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Vernacular as a model for contemporary design

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1. Asian Architecture [ARC 2213/2234] PROJECT 1: CASE STUDY Vernacular as a Model for Contemporary Design: A Study of Integration of Malay Vernacular Design and Modern…
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  • 1. Asian Architecture [ARC 2213/2234] PROJECT 1: CASE STUDY Vernacular as a Model for Contemporary Design: A Study of Integration of Malay Vernacular Design and Modern Design in the Deck House to Achieve Thermal Comfort in Tropical Climate NAME: LIM JIAN JUN STUDENT ID: 0316867 LECTURER: MS ALIA SUBMISSION DATE: 9th June 2015
  • 2. 2 TABLE OF CONTENT PAGE Abstract 1. Introduction 2. Overview of The Deck House, Janda Baik , Pahang 3. Overview of Tropical Architecture 3.1. Tropical Climates And Topography 3.2. Design Considerations 3.3. Malay Traditional House Features 3.4. Modern Contemporary House Features 4. Integration as Solution to Achieve Thermal Comfort 4.1. Built Form 4.2. Orientation and Positioning of Building 4.3. Openings 4.4. Building Material 4.5. Light Weight Construction 5. Conclusion 6. Reference 3 4 5 6 6 7 8 10 12 12 14 15 16 18 19 20
  • 3. 3 Abstract The purpose of this study paper is to analyze the integration of architectural design of Malay Vernacular architecture and contemporary architecture in terms of its design features to achieve thermal comfort in tropical climate (objective). The Malay vernacular house is deliberately designed to cool the building through acknowledgement of site responses and environmental context in this warm and humid tropical climate (statement). With urbanization rapidly advances in this fast developing era, the Malay vernacular architecture often replaced by the modern movement due to the materialistic experiences and social housing to fulfill economical demands, thus losing its cultural and functions of the design. Lacking of understanding and respect toward nature and vernacular considerations led to poor relation of built site and its nature contexts, creating a barrier which causes discomfort to the occupants (issue). There are cases of built architecture intends to bring back the vernacular design and incorporate into modern design. The Deck House which built at Janda Baik, Pahang is used as a precedent case to study the effectiveness of internal comfort level through analysis of the design forms, openings, spatial arrangement and materials. In order to assist the validation of research, a comparative study of architectural designs between the traditional Malay house and contemporary architecture was attempted (methodology) to evaluate how The Deck House employs the Malay Architecture climatic design in modern context (case study). Findings of the research discovers the use of Malay vernacular element in contemporary design has touted the favor of maintaining internal comfort level through passive designs. Literature reviews from varies reference sources reinforce the idea of improvisation the traditional designs with modern features used in contemporary housing can achieve good result in regulating heat in the building without eliminating the traditional design elements used in the Malay house (result). This was seen as The Deck House responding to the climate despite of its semi-open and glass box construction, largely promoting energy saving system in the modern housing. While converging the importance of cultural features and natural environment, The Deck house was successfully designed beyond the cultural and climatic boundary with new solutions and technology. It demonstrates and introduces a new emergence explored in Malaysia’s contemporary architecture with appreciation of Malay vernacular architecture. The integration of vernacular values promotes occupants and designers’ responsibility to conserve Malaysia’s identity in architecture which reflects the way of living of locals adapting to its environment, culture and user needs. (conclusion)
  • 4. 4 1 Introduction The traditional Malay vernacular house is being classified as one of the richest element in Malaysia's cultural heritage and it is also exquisitely designed to accommodate the hot and humid tropical climate in Malaysia. The Malay vernacular design takes site responses and environmental needs into account by responding to the surrounding contexts. The design does not just fulfilling human needs but also helps in achieving thermal comfort in tropical buildings. However, the design movement of contemporary architecture often overrides the vernacular design approach in this fast growing industrialized era. Society today often attracted to luxurious forms and economical contemporary designs driven by architectural publications. Buildings with lack of environmental and contextual consideration neglects the passive cooling strategies implemented in vernacular designs but often replaced by machines to achieve thermal comfort in contemporary buildings. Therefore, it is important to have understanding towards vernacular design and utilized them as a model in designing contemporary architectures due to its reflection of climatic adaptation design reacting to the nature of tropical climate. The integration of vernacular features and contemporary design in buildings will indeed promotes energy-efficient building designs in tropical countries and assures in shaping a greener, sustainable