Monday, August 23, 2010

Leisure Farm Villas, Johor Bahru, Malaysia

WINNER of  WAN Awards 2009 Residential Sector

Unit One Design completes houses 'with no walls'

A complex of 5 separate buildings, consisting of the main parental house (currently under construction) and 4 individual villas where ‘most of the walls are views’, one for each child, all linked by landscaped walkways. The final piece of the overall jigsaw, it is composed of three wings in total, each forming new gardens and courtyards created by walls or difference in levels. Sited towards the apex of the site in totality, the house acts as a wall embracing most of the project where the villas and the orchard sit (the eastern part of the site) which is the private domain of the whole development. The living spaces of this house will have views to the whole development.

The villas for the children were designed around eventual views out to a manmade landscape and shade for tropical living. The roof with its 6 metre cantilever provides shade from the rain towards the more open side of the house and its double height living space affords full views out towards the orchard that is being planted at the moment. The volume from the ground up has no ‘walls’ except at the individual entrances into the villas to afford privacy for the individual families. The east façade also has adjustable screens allowing the individual occupants to control the amount of privacy they want from the neighbours from the mezzanine level. This double height ground level holds the public domain for the villas, the living, the kitchen and the mezzanine can accommodate either an added living space or an additional bedroom. The joinery works on the mezzanine level was all designed not to touch the ceiling to conserve the purity of the roof as a protective shading element. All the doors are designed to be fully flexible to allow for spaces on the ground level to be totally opened out towards the tropical landscape.

This ground level public space has its own lawn with an immediate view of the orchard beyond. The immediate landscape, bordered by concrete edges, divorces the ‘wilder’ orchard from the manicured lawn directly outside the living spaces. The private domain on the lower ground holds all the bedrooms – more conventional in its arrangement but unusual in the sense that the bedrooms are kept at a lower floor as opposed to typically in Asia being on the first floor. This allows each bedroom to open out to their own lower private garden. The trees planted on the lower garden will eventually provide added privacy between the villas in the form of a foliage screen seen from the ground level. The original idea of ‘where most of the walls are views’ remains.


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