Designed by WHBC Architects, the ‘Chempenai House’ in Kuala Lumpur is a lesson in material constraint. Though extravagant in size, the spectacle of this concrete home is its consideration of the surrounding Malaysian environment, and its rejection of neighborhood standards.
Situated in Damansara Heights, this four bedroom family home stands in striking contrast to most buildings in the affluent area. Silhouetted against a neighborhood of nouveau-riche mansions, the unembellished concrete surfaces of ‘Chempenai House’ don’t vie for attention, hiding instead amongst the jungle-like foliage of the garden that surrounds it. Its architectsdescribe it as “A concrete tropical box that embraces the lush jungle”, and they’re not wrong. The home has been designed in a way that its exterior provides both privacy and protection from the weather extremes: both monsoon and tropical sun, whilst allowing the garden to creep inside. “We designed a concrete egg-crate structure that envelopes the house to keep the heat out,” the architects explain, “but draw daylight in to create comfortable spaces within. The perforated nature of this envelope allows the existing overgrowth to grow in the volume of the house, thus softening the boundary of inside and outside.”
All images © Ben Hosking