permeable spaces define ‘introverse’, a minimal home for an introverted architect in malaysia

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Core Design Workshop embraces introversion in MALAYSIAN HOME

Within a dense residential area of Subang Jaya, Malaysia, architect Chun Hooi Tan of Core Design Workshop has designed his own home by remodelling a one-story, semi-detached house from the 1970’s. Named ‘Introverse’, the residence establishes breathable open areas using permeable doors and minimal building materials including concrete, glass, and steel. Rather than following social norms, Introverse defies them and tests out a new type of living, one that is organized in a manner that is intrinsic to introversion, as opposed to the usual outward-looking house. 

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. With his contemporary art gallerist wife, Chun Hooi Tan carried out the inception, conceptualisation, design and construction, which lasted two years during the pandemic period. 

permeable spaces define 'introverse', a minimal home for an introverted architect in malaysia
‘introverse’ is situated in a serene environment with surrounding houses built in the 1980s | all images courtesy of Core Design Workshop / Chun Hooi Tan

suspended steel structure redefines the garden OF ‘introverse’

Core Design Workshop’s design of Introverse takes precedence in redefining the landscape of the house. The architecture studio started with a full-height linear garden wall, suspended on a steel structure, hovering above ground and running along 10 feet from the perimeter fencing, creating a new, walled garden within a garden. 

Separated from the outer landscape, the inner garden references 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 utilize and enjoy at the same time. It is within this walled area where the kitchen and the bathrooms are found and are integrated freely with no physical walls defining the individual spaces. On the opposite side of the garden, a linear cross-ventilation tunnel is created to detach the house from the adjacent neighbor.

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permeable glass windows with white steel

TUNNEL ZONE WITH permeable louveRs and perforated metals

Each room within this tunnel zone is divided by permeable, adjustable louvers and perforated metals, with a courtyard sitting as a chimney in the middle. This area contains a utility room, a foyer, a powder room, and a mezzanine playroom, making it another semi-outdoor space. All semi-outdoor spaces are arranged inwardly facing the core of the house, the living and dining room. This core space is flanked by two bedrooms on each side, and these three main rooms fundamentally make up the house.

The building is covered in new metal roofing while the original profile remained as is, and internally, the old complexed layout of the house is transformed into simple and minimal spaces. The choice of materials were minimized down to concrete, steel and glass, which universally are known as building materials but now used as architectural finishings. To illustrate this, the floor is finished with polished concrete right from the gate towards the main house. The polished concrete is also used as finishing gravel for the walled garden floor.

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operable glass doors allow seamless circulation to flow from semi outdoor kitchen to indoor dining space and living

The interior built-in wardrobe, bookshelf and kitchen islands were custom made in steel. All the doors in the house are in steel framed glass with no curtain covering, leaving it to express the nature of the material itself. The philosophy of minimalism is reflected on the spatial organization of the house, and is further expressed in its material selections, architecture finishings, built-ins, and interior furnishings to the curation of contemporary art. The residence’s minimalism is not a style, but an architectural proposal solution to contemporary needs and lifestyles.

‘In Introverse, we can be honest to ourselves, find our voice and define our own life, and that is the essence of minimalism. Our very own version of minimalism,’ says Chun Hooi Tan.

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courtyard on the opposite end of the living room with white minimal walls to highlight the contemporary art pieces

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