Project: Tropical Box House
Architects: WHBC Architects
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Area: 7,500 sf
Photographs by: Kent Soh
Tropical Box House by WHBC Architects
WHBC Architects have designed the Tropical Box House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with a stunning contemporary look resembling a concrete box that embraces the jungle. The design of the homes takes into account the tropical climate and creates plenty of lanes for natural air conditioning.
A concrete tropical box that embraces the lush jungle. The project was envisioned as an inward looking abode that safeguards its interior from the tropical sun and rain while at the same time, embraces the dense, natural floral enclave that the house sits within.
Set in the tropics, we designed a concrete egg-crate structure that envelopes the house to keep the heat out, but draw daylight in to create comfortable spaces within. The perforated nature of this envelope allows the existing overgrowth to grow into the volume of the house, thus softening the boundary of inside and outside.
The egg-crate structure is built of in-situ concrete as a sun-filtering device at the depth of 900mm. The structure naturally allows daylight to filter through but resists radiation. Concrete fins of 150mm thickness reinforce the structure by framing openings of various sizes at a controlled rhythm. This further facilitates the regulation of light intensity inside.
From the entry level, the existing site slopes downwards to the back. The design takes advantage of the sloping terrain to keep the dampness and humidity out within a tropical environment. The spaces are arranged to keep most parts of the house raised from the ground. This elevates the house to sit among the canopy of trees.
The main spaces- living, dining and the pool are positioned at the entry level; the bedrooms are placed on the upper floor; finally, a garage and service area sits on the lower ground. This ensured that dampness and pest is kept away, keeping the house airy and dry.
The main approach to the house is via a bridge flanked by multiple mature Albizia trees. From the entrance, a relatively narrow walkway, adjacent to a stairway and an internal courtyard, leads to the open living area.
Upon arrival, the suppressed journey opens outwards to a double volume deck reflected upon a pool. The pool and the adjoining garden are enclosed within the volume of this egg-crate structure. These spaces are completely surrounded by green foliage as they hover close to the tropical canopy.
Looking beyond the pool and the garden, one is greeted with a clear and extended panoramic view of the forest. On upper floors, windows are specially designed to capture views of big beautiful trees. A seemingly heavy concrete box, it touches the ground lightly, places itself among the trees and encourages the enduring landscape to grow within it.