By Ken Yeang
I have talked about Ken Yeang before, if you want to know about him, please check these links where I explained some of his works.
In this essay, i will be talking about another great work by Ken Yeang: the Reynolds House. This house is located in Nunsajaya, Johor Bharu, Malaysia. It last remodellation was in 2015, but the house has been existing since 1985 and Ken Yeang has been living in there for 35 years.
The site area is more or less 181.7 m2 .
The building consists of a public domain that houses the family area, a games room and semi-outdoor patio and a private wing that consists of the bedrooms, a study room and a sun deck.
The orientation of the house can be changed in order to satisfy the demands of its owners.
The house is composed by a uniform space, its flexible open plan layout allows that the 9 usable rooms can be converted for different functions in the future. There are no assigned places. In general, the space is divided in two floors: in the first floor we locate a huge room, which contains the kitchen and some livingrooms, and at the other part of the swimming pool, two big rooms and a corridor. On top floor there is only one room, which I guess is the office. The whole building is surrounded by a very green garden and at the back there is a garage.
As most structures made by Ken Yeang, this building has lots of ecological features: cross ventilation, sun shading devices, rain water harvesting, evaporative cooling…
I don’t think we can see clearly a rhythm in this building, but we could think there is somehow a bit in between columns.
Even though most part of the space is not symmetrical, we can still find some axles. For example: the view from the livingroom.
There is no symetry in this house beyond the different shapes of the rooms, the building as a whole does not have symmetry.
We can observe a huge square surrounded by smaller rectangles and withna smaller square on top.
We can use a square as a module because the house is made by straight lines, regular and simple forms as squares and rectangles.
The construction of the house was probably made with a grid, as it is a good tool to distribute every single space in a building.
The house is composed by straight lines, we can’t point out any presence of irregular or organic shapes.
Even if it might look like some parts of the house could be taken away without damaging the whole structure, the reality is that every single part is important, as they mean a different usable room to the house.
Even though I am not sure, I think the center of the house is the pool, more specifically, the water. This element is very present in the whole building, not only in the outside, where the pool separates the livingroom from the bedrooms, but also inside, where we can find a waterfall (the sound of the water gives a calm feeling).
This building follows, what I believe is, the International Style ( anarchitectonical style from the 20th Century) that used simply geometry and a lack of ornamentation. This building follows the style completely, therefore it is equilibrated.
In this picture, we can see the limits between the inside of the house and the outside, the window walls. At the back of the picture, we can point out the wall that limits the private space (Reynold’s house) from the public space (the street).
Ken Yeang tries to take advantage from natural light, a common thing in eco-architecture, this way it reduces the electricity use and bill!
The house has windows for walls, every room in this place is reached by sunlight, some rooms more directly than others.
We can point out the contrast as the house is located in the middle of a vegetated colourful place, full of organic shapes, whereas the building is colourless and keeps a geometrical structure, made by straight lines.
The color is given by the very green plants, which are around all the space; the decorative elements from inside the house, such as chairs, paintings, etc; an from the led lights from the swimming pool, which are more present at night.
The rest of the buildings is painted in white.
The very few façades that we can find in the house are plain white. Even though from the pictures I can tell vey well, I would say the façades are not of continuous cladding but made of panels (they look somehow plastic and shinny).
The house is quite grand compared to what we are used to see in sustainable architecture.
We can see a little girl at the end of the picture, she seems to be 10 years old, if we have into account that children this age are more or less 1,5m, we can conclude that the ground floor is around 3m high. The house has two floors, therefore it might be 6m high.