Meru House

Merit, Residential Category | BCI Asia Interior Design Awards 2018

This private family home is located within the Meru Valley Golf Resort, Ipoh—a place famous for its natural surroundings, with views of the Titiwangsa mountain range to the west and northwest.

The house comprises three main interconnected elements—main residence, living space and floating barn—in an interesting play of level changes, double-height volumes and landscaped courtyards.

The public spaces, including a guest room and an AV room, are located at the ground level. The living area is a standalone pavilion, adjoining with a bamboo garden and a central courtyard, subtly turning spaces inside out. The grand dining hall has open skylights that are controlled with automatic blackout blinds.

With its ribbon-like balustrade, a spiralling wood-clad staircase connects the ground spaces to the upper floors, which house the master suites, additional bedrooms and a family space.

Two loft bedrooms form the top level, discretely carved into the pitched ‘floating barn’ roof. The use of standing seam metal roofing gives the barn the simplest roof profile over seamless glass walls. The barn cantilevers over the landscape, providing panoramic views from its full height windows.

Large sliding glass doors and the courtyards define the volumes and spaces, while off-white rendered walls complement the contrasting barn red. Bespoke joinery and metal works are fully integrated into the overall architectural design.

The home relies on the courtyards and pocket spaces for shade and daylight. The surrounding veranda is designed with a purposeful depth to form the key shading from the hot sun and tropical rainstorms. It also acts as a peripheral façade, providing a natural privacy buffer to the home itself.

Other passive design elements for energy-efficiency include the building’s orientation, plan layout, window design, insulation, thermal mass, shading and natural ventilation.

Reinforced concrete structure with steel portal frames makes up the skeletal of the house, while the external envelope is primarily infilled with a double cavity wall system, which is uncommon in Malaysia. The cavity wall helps to alleviate the excessive heat gain exposure and maintain indoor climate comfort.

An on-site rainwater harvesting system collects rainwater and stores it in an underground concrete tank, keeping the water cooled below ground.

A wind catcher is used to cool the inside of the house, as part of the overall ventilation and heat movement strategy. Hot air is drawn upwards due to the temperature gradient, assisted by prevailing wind flowing past the catcher, creating a stack effect through volumetric play. Airflow is enhanced with cross-ventilation louvres at various height levels.

Project Name: Meru House
Location: Meru Valley Golf Resort, Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia
Completion Date: December 2016
Site Area: 0.43 acres
Gross Floor Area: 450 square metres
Building Height: 2.5 storeys
Architecture Firm: A3 PROJECTS (formerly known as Arch Cubic)
Principal Architects: Kenny Chong Khor Leat; Ho Choon Sin
Interior Designer: A3 PROJECTS
Civil & Structural Engineer: F. C. Ng Perunding
Images: Lawrence Choo وان ایکس بت بت فوروارد