The manager of a private forestry company supporting sustainable reforestation in Malaysia needed a new home for his family, so he built a beautiful net zero rainforest shelter in a remote inland location in the state of Sabah. Marra + Yeh Architects designed the Shelter@Rainforest longhouse - a one level home built with local timbers that is situated on a hill overlooking the forest. A rooftop photovoltaic system and biogas units provide energy, and rainwater collection units allow the residents to live simply and self sufficiently.
Shelter@Rainforest is located in a remote location that is a five-hour drive from Kota Kinabalu in the state of Sabah, Malaysia. It serves as the family home for the manager of a forestry company that is developing 100,000 hectares of forest for a period of 99 years under a sustainable reforestation program. They are obligated to replant the rainforest at a ratio of 30:1, meaning for every 1 tree they cut down, they must plant 30 more. The company built their manager and his family a home from which he could control operations and host guests in the forest. As it is a remote location, the home had to be self-sufficient in terms of energy and water.
Malaysian and Australian firm Marra + Yeh Architects were inspired by the vernacular longhouses of the area while designing the home – it features a large overhanging shade roof surrounded by a veranda that keeps the home 8-10 deg C lower than the outdoor environment. Rooms have sliding doors with slats to encourage natural ventilation. The home has space for the entire family along with multiple guest quarters. Rooftop solar photovoltaics and biogas units provide power for the home, and water is sourced via rainwater collected on the roof and then stored in cisterns in the house. To minimize material usage and waste, the home was built with locally sourced timber that was specifically cut to maximize the trees’ yield. In addition, the company planted one hundred wildings of endemic tropical hardwood species around the home.
Images ©Brett Boardman