Ensuring privacy in a closely packed neighbourhood, and providing multiple family spaces within a small site, were key challenges. Design experiments mainly vis-à-vis reinterpreting the vernacular light filter in an equatorial clime led to the design of a flexible façade screen. This screen, which reintroduces local hardwood as a key construction material, and that is a dominant feature wrapping around the upper two levels, thus engenders a new high-density urban semi-detached residential typology.
The screen's sliding and swing doors, juxtaposed against every window and door of the main building envelope, provides intimacy with options for openness and also acts as a heat and light filter. The screen therefore drives a singular building aesthetic and optimises environmental sustainability.
Whilst the design does not deliver stylistic contextualisation to other houses in the neighbourhood, it does extend the historical and the familiar of the domestic vernacular into the 21st century, adapting it to meet contemporary programmatic requirements of a Malaysian family. The design also integrates significant planting - from greenery in the interstitial space between the building's two skins to vertical equatorial foliage. This, along with the façade screen, generates a more visually and spatially graduated outside-inside transition.
With all of this, the family's trifecta of providing intimacy / privacy, creating flexible / open spaces, and, achieving a high degree of climactic responsiveness / environmental sustainability, was achieved. What was also attained was an extension of the home typology in dense urban equatorial contexts - with the potential for more productive experimentation here being fairly evident.