1Malaysia (PR1MA) and Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia (PAM), based on a site at Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur. In this article, I will share the design solutions that we have proposed in the competition entry to tackle some current issues affecting Malaysia’s housing development, community and the environment. 

To tackle these issues, we have proposed to apply several strategies in the PR1MA housing design.

Director and Principal, O2 Design Atelier Sdn Bhd

Born in 1976 in Malaysia, Edric obtained his Bachelor in Architecture from the University of Malaya and a Bachelor of Science in Housing Building and Planning from the University Science Malaysia. He started his architecture career at renowned architectural firms and has been involved with various international and local projects, including master planning, mix development, residential, commercial, industrial, educational and retail. Edric is also a committee member of PAM’s Architecture Malaysia and a part-time tutor for the Master of Architecture at the University of Malaya.

This is an excerpt. The original article is published in
Construction+ Q1 2023 Issue: Housing Construction: Demand & Supply.
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