future. To further analyze this research area, the Deck House which located at Janda Baik, Pahang was selected as the site to conduct case study as it is one of the contemporary design which was integrated with Malay vernacular architectural features in Malaysia. The features of the Malay vernacular design integrated in the Deck House are highlighted to further discuss how integration of both contemporary and vernacular designs are made to achieve thermal comfort. Detailed analysis and studies are conducted for every single vernacular features utilized in the selected site. This case study paper will evaluate the effectiveness of achieving human thermal comfort through application and implementation of Malay vernacular design features into contemporary design. Research Question(s): Main: Why is it needed to design toward contemporary vernacular architecture in relation to achieve thermal comfort? 1.) What are the design consideration of tropical houses? 2.) Why use Malay vernacular design as an approach for contemporary design? 3.) What are the Malay vernacular architectural features used in the Deck House to achieve thermal comfort? 4.) Why and how the features are adapted in the design? 5.) Responding to the natural factors, how does each of the features helped in the integrated designs in tropical climates? 6.) Why is integration needed and how does the integration improves the living condition of The Deck House?
  • 5. 5 2 Overview of The Deck House, Janda Baik The Deck house is designed by Ar. Choo Gim Wah for a discreet owner with the idea of having a permanent getaway from the hassles. The Deck House is situated on a forested land near to the foothills of Genting, which hugs the terrain of the forested surrounding unobtrusively (Choo, 2012). The design of the house is very much inspired by the slopes of the terrains and the surrounding, with design principles of a tropical Malay traditional house in modern contexts (Choo, 2012). Built with 2 and half storey tall with 3 bedrooms and spanning a total area of 372sqm on the terrains, The Deck house highlights the concept of having a semi-outdoor design in the forested surrounding, focusing on the contextual surroundings through blurring of the barrier between the interior and the exteriors. The house is also designed with lightweight materials and glasses so that it sits lightly on the hill and merging into the natural surroundings, without much interference to the slope and its site context. The feature about this house is that it functions like a Malay House even if it was built with glasses. The architect takes consideration of applying Malay house climatic design in The Deck house to cool the building effectively without the use of technological systems. This clean and unadorned house does not just built to suit the local climate, it also understatedly complements the beauty and the tranquility of the nature, giving a thorough exquisite experience for the occupants. Figure 1 The Deck House standing on the sloe of hill at Janda Baik Forest. (source: Archdaily, 2013)
  • 6. 6 3 Overview of Tropical Architecture 3.1 Tropical Climate Situated at the heart of South East Asia, Malaysia is a classic equatorial country which experiences warm and high humidity climate throughout the year. The typical climate temperature ranges from 20°C to 35°C on average and also experiences seasonal patterns of rainfall due to monsoon wind seasons. Malaysia experiences two monsoon seasons every year, which are the Northeast Monsoon and the Southwest Monsoon. The Northeast Monsoon happens around from November to March, while the Southwest Monsoon occurs from May to September. In between two Monsoon season there is transition period in March and October where normal rain still continue to fall. Wind in Malaysia is usually light and more than half of the land area are covered by the tropical forest. The geographical topography of Malaysia affects the microclimates in different zones of the land, ranges from coastal regions, inland and then highlands as shown in Figure 1. The altitude creates temperature difference and rainfall patterns in all these three zones (WWF, 2010). The lower are has smaller temperature differences between day and night and the rainfall pattern is more distinctive where it is more prone to have increase in intensity of heavy precipitation and storms. While inland area such as forest has greater temperature variation. Water content in the inland is high and causes higher humidity and is warmer. Highlands such as Pahang hills is misty and covered with clouds at a higher altitude, reaching 75% of humidity level and a higher temperature variation too. (Marshall Cavendish Corporation, 2008). Figure 2 Altitude Zonation of Tropical Forest (WWF, 2010)
