Ying-Yang Sustainable Eco-Living Centre

The Ying-Yang Sustainable Eco-Living Centre aims to promote balance in a sustainable living environment, which helps people of all ages from both cities and rural areas to connect through social and economic exchange in a network of circulation.

The proposed site is located on a 5.5-acre land in a lush and green valley in Gombak, Selangor. It is situated beside a primary forest reserve and surrounded by natural attractions, which consist of Malay House and Jungle Lodge. This green lung is located 20 kilometres away from Kuala Lumpur, where there is a jungle stream that runs alongside. There is also a fishpond on the grounds with more than 40 varieties of fruit trees surrounding the site to provide diversity.

This suburban area is facing urbanisation, where industrialised agriculture and development are overpowering the original eco-tourism planning. The existing health care, education and transportation system are unable to fulfil the increasing demands, hence more youth and residents are leaving the villages to settle in the city for better income and job opportunities.

The centre has a striking circular shape that enables natural ventilation and creates a stable microclimate all year round within the building despite high outdoor temperatures. The alignment of the curves creates a distinct split of views from different directions. For example, the view from the centre that points towards the outside will be facing the riverfront and a wider world, while the view inwards will be facing nature. This emphasises the difference between leaving and entering, while increasing the sense of natural intimacy with the surroundings and urban interaction with nature. Visitors can explore freely around the site through the water walk, cafeteria, aquaculture pool and planting garden boardwalk, engaging themselves with local and sustainable aquaculture.

Pavilions and pathways are arranged to create street plazas that will entice visitors to explore the site and offer them authentic experiences. The multifunctional water amphitheatre can become a gathering spot for the local community during daytime and a performance stage at night for various activities, which will encourage community participation.

The design aims to achieve a successful prototype by putting the whole cycle of food production and consumption into consideration. The open space was designed as an organic plantation area, which can utilise harvested rainwater with a passive irrigation system.

Kitchen waste and plant matter will be reduced through a vermicomposting system, which can transform waste into beneficial soil amendments and lighten landfill loads. A vermifiltration system will also be introduced in the zero-impact vermi house (worm house), which helps to collect, use and filter water in a greenhouse, and then return the remediated water to the existing river. It was designed to distribute filtered river water to the aquaponics system growing both plants and fish. It can also become an organic fertiliser that helps to restore the water and habitat. This will provide the community with fresh produce, while acting as a floating classroom for an ecologically abundant future.

To keep in line with the sustainability theme, passive design strategies such as natural ventilation and daylighting were integrated to promote the eco-living environment. Bamboo was chosen as the main building material because it is easily available on-site and has a relatively low environmental impact. Any unused bamboo parts can be recycled as fertilisers or other lightweight structure installation designs, which will not cause problems associated with conventional building waste that pollutes landfills.

Surrounded by the forest and river, the sustainable eco-living centre aims to become a new eco-reserve within the fragments of a small town, like an island in a preserved landscape of cultivated natural vegetation. It can help to raise public awareness regarding sustainable living and support the local communities with stable income.

Student Name: Lam Chee Hau
School: Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
Programme: Master of Architecture
Project Name: Ying-Yang Sustainable Eco-Living Centre
Location: The Jungle Lodge, Alang Sedayu, Gombak, Malaysia
Site Area: 1.325 hectares
Gross Floor Area: 4,350 square metres
Building Height: 9.9 metres (highest)
Images/Photos: Lam Chee Hau