architect, artist, academic


competition entry for terrace house typology

awarded Honourable Mention for 2023 AA Prize for Unbuilt Work

in collaboration with Amanda Lau, Edmund Limadinata
organised by Sime Darby Property and Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia (PAM)

What does the future of the house in Malaysia look and feel like in 2030? As the world economy is slowly recovering from the pandemic of 2021 and that the world is heading towards catastrophic climate change, we can’t help but to ask what is the role of the future house at the face of these challenges.

The terrace house, the Malaysian answer to the suburban life, the equivalent of townhouse is an attached housing divided by party walls sharing democratic access to the street. This has coincided with the increase of car ownership where the front yard is often dominated with two car bays. This turned the living room inwards, where it is often overlooking the cars.

However it wasn’t always like this, whilst the terrace house came to its fruition in the 1970s, the typology originated from colonial shophouse in the 1800s in Penang and Malacca with its best form with central courtyard which we all now cherish. Whilst there is no provision for parking as the automobile has yet been invented; the shophouse provides for a five-foot space ‘kaki lima’ for pedestrian traffic, immediately connecting the house to the lively public life and economy.

Our idea came from merging the best qualities of both the terrace house and the courtyard shophouse. As ride-sharing becoming more common and with the environmental benefits of lower car use, we propose swapping out the second carbay for a flexible space that connects to the street life.This fronting extension; can be used from variety of uses such as home office, homecooked eatery, craft workshop and can even be upgraded to connect to the balcony and additional flexible space at other levels to serve as homestay lodging – contributing to the street life and local economy.

Frontier Rowhouse adapts the idea that the family unit, ergo one’s home as the first basic building block of society, and by taking on its responsibility to engage the urban life by being the frontier of community at large as well as at adopting leading edge sustainable ideas, construction methodologies and technologies.

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