  • 7. 7 3.2 Design Consideration for Tropical Climate Weather is conclusively hot and humid and that makes shading and ventilation a critical role in dwellings design to provide thermal comfort to the occupants. The dwellings in the tropical countries are usually designed with naturally cross-ventilated spaces, with the utilization of louvered doors, windows and openings; angled sunshades and eaves that keep the sun at bay; vertical stilts that elevates the structure and helps to capture higher breeze and prevent flood or soil damage; and steep roofs to shed direct sun and heavy rainfall. With the needs to perform the sustainability of dwellings and also the preservation of nature environment, the built environments should have climatic considerations in design to promote nature cooling and effective shading as modern tropical architecture design strategy. The main design consideration of a tropical architecture is very important as they are the factors to design a dwelling with focus to achieve thermal comfort for the occupants and keeping the house in optimal condition. The 5 main design considerations of a tropical architecture suggested by HPCB are as below. (Jennifer Sinclair, 2014) (a) Orientation of building (b) Envelope of building (c) Ventilation (d) Materials (e) Site Context To respond effectively to climatic conditions, building structures should take these considerations into account to prioritize the employment of shade, maximize ventilation and minimize heat absorption, as the relative air humidity is so high and registered temperatures remain constant throughout the day (Olgyay 1963; Rapoport, 1969). The next section of the paper will discuss how the design considerations are applied into traditional and modern tropical architecture. In hot climates, the air movement does not reduce the temperature but causes a sensation of freshness which is due to convection heat loss and to gradual increases in water evaporation throughout the body. Consequently, as the movement of air increases, the upper limit of predefined comfort also increases due to the restitution of comfortable temperature parameters and the feeling of freshness caused by the referenced evaporation is an adequate solution to counter high temperatures. Therefore, openings to the exterior, through light structures that allow the maximum possible flow of air is a plausible solution (Olgyay, 1963; Slavid, 2009).
  • 8. 8 3.3 Malay Traditional House According to Lim Jee Yuan’s The Malay House: Rediscovering Malaysia’s Indigenous Shelter System. Malaysia, architects nowadays uses Malay traditional house as a study paradigm for its excellent interpretation of environmental design, design versatility and building systems (Lim, 1987). It is exquisitely designed to accommodate the local climate in relation to the design considerations of tropical architecture and it is still utilized in the architecture today. Malay traditional house focuses a lot on natural ventilation with the study of air movement ventilates from the outside into the building and then escapes the building with the trapped warm air. It is the most important feature of the design to keep the building cool throughout the year. From that the Malay house developed its very own identity of the built form and spatial design to allow ventilation across and throughout the building. Solar control design plays an important role to keep interior spaces from direct solar and prevent radiant heat through roof design, materials and surrounding landscape. Figure 3 Typical Malay vernacular house (source: Lim, 1987)
  • 9. 9 Traditional society of the “kampung” gained comprehensive knowledge of ecology balance and nature’s method and are utilized prevalently in construction of Malay vernacular house. (Lim, 1987). This design-with-nature traditional Malay house is well resembles the climatic design of the house. The built form of a Malay house is generally long and separated in parts to create and acts like funnels channeling air into designed spaces. Malay house are usually light weight in construction to reduce heat stored in the massive contemporary material for example concrete wall. The house is elevated with building orientated according to sun path and wind direction. Low thermal capacity materials such as wood are obtained directly from local resources to build houses. Double slope roof and roof space are designed for natural ventilation, while large roof overhangs are used in Malay traditional house to prevent direct or radiant sunlight and downpours. Figure 4 Cross ventilation and wind shadow study of Malay houses (source: Building Science, 2014)
  • 10. 10 3.4 Modern House The climatic weather design strategies have been utilized not just only in traditional architecture but also in the early modernism (Ossen et al., 2008). In Lessons from Modernism: Environmental Design Considerations in 20th Century Architecture 1925-70, Architect Kevin Bone was the curator and he discussed about the misconception towards earlier tropical modernism put environmental considerations secondly after the main design mission. Modern movement at the earlier stage does have evident of the great architects were in fact much attuned to the cycles of nature (Bone, 2013). This is to clarify and to distinguish between modern architecture and modern corporate buildings. Only when the invention of technological systems comes into the introduction, the design was very much influenced and became less salubrious towards the environment. Figure 5 Climatic Responsive Cocoon House by Paul and Ralph, 1951 (source: Kelly, 2013) Because of the misinterpretation, contemporary architecture designed are out of context and became environmental disruptive. With advancement of technology, the accessibility to resources is easier and constructability is more productive. And compared to the material used in the traditional design is massive and lasting. With the ease of technology and accessibility, the contemporary architecture are built without much consideration to the nature environment, thus increasing consumption of energy to cool the building mechanically.
