Kee Yen Architect

Kee Yen Architect

Shah Alam, MY


Rounded Corner House in Malaysia

Located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 'Fillet House' is a three-story private house consisting of six bedrooms and a dance hall owned by a young couple. The fillet idea was to maximise the corner-lot building plinth through a series of design approaches that responded to the client's brief and its contexts. Terminology in design, a fillet is a rounded corner or rounded edge. The main four corners of the house are being filleted or rounded to soften the original allowed cubic mass.  The filleted corner achieved wholeness and streamlining the building form externally. The building mass was then configured in response to the tropics, designated programmes and its neighbourhood with subtracted volumes for open terraces and voids.

Masses are subtracted from their original to create an openness which allowing for day-light penetrations and bring cross-ventilation closer to happens within its layout when glazed doors and windows are fully opened. Natural light enters the house across the levels, from open terraces and master lounge at second floor level to the living hall at the ground floor level through a tempered laminated glass floor and void openings at its first-floor level next to the dance hall. Meanwhile, the dance hall, living and dining hall occupying the centre of the layout and it connects all other essential spaces in the house. This minimises the need for long corridors by using the halls as the transition spaces between the rooms. 

The bedrooms and open terraces face northwest towards the setting sun were designed with a minimal strip of openings. A high-volume air well where the sculptural spiral staircase located is faces northeast with a large glass panel. Southwest facing front façade is introduced with horizontal sun shading devices, aluminium fin running through its façade as a design feature. The recessed space at the frontage of the house becomes a garage and it can be converted into a veranda for family activities. Externally, the sliding timber screen not only acting as the sun shading screen but also portrays security and privacy to the occupants. The local wood, balau was used to forming the timber screen and ceiling at a sectional cut of 50mm x 50mm. Each of the square section cut was placed and aligned with an intersection of two circular stainless-steel rod at the top and bottom before framing them up within the bold metal frame. Eventually, it manipulates different layers and screens to romanticise its architectural spatial experiences.

The crafted metal railing wrapping the concrete spiral staircase was a continual flow of the filleted corners. The metal plate was laser-cut in a factory and welded on-site to form and craft the curvatures. The solidness of the spiral form being isolated with random vertical metal plate rails adding another layering effect to the interior. This sculpted spiral stair with a backdrop of large glazing is framing and inviting the green scenes from outside to inside. The shadows filled this volume poetically, especially in the morning.

The crafted thin railing was designed using a spray-painted metal plate. It was bent, formed and wrapped on site after the completion of the concrete spiral staircase. It was nearly a total hand-crafted railing by two skilful metal crafters on site. The metal plate was laser-cut in flat sheets and delivered to the site for installation. Welding on-site to form and craft the curvatures being a challenging process to achieve the desired radius and heights.

Viewing the building from the street level, a staggered 'filleted mass' was elevated vigorously from its surrounding. The design of the roof reinterpreted the typical pitch roof found in tropical houses. It comes with an enlarged concrete gutter at its edges rather than a long overhang to achieve the completeness of the filleted geometry, while effectively designed for water runoff. The palettes of materials combined the white, black, and grey curved solid planes with touches of timber and transparency of glasses, streamlining a form which is manly standing out within its neighbourhood.

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Status: Built
Location: Kuala Lumpur, MY
Firm Role: Architect
Additional Credits: Photography by Pixelaw Photography

Architectural Design Team: Kee Yen, Asrafizie & Zhi Xin

Structural Engineer: THCS Engineering Studio

Contractor: Zhen Ye Projects Sdn Bhd

Aluminium Specialist: Trend Thermal Windows and Doors Sdn Bhd

Film by Pixelaw Photography