Architects: 29 Design
- Area: 8000 ft²
- Year: 2014
- Photographs: Lin Ho
Manufacturers: Monier, Com Net Solution, Shera Board Malaysia, Sukabumi Indonesian Limestone, Zacklim Flat Floor Specialist
Lead Architects: Stephanie Maignan (Co-founder, 29 Design, Currently Senior Design Associate at B+H Architects), Amanda Teh (Co-founder, 29 Design)
- C+S Engineer:Techsol Sdn Bhd
- Main Contractor:Bestchase Engineering
- Net Enclosed Floor Area:6,500 sq. ft.
- Budget:$ 2 million USD
- Civil Engineer:Techsol Sdn Bhd
- Structural Engineer:Techsol Sdn Bhd
- City:Kuala Lumpur
Text description provided by the architects. Sited on a dramatic 34-degree slope facing a forest reserve, the Be-landa house was an exercise in “befriending” rather than “conquering” the terrain. The starting point was to establish the minimum amount of flat land required for the house to be functional. We drew a line for the retaining wall to include a flat area for parking the cars, an adjoining main entrance, and the kitchen at the street level. The retaining wall bisected the site acted as a datum for the master planning. All spaces required by our Clients were massed into three Pavilions with varying relationships to the datum wall; the 1st Pavilion is entirely “on the ground” within the flat land area; the 2nd Pavilion is half on the ground, and half hanging over the slope on stilts; and finally the 3rd Pavilion is entirely hovering over the slope on pilotis, accessed via a glass-sheathed bridge.
When viewed from the street, only the “grounded” portion of the 1st and 2nd Pavilions is visible. The front façade is decidedly low-key, a double story massing with little indication of what lies beyond. Upon entering, there is an element of surprise as the house unfolds. The Foyer features an elevated view straight through to the forest reserve across the valley, framed by the 2nd & 3rd Pavilions. The lowest poolside living area was used in Crazy Rich Asians, in the scene where the ladies gathered for Bible study and tea. This level is shielded from the rain and equatorial sun by the spaces above.
Overall throughout the house, the relationship between the spaces is experienced vertically rather than horizontally, with a total of seven staircases threading the spaces together. In spite of being the house’s lowest level, the pool area retains a floating feel as it sits on stilts eight meters above the untouched contours below, with treetop views and airy jungle breezes, a platform to enjoy the best of the tropics. Materials used were all local (polished concrete floors, pebble wash finishes externally, Sukabumi limestone at the pool areas, Merbau timber for flooring, ceilings, and façade screening). The material palette was muted (charcoal grey, white, timber) to contrast with the rich, emerald hues of the surrounding jungle.