The sleepy town of Serendah in Hulu Selangor, a 45-minute drive from Kuala Lumpur, is popular with nature lovers. It was the site of a piece of land bought by the parents of Choon Sin Ho, one of the founding architects of A3 Projects.
The land was purchased in 1995 and since then had been planted with a profusion of trees and plants. Since returning from working overseas a few years ago, Ho took on designing a new house for her parents, who had always wanted a retreat adjoining the orchard they had nurtured.
Appropriately nicknamed Serendah Hill Retreat, Ho adopted the Japanese principles of shakkei (borrowed landscape) when approaching this project. "The house was conceived from the beginning as an extension of the landscape, part of which has been meticulously curated and nurtured by hand from seeds for more than a decade, even before the house was designed. This was the pre-existing soft architecture that the house needed to respect," explains Ho.