Design & Architecture

Made of concrete but one with the forest: check out ‘Tropical Box House’

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This is part of an ExpatGo editorial series featuring creative architecture in Malaysia and around Southeast Asia. 


Entry level

Set in a lush tropical jungle in Damansara Heights, this house, called Chempanai, was designed with a concrete egg-crate structure that surrounds the house to keeps the heat out and while allowing for the inflow of sunlight. The perforated nature of the ‘envelope’ also allows for the natural flora outside to grow in between the holes in the wall, blurring the boundaries between nature and the man-made structure.


Opens out to the forest

The enormous house, which has a land area of 10,500 sq ft and a built-up are of 7,500 sq ft, sits on a slope and the design takes advantage of this terrain to keep out humidity and dampness. Most of the house is elevated from the ground, at par with the canopy of the tropical forest.

Nestled within the crate-like structure are the pool and adjoining gardens so occupants can enjoy a cooling swim while being surrounded by verdant greenery. Beyond the pool and garden, there is a stunning view of the forest outside.


Living area and pool


The house is accessed via a bridge flanked by Albiza trees which opens to a living area. Also on entry level are the dining area and pool. One floor up are the bedrooms, while the garage and service area is located at the lower ground level.

A seemingly heavy concrete box, it touches the ground lightly, places itself among the trees and encourages the enduring landscape to grow within it.


Living area

Architects: WHBC Architects
Engineer: Projurutek Sdn Bhd
Builders: CHB Construction & Ming Seng Construction
Photographs: Kent Soh

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