Nestled within a close-knit community in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, is an impressive three-bedroom residential establishment hinged on the concepts of permeability, lightness and sustainability. The one-of-a-kind architectural testbed offers 3,300 square feet of living area based around common areas analogous to a village design.

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An aerial view of a residential area.

Lead architect Tang Hsiao Seak of Tangu Architecture brought this idea to life in a city known for its architectural innovation. The building has been redesigned based on biophilic concepts. While stemming from a minimalist approach, the project’s structural engineering focuses on lightness. The design aims for a reduced carbon footprint and weight.

Related: Architects envision sustainable bamboo mass housing for Malaysia

An aerial view a house with a semi-covered parking area.

To achieve the ambitious target, the developers applied purposeful materials to a thoughtful design. Permeability and ecological sustainability combine for a well-ventilated living space with a rustic, natural look. Meanwhile, a focus on lightness led to the use of light materials to reduce the building’s structural weight. At the same time, these materials are durable and functional.

The side of a home with greenery embedded into the facade.

For this project, the designers had to think outside of traditional building materials. They also prioritized materials with the lowest embedded energy. To this end, clay drain channels were used for planters and a lightweight green roof. Almost every part of the building is permeable. The designers sought to achieve permeability in three key areas: air, light and water movement.

To the left, a green courtyard. To the right, a parking area next to a home.

Water flow is central to the greenery indoors and outside. Water harvesting starts on the roof, where the collected water is transferred into holding tanks. It then travels to permeable planters, where it waters indoor plants before traveling to an underground holding tank. Natural solar heating systems help warm water for the home. The system also supports a fish pond, natural treatment system and continuous water circulatory system where used water loops back to the rooftop holding tanks to start the process all over again.

+ Tangu Architecture

Via ArchDaily

Images via Tangu Architecture