William Lim, father of Kevin Lim of openUU, and Vincent Lim of Lim and Lu, invites his sons to design a house together in Kuala Lumpur for his brother. The result is a stunning 3 levels house with a central stairwell and atrium that connects 3 distinct functions on 3 levels: Live, Rest and Play.
Set in suburban Kuala Lumpur on a 800m² corner plot, the design of the 500m² house started with 2 goals: Comfort and Privacy. To create comfort, it is important to combat the intense solar heat. Inspired by the vernacular Southeast Asian colonial courtyard house, which always contain an internal courtyard to allow hot air to rise to the top, the resulting atrium design makes an internally focused design that gives great privacy to this sub-urban context.
The atrium is occupied by the dining space at the bottom, and has large openings on all 3 levels to visually connect all the spaces. A sculptural stair of glass and concrete forms one edge of the atrium, adding transparency and fluidity to the space, while making the rising and descending steps a visual intrigue. To further shield the house from heat, the west façade and north-west corner are covered by a layer of vertical aluminum fins which also give privacy to the terraces. An overhanging insulated metal roof provides further shading to the house.
The 3 levels serve 3 distinct functional needs of Live, Rest and Play. On the ground level is the living and dining spaces with a feature bar of brass and marble. The second level contains 4 bedrooms, a family den and a study. The third level is a U shaped open space with the gym on one side and games on the other. A full height glass wall on the north side of the atrium brings in soft daylight to the entire house.
The esthetics is function driven. A simple interior finishes palette of white washed walls, exposed cement, and wood grained floor tiles makes for easy maintenance. All material used are drawn from local sources. Besides the central atrium, ceiling fans are used to aid air circulation further. Curtains and blinds further help to cut off solar heat penetration into the house. These passive energy design solutions are applied to this sustainable house, contributing to a quite sanctuary from the contemporary Asian lifestyle.