Cover The challenging triangular site informed the final outcome

Choo Gim Wah Architect designed this modern tropical home in harmony with its unconventional context

Nicknamed Kenzan Heights by the owners, this impressive home in Shah Alam sits on a large piece of land. It was named as such because of the owners' passion for the project. Entrusted to Choo Gim Wah Architect, the unusually shaped site posed an architectural challenge as all 15,300 square feet of the triangular site with slopes surrounding two out of three of its boundaries came with restricted access and orientation.

Undaunted and after digesting the client's brief, the architect decided to place the building strategically at the rear end of the plot.

"This placement was efficient with a linear spatial layout, which came with its own challenges as it sat adjacent to a critical slope with the neighbouring property. To overcome this required the combined effort of architectural and engineering input to ensure there were no compromise to space and safety," explains Ar. Choo Gim Wah, principal of Choo Gim Wah Architect.

"The building placement also comes with the intent to allow for a generous amount of area for landscaping as the client has a love for greens and enjoys curating his own plants and trees."

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While the triangular nature of the site meant there was one less boundary to plan access points, the architect planned the primary access to acknowledge the far-back placement of the main building and its surrounding landscape.

The concrete imprinted covered car porch and a custom-made timber and steel screen class the main door which welcomes occupants into a glass foyer that frames the lush greenery and the pool as the first transitional journey into the living domain.

Alongside the building, a pool lies serenely within the vicinity of the entrance. The swimming pool was designed to sit calmly and unobtrusively amongst its surroundings but still acts as a discreet focal point for guests as they looked beyond the landscape.

Meticulous architectural detailing marries the pool surface seamlessly with the different materials around it under the same plane, a deliberate aesthetic and practical design solution to ensure an edgeless infinity pool.

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As the home is hemmed in by neighbours occupying two sides of the plot, privacy was a consideration and to ensure this, the project was designed to gain views and beneficial orientation with strategic spatial arrangements.

As such, public and utility spaces such as laundry, wet kitchen, guest room and a bbq area with Balu decking were designed on the ground floor for direct interaction with the pool and landscape. "This intentionally puts familiar living spaces on higher ground to obtain an overlooking perspective of the landscape and neighbourhood environment," explains Choo.

The first floor is where the semi-private spaces dwell. Here the living, dining and dry kitchen enjoy a double volume ceiling height and views with an open-plan layout that creates a welcoming unified space for its occupants to mingle.

Although these spaces had to be located behind an east-facing facade which meant some inevitable heat gain, passive solutions for comfortable living were accounted for during the initial design stage by minimising building width and adding aluminum louvres, the latter a distinctive architectural feature for the home.

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All private spaces were placed on the top-most floor with generously proportioned bedrooms designed for rest and relaxation, Bedrooms are connected through a corridor from a central staircase.

Timber-tiled balconies, framed with bespoke wire mesh and mild steel handrails, line the south side of the exterior, further integrating the off-form concrete roof structure. The roof's unique silhouette, informed by the shape of the house, imbues the home with its architectural identity.

While Kanzen Heights' large structure and distinctive roofline gift it an imposing appearance, intricate collaborative features among modern materials give it personality and a welcoming element. From the interplay of the shadows cast through the day to the vibrancy of its landscape design, these breathe life into Kenzan Heights.

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