Tropical Living in Malaysia
“… houses are ultimately about people. Every dwelling symbolizes the dreams, the aspirations, hopes, and beliefs of its owners.” As many of us might agree, dwelling, according to author Professor Robert Powell, is the most important of all human structure and is the most challenging commissions for architects. House has always been a special topic to Powell especially if we see decades of his life contributing to the publication of twelve books about houses in Tropical Asia.
On his most recent publication titled “The Tropical Malaysian House 1”, Professor Robert Powell explores specific dwellings in Malaysia that suit to be labeled as “tropical”. The criteria have long been held since his discussion with the late architect Geoffrey Bawa in 1995 including how a house should emphasize living out of doors, preserving surrounding trees, as well as using minimum amount of glass. But to the needs of the shifting era of living, the criteria expanded into 12 numbers of attribute that a tropical house should possess. Natural ventilation, ability to harvest rainwater, wide overhanging eaves, and air-conditioning on selected areas in the house, are some of the attributes to be possessed by the 25 houses curated to be featured in this book. Furthermore, ecological issues and sustainability aspect are taken into consideration in responding to climate change.
By selecting houses that were built from 2009 to 2018, this book also tries to exhibit houses that fulfill the needs of contemporary living culture within the tropical context. We might see featured houses that explore vernacular concept but executed with contemporary design and materials used. This book will serve as a good start for those considering building a new dwelling and will, of course, inspire architects in the tropics to design houses as a shelter and a place to live.
More information about the newly released book “The Tropical Malaysian House 1” can be found here.