  • 11. 11 Modern tropical architecture has been simply an adaptation of modern trends in design and construction responding to climate, taking some changes in the lifestyle to adapt to the tropical climate. Often, modern design uses louvers and double skin to prevent direct sun. Design a;so explores more on open plans with open and semi-open spaces for ventilation, such as verandas and balconies (Bay, 2006, p. 3). Stacking of forms on top of another was used as an alternative to create sheltered spaces and minimizes heat absorption through the façade envelope. Design of wall corners were being studied to allow walls as part of the shading component to give shade to each other as shown in Figure xx. Figure 6 Angular corners to give shade to one another (source: Museo Tamayo, 2009) Modern houses also uses water bodies such as roof pond is introduced as technology for passive cooling purpose. Others would be using passive cooling design strategies to regulate the temperature in the interior spaces. Conclusively, modern tropical architecture is more like acting like independent units which evolved the design strategies mainly in shading devices, openings, construction methods and material properties.
  • 12. 12 4 Integration as Solution to achieve Thermal Comfort According to the ‘Vernacular Architecture in the Twenty-First Century: Theory Education and Practice’, the conference aims ‘to further the debate on the importance of vernacular architecture study and throughout the twenty-first century, not as a study of past traditions, but as a contribution to new methods, integral solutions and achievements for the future built environment’ (Asquith,2006). This is where integration comes into places providing a new alternatives in modern designs involving design-with-nature to provide for human comfort in temperature. The following sections discuss the features of integrated design in achieving thermal comfort in tropical climate. 4.1 Built Form The integrated design of a building block of the house revolves mainly around the spatial organization of the house with open plan layout derived from the Malay houses. This is to allow efficient natural cross ventilation with minimal walls obstructing the channel of the wind flow and it also provides optimal use of spaces while encircle multi-functional spaces in an interior. The Deck House has utilized the same open plan concept in the modern context, having spaces free up internally with partition walls are kept to a minimum. This design creates connection through the unobstructed spaces and effectively utilized such spaces as passage of ventilation and allowing moving air circulates throughout the entire building. Trapped warm air are discharged out of the building and solves the relative humidity of the surroundings and thus prevent the building up of heat in the house. Figure 7 Open plan design without wall partitions (source: Archdaily, 2013)
  • 13. 13 The building form of an integrated design suggests high ceiling with double volume spaces (or more) to create stacking of the ventilation inside the dwelling. The stack ventilation promotes the buoyancy of warm air to rise and discharge through openings at higher outlets. Cooler air outside the house enters and replaces the rising warm air through designed openings and inlets placed near the floor surface. This creates thermal pressure differences in the volume of space and generate circulation of air inside the dwelling. Figure 8 Integration of high ceiling spaces for ventilation (sources: KALAM,1986 ;Archdaily, 2013) Other than the sufficient ventilation in the house, winds are encouraged to flow into and through the house. The elongated built form of the Deck house is one integration of vernacular contemporary design acting as a funnel to draw wind across the building. The extension of the decks
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