The comfortable house growing with its users’ needs
The Ecohouse is designed to meet the needs of a young Malaysian couple with a natural assumption to become a family, moreover a family that continues to grow. For the house serving this purpose it has to be affordable for young people with low budget, and in the same time to allow its own expanding providing the optimal comfort for the further family growth. In order to maintain this goal, the project is set to allow a space-growing concept, to preserve its status of both the low cost and the comfort concept; to meet the ecology, sustainability and energy-efficiency standards, and to become also context-friendly by building according to the surrounding potentials.
The location of the sustainable residential house
The project location is the newly creasing settlement, Parit Melana, situated near Malacca City, the capital city of the Malaysian state of Malacca, more precisely in the 15 km radius from the town center. The location itself is feature by the position of the North South Highway, which is cutting it at two different pieces. The weather is hot and humid throughout the year with high rainfall. Temperatures generally range between 30°C – 35°C during the day and 27°C – 29°C at night. Malacca enjoys a lot of sunlight during the day so it’s always warm and inviting to walk around the city.
The Low cost program
Lowering the overall costs can be achieved by using recycled materials and materials encountered in situ, and by preparing the house equipment so the natural resources could to do the rest. It means using solar power to provide cheep green electricity and warm water, including win in the house ventilation system, collecting rainwater to serve as a liquid for interior cooling system and for hydrant in case of fire. This few proposals of the low cost program are in the same time the steps leading to eco-friendly solution.
Preferred materials for construction
Monolithic reinforced concrete for the skeleton is the most widely used and practical construction material. It works very well combined with stabilised earth tiles as an infill for filling the walls and ceiling construction. The tiles are made from soil mixed with stabilising material such as Portland cement, formed into blocks under high pressure, and cured in the shade; recycled construction waste like bricks and tiles, instead of conventional aggregates. This material can have a large range implementation, in almost for the roof construction. Roof substrate can be used for the extension greenery. Another important material is the variety of substrates for extensive green roofs, made from crushed brick and Scoria, the dark colored volcanic rock which is often used for high-temperature insulation. This kind of insulation can be used for the North-oriented roofs which are not suitable for solar panels implementation. As a complementary, but still immensely important insulation is Cellulose insulation made either from recycling paper, cotton or even from recycling denim. floor coverings from reused wood waste, and from rejected floor tiles.
The Growing house concept
This concept is based on idea of sectional adding extra spaces to the starting phase of the house. The starting phase should be enough to meet the needs of a Malaysian young couple and to host their parents who occasionally come to visit, also to serve as a preparation for the future extensions.
The modules are designed to be adaptable for the future increasing, and to be applicable for multiple functions. One module could contain the larger dimension master bedroom, with passing trough wardrobe and attached bathroom, or could consist of two children‘s rooms with sharing bathroom.
Alternatives of the Growing concept
For the further family growth the modular concept is allowing the extension of one module in case of one or two children, two modules extension in case of more children or if they grow up and need more space, four modules extension for tree generations family, and in extreme cases even a five modules extension. All this can be made according to the needs and preferences of each family. This way the starting phase could be the same for every house but the variation of the second, third or fourth phase is in certain way predictably unpredictable.
The multiple benefits of an exterior water element
The Ecohouse has a pleasant garden with an implemented rainwater reservoir in the form of a shallow pool, with a depth of about 20 cm. Together with the water plants the pool is forming an important aesthetic aspect for the healthy social life. It can be used as a playing pool for children or as a hydrant in case of fire, as the overflowing excess water can be stored in the underground tank. The garden is forming a terrace surrounded by the house from three sides and it is semi covered by beams, while the west corner, the front and the first floor terraces are covered by the ceiling and vertically placed blinds, protecting the outdoor spaces from overheating.
Zoning of the house
The building is designed to separate public areas from the private ones. The public areas serve for daily activities and they consist of a living room, a dry kitchen with a breakfast desk, a dining area, a spacious entrance hall and a semi-outdoor living area for gathering of guests, while the private areas are divided into two other parts, the day and the night zone.
The day zone consists of a wet kitchen and a wet terrace, designed for dish washing and food preparation where the ladies can spend time while cooking, and of an outdoor dining area which can be accessed either from the wet kitchen or terrace. The further components of the daily private zone are also the laundry washing room behind the house, and the pantry behind the staircase.
The night zone is organised at the ground floor, as a parent’s room or a guest room, and at the first floor as a master bedroom, both with attached bathrooms. The double-slanted roof above the first floor ( height of 2,8 m to 3,3 m), has a potential to became the second level platform for the master bedroom, or for the future children‘s room, so that it could serve for sleeping while the space below can be used as a playing room or a workroom.