Permeable House

KLAF 2021 Malaysian House Design Competition 2021, Professional Category

Reconfiguring the Traditions of the Kampung House

Since its formation, Malaysia and its population has evolved in terms of mentality, character, lifestyle, socio-economic stature and culture; and these have come to impact the design of their homes. Slowly, the essence of traditional Kampung house fades. The tropical hot and humid climate is perhaps the only constant and even this is being challenged by climate change. Change seems to inevitable for the current Malaysian house . But the bigger question is, what nature of change will enliven the sense of place and the inhabitants?

This competition offers a platform for architects via their design to explore and narrate record and represent the changes and evolution of the Malaysian house to match current and future aspirations. For us, a Malaysian house should reflect back to the root of our native culture.

‘Kampung’ refers to small and traditional villages, naturally pioneered by the indigenous people into a reciprocal neighbourhood. The ‘Kampung’ represents the root of origin, the land of memories to every Malaysian. It is the profound emblem which lies within the identity of our country, as well as the architecture of it. Kampung House is the native and domestic model of archetype in Malaysia’s context. The houses are primitive yet adaptive towards its environment, function, users, and cultural landscape. This proposal will further explore the architectural potential and innovative interpretation from the original model of Kampung House. The design aims to: [1] To create a new form of transparent & permeable house; [2] To reinvent more flexible & adjustable model based on tradition of which includes architectural heritage, social culture, and method of constructions; [3] To analyze & reorganize the functions of a kampung house in multiple ways to create a living complex with local cultural significations.

The location for this future house is in Kampung Baru. Kampung baru were chosen as the site location due to its nature. Compared to the rapidly developing Kuala Lumpur, time seems to stop in Kampung Baru. This 120-years-old village bustling with food, culture, and the nightlife is administered as a Malay Agricultural Settlement (MAS) and covers 120 ha of the city centre. In this quaint town, one can find hidden gems of beautiful Malay house architecture and the laid back kampung lifestyle with a picturesque backdrop of the iconic Petronas Twin Towers.

Kampung Baru is located directly adjacent to Kuala Lumpur City Center (KLCC). Founded as a Malay enclave by the British Empire in 1900, Kampung Baru has served as a cultural nucleus that was a draw for the Malay population and is now situated at the crossroads of Kuala Lumpur’s development path. The towering skyscrapers that represent the new growth and development of the capital city have quickly surrounded the area, embodying the juxtaposition of modernity against tradition. It has become a critical issue for the city: which path they will take and champion?

Within the seven villages of Kampung Baru is a vibrant array of expressions of identity. From architecture that has evolved from the vernacular to the colonial and the fusion that naturally occurred, to a verdant landscape of dense shade trees with fruits hanging from their branches, to a bustling set of commercial corridors that overtake the streets, Kampung Baru remains an integral manifestation of the diversity and identity Kuala Lumpur champions. The residents here are deeply connected to their neighborhood and the way of life their families have known for generations. In the face of the new development, Kampung Baru encapsulates the pressures of modernity and the fragility of community and cultural ancestry.

Modern families and lifestyles change as speedy as the rapid changes of surrounding urban flux. Therefore, the house is designed to grow with a typical Malaysian family over time. In this proposal, the hypothetical users are family of 3 generations and tenants who all live under a same roof, where the architecture will be the conjunction of their daily lives.

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