Architect: LOOK Architects
Location: Country Heights, Damansara, Malaysia
Design Team: Look Boon Gee, Ng Sor Hiang, Looi Chee Kin
Local Architect: y’ SHIN Architect
C&S Engineers: SM1 Consulting Engineers
Main Contractor: Hiap Leck Construction
Completion Date: 2009
Site Area: 890 sqm
GFA: 407 sqm
Photographer: Amir Sultan
Luxuriant scenery can transcend the role of a static vista, as the single-family home – Country Heights Damansara in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – by LOOK Architects can attest to. A land parcel located on a gentle hillock within one of the several select residential districts in Damansara incited the designers to conceive of an integrative architectural approach where the house is virtually an offshoot of the natural setting it is nestled in.
The existing gradient of the sloping landform is construed to underpin an elevated cascading pool that announces a sense of arrival from the main entrance. The lip of the cascading pool, clad in the indigenous Sukabumi stone, sits on a stilt-supported platform to create a delicate interface with the surrounding foliage, impressing upon the viewer that the house is nimbly reclining in the fold of the landscape. A spiral staircase connects the pool deck to a lower tier of relaxation space, a snug corner brushing the feathery tips of greenery that offers the most candid contact with nature. A lavishly cantilevered glass canopy denotes a transparent transitional space uniting the expansive outdoors with a sonorous gallery comprising of the interlocking living/dining room and semi-open kitchen.
The upper half of the building volume is swathed in a continuous aluminum envelop, whose lustrous champagne-colored sheen resoundingly contrasts with the surrounding sprawl of nature. However, the rationale behind this prominently shaped roof is steeped in the homegrown know-how of construction in the tropics, albeit given a contemporary interpretation – the curvature of the aerodynamic roof profile effectively collects and channels the prevailing south-west breeze through the main mass of the house. This environmental control mechanism is significantly enhanced by evaporative cooling occurring over the surface of a reflective pool that is strategically situated underneath the interior circulation staircase, resulting in a sustainable solution that can serve as a prototypical substitution for mechanical means of cooling.
The passage through the interior staircase is devised to first undergo a spatial compression generated by the enclosure of an exterior appendage prudently wedged on the north-eastern façade, and tension is quickly resolved as this reverberating vestibule opens out to an airy hallway giving access to 4 bedrooms on the second storey. The supple grain of merbau timber screen materializes at either end of this aisle, complementing the sleek unembellished aplomb of the roof above. Not only articulating the flanks of the bent aluminum roof profile, the introduction of the timber screens further furnishes the residents with a sumptuous sense of tactility in their daily experience of the habitat.