S11 House: An Impressive Energy Efficient Home in KL

S11 House: An Impressive Energy Efficient Home in KL

S11 House: An Impressive Energy Efficient Home in KL

/ Kuala Lumper, Malaysia /

/ Story: Ekkarach Laksanasamrit / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Rithirong Chanthongsuk, Soopakorn Srisakul /

Don’t judge a book by its cover. This modern Tropical home in Kuala Lumpur is more than meets the eye. Precisely, all passive design strategies imaginable are integrated in the house plan, clever hacks to save big time on utility costs. The house is nestled among the trees on a piece of land where an old family home had stood for 60 years. It’s gone now, demolished to make room for a new residence.

Kuala Lumpur
The lacy shades of overhanging trees improve air quality and keep the house cool during the daytime.

Some things are better left unchanged. The relaxed ambience of the land is maintained, thanks to the homeowner and the architect together sparing no effort to preserve all matured trees on the property.

To ensure nothing goes to waste, Tan Loke Mun of ArchiCenter, an architectural practice based in Selangor, managed to incorporate building materials from the old house in the project codenamed, “S11 House” in Kuala Lumpur. Its environmental conscious design has earned the house a platinum award from the Green Building Index (GBI), Malaysia’s industry recognized rating tool for building sustainability.

Kuala Lumpur
The design makes use of stronger frames and larger concrete beams to avoid having too many columns in the interior living space.
Kuala Lumpur
The ground floor boasts high standards of comfort – a light and airy interior living space. The absence of solid room dividers creates visual and spatial continuity between indoor and outdoor rooms.
Kuala Lumpur
A living room looks spacious and bright thanks to the 3-meter-high ceiling. Brick walls in subdued shades of orange paired with gray naked concrete make the home feel warm and welcoming.

There is attention to detail every step of the way. Among other things, pieces of concrete from the old house were recycled and adapted for a new use as walkway pavers along the exterior walls. Old bricks were also given a new lease on life, while steel window grids were reused for their strength and durability. At the same time, recycled timber also found a new purpose as scaffolding during construction due to limitations on steel rods.

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur
Naked concrete finishes add natural touches to the interior, while passive cooling systems and intelligent use of materials go to work reducing energy consumption.

Built along the north-south axis, the house stands to allow fresh outdoor air to enter on one side and exit on the other. Hence, large windows and other wall openings are installed to create cross ventilation that reduces heat buildup in the interior. In the meantime, west-facing exterior walls are made of lightweight anti-heat-absorbing materials. All of this translates into big savings in utility costs and improvements in the efficiency of air conditioning systems.

What’s more. In the backyard garden, lush vines and other trailing woody-stemmed plants thrive on trellises. They work in tandem with five full-grown trees to provide buffers against the sun on hot summer days.

To create thermal comfort in the interior, extra thick insulation is applied under metal sheet roofing. Where appropriate, the windows are glazed using low-emissivity glass to protect from the sun’s harsh glare.

Kuala Lumpur
The first floor bedroom features simple design. The entire space is well-ventilated thanks to a high ceiling and large openings in the exterior wall.
Kuala Lumpur
Natural light illuminates the bathroom, creating beautiful visual effects and reducing electricity use.

To keep the heat out and the interior cool, the three-story home (including a basement) has an air duct system that lets hot air dissipate through rooftop vents. With this ingenious design, no air-conditioning machine is needed.

Kuala Lumpur
The second floor boasts a large living space with double height ceilings and transparent glass walls.

For the most part, building materials are used in their true forms. Painting and coating are minimized if ever needed. Otherwise, naked concrete, bare brick walls and timber in its neutral wood tones prevail. Where a layer of paint is needed, the designer chooses Low VOC paints (low volatile organic compounds) to minimize impacts on the environment.

In a nutshell, it’s a design that speaks volumes for architecture of the future – an environmentally conscious place of abode thoughtfully devised to perform in perfect harmony with nature.

The home’s double-swing gate is crafted of steel rods in a lighter shade of gray. Welded wire patterns ensure good visibility and uninterrupted air flow.

Architect: ArchiCentre by Tan Loke Mun

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