Core Design Workshop embraces introversion in MALAYSIAN HOME
In a dense residential area of Subang Jaya, Malaysiaarchitect Chun Hooi Tan of Core Design Workshop designed his own house in remodeling a one-story townhouse from the 1970s. Named “Introverse”, the residence establishes breathable open areas using permeable doors and minimal building materials, including concrete, glassand steel. Rather than following social norms, Introverse challenges them and tests a new way of life, organized in a way intrinsic to introversion, as opposed to the usual outward-facing home.
After being diagnosed with cancer in 2019, the Malaysian architect learned to embrace the introverted character he discovered in himself, which influenced the design of his residence. Together with his contemporary art gallery owner wife, Chun Hooi Tan carried out the creation, conceptualization, design and construction, which took two years during the pandemic period.
‘introverse’ is located in a serene environment surrounded by houses built in the 1980s | all images courtesy of Core Design Workshop / Chun Hooi Tan
suspended metal structure redefines the OF garden ‘introverted’
Introverse’s design by Core Design Workshop takes a back seat to redefining the landscape of the home. The architecture workshop began with a full-height linear garden wall, suspended from a steel structure, hovering above the ground and running 10 feet from the perimeter fence, creating a new walled garden within a garden.
Separated from the exterior landscape, the interior garden refers to elements of ancient Chinese architecture or the Japanese Zen garden. It offers a space where one can live without the constraints of security and privacy, a garden where one can use and enjoy at the same time. It is in this walled area that the kitchen and bathrooms are located and they fit freely without physical walls defining the individual spaces. On the other side of the garden, a linear cross-ventilation tunnel is created to detach the house from the adjacent neighbor.
permeable glass windows with white steel
TUNNEL AREA WITH PERMEABLE BLADES AND PERFORATED SHEETS
Each room in this tunnel area is divided by permeable, adjustable louvers and perforated metals, with a courtyard sitting like a chimney in the middle. This area contains a laundry room, a foyer, a powder room and a playroom on the mezzanine, making it another semi-outdoor space. All semi-outdoor spaces are arranged inward facing the core of the house, the living room and the dining room. This central space is flanked by two bedrooms on either side, and these three main rooms basically make up the house.
The building is covered with a new metal roof while the original profile remained as it was, and inside, the old complex layout of the house is transformed into simple and minimal spaces. The choice of materials has been minimized down to concrete, steel and glass, which are universally known as building materials but now used as architectural finishes. To illustrate this, the floor is finished with polished concrete from the gate to the main house. Polished concrete is also used as a finishing gravel for the walled garden floor.
the opening glass doors allow a fluid circulation from the semi-outdoor kitchen to the indoor dining room and living room
The interior built-in wardrobe, bookcase and kitchen islands were custom made in steel. All the doors in the house are steel-framed glass with no curtain covering, letting the nature of the material itself express. The philosophy of minimalism is reflected in the house’s spatial organization and is further expressed in its material selections, architectural finishes, built-in features, and interior furnishings for contemporary art curation. The minimalism of the residence is not a style, but an architectural proposal solution to contemporary needs and lifestyles.
‘In Introverse, we can be honest with ourselves, find our voice and define our own lives, and that’s the essence of minimalism. Our own version of minimalism,’ said Chun Hooi Tan.
courtyard at the opposite end of the living room with minimalist white walls to showcase contemporary artwork