Home ID Living With Nature: An Eco-Conscious Home Designed with a Heartwarming Approach

Living With Nature: An Eco-Conscious Home Designed with a Heartwarming Approach

by creativehomex

Tucked in the serene neighbourhood of Ampang Jaya, Kuala Lumpur, a humble terrace home was given an extraordinary makeover by ZLG Design. At 2,900 sqft, the home features a beautiful composition of materials and design details that express the owners’ love for a nature-inspired lifestyle.

“We bought the house as a typical Malaysian link terrace typology of the 1980s as part of a bigger housing development, with clustered spaces and many enclosed rooms. Over the course of 27 years, we have done a few alterations. The latest transformation started in 2015 and was completed in 2018, when the kids moved out, leaving us parents behind. This provided the opportunity to reduce the area by one-third of its initial build-up, allowing landscape; we planted a tree inside, and a 3 storey open volume with a new skylight and link bridges,” say the homeowners, who are also the architects of this project.

All internal walls, including those for bathrooms, were taken down, and the kitchen island was partially inside-out, with the existing retaining wall serving as the main feature of the house, with added slabs and creeping plants that grow over time. The first floor serves as the living space around the kitchen and retaining wall, while the second floor has two sleeping areas only divided by curtains. The lower ground floor is another sleeping/living space designed to enable independent and self-contained living for visiting kids or friends, complete with its own front garden and separate entrance.

Every space flows into the next, becoming a larger, connected area. The top half of the new facade is a series of openable marine plywood slatted windows with a six-bay paneled background, while the lower half is all glazing, using recycled metal angle frames and hinges salvaged from older houses. Only one type of masonry, cheap lightweight cement bricks left bare without any plastering on either side, is used. The walls are not plastered or lime-washed, allowing them to “breathe” and not block the air.

The house faces east and sits across an elevated dead-end road, overlooking a valley. There are no fixed dividing walls, and not one single door other than the entrance gate. As it is fully open and naturally ventilated throughout all three levels, there is no need for air conditioning. Using materials that can withstand the tropical climate, collaborating with the elements, and accepting the fact that patina and traces from weathering give the building its true essence, the property evolves and is dynamic – climatic has a new meaning.

“We continue to observe how nature helps to play its part in bringing the project to life. No anxiety or expectations – just letting go and seeing where this takes us. In truth, we use too much for wanting something we need so little of. We deplete the natural environment of its resources more than we have to. We have been too separate from the universe for too long,” the owners/architects remark.


Photos by Lawrence Choo

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