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Unique Fan House
15 July 2013,
Hidden behind the lush greenery in Janda Baik, Pahang is a unique house that stands out for its architecture and design. This 6,800 sq ft three-storey bungalow comes with five bedrooms and six bathrooms and is home to seven family members.
“Sitting on a hill and surrounded by nature, it is the perfect location for a weekend house that I had always wanted,” said the homeowner, who prefers to remain anonymous.
He continued, “I bought this plot of land eight years ago. This location is ideal for a family retreat or a short getaway from the hustle and bustle of city living.” The homeowner was introduced to architect Choo Gim Wah by some of the other home owners in Janda Baik.
“Honestly, I didn’t have much clue of what I wanted to build. I just gave Choo the general idea of the type of house I wanted and left the rest to him. He showed great passion and interest in my project and I trusted him to do the job. Indeed, he has done a great job and I’m satisfied with it,” said the homeowner.
“I call this project The Fan House,” says architect Choo. “The inspiration came from the natural contour of the sloping yet curvilinear terrain and forested surroundings. With the sculptural form in mind, all the functions and requirements of the owner is nicely incorporated. It’s not the usual “form follows function” approach which is taught in architecture school,” explains Choo. He adds that to minimize the earthwork and interference of the existing slope, the house has to hug the terrain unobtrusively.
Before they began with the construction work, Choo and his contractors had to make sure that the materials could be supplied regularly, given the remote location. “It was quite challenging – we had to work within the contour and the contractors had to come out with creative ways to move the materials down the steep terrain and pile it on site,” says Choo.
The site’s terrain gently slopes down from the adjacent public road to the lower platform. There are two existing platforms on site. The first platform is approximately 46 ft down from the public road to the lower platform. The first platform is where the car park and main entrance is located. This platform slopes down another 22 ft to the second platform.
The construction of the entire house took approximately 15 months to complete.
Boasting a simple and modern look, the main door opens to the living, dining as well as dry kitchen areas. These areas are designed with generous use of glass and tall ceiling heights to promote natural lighting within the interior spaces.
A slightly curved balcony spanning 55ft (17m) long and 9ft (2.7m) wide next to the living and dining areas allows the homeowner and his family to enjoy the fresh air and panoramic view of the forest. This seamless design blurs the barrier between outdoor and indoor space.
The master bedroom has a spacious walk-in closet and an en-suite bathroom that comes with built-in wall cabinets and suspended mirror. It also has a balcony which overlooks the lush surrounding. “The spiral staircase made of reinforced concrete and timber finishes is an interesting feature that offers great visual depth and accentuates the house grandly,” says Choo. The staircase leads down from the living area to the first floor where the bedrooms are located and goes down to the lowest floor where the maid’s room and an open terrace are.
“This open terrace is where the homeowners can have parties and entertain friends. From this level, they can gain access to the landscape staircase which leads up to the car porch. This is for the convenience of the homeowner’s friends – they don’t have to walk through the house to get to the open terrace,” explains Choo. The landscape staircase is located at the side of the house. When asked about their favourite area of the house, the homeowners said that they never get bored of the balcony. The balcony gives an extra sense of elevation due to the fact that the house itself is built on high ground.
“The balcony is definitely our favourite spot,” said the homeowners. “It offers a breathtaking view and it’s very airy.”
A graduate with a Masters in Architecture from Miami University, Ohio, United States, Choo, 48, started his own firm Choo Gim Wah Architect in 2008 after working for some local and international practices for 15 years.
“Architecture has always been my passion since young. During that time, I was fascinated in things that combine art, design and engineering,” shares Choo. As an architect, Choo believes that every project in a different setting or locality presents a different design challenge.
“I appreciate the “simplicity” in design such as space, form and detail. However, being simple does not imply it is easy. During the design process, I take great effort to digest and ‘filter out’ the excessive items, maintaining only the most essential to achieve beauty in simplicity,” says Choo.
CHOO GIM WAH ARCHITECT
T: +603 9105 6512