Situated in the upper middle class suburban of Taman Tun Dr. Ismail that was developed in the early 70’s, 23 Terrace is a new double-storey terrace house reconfigured in place of its single-storey predecessor. During day, the façade is a typical contemporary terrace house with large openings, glass balustrade and minimalist security door grille and gate. At dusk, the house transforms into a lantern, casting surrealistic shadows on the cement rendered porch.
It is a simple design exercise of form follow function where the need of the occupants takes precedence. On the ground floor, the living, dining and kitchen converge in an open concept layout and a suspended split staircase made of steel occupies a minimal part of the living space. The living area has a feature wall of exposed brick wall which is one of the few remnants from the old house. The concrete ceiling is left unplastered to reduce VOC emission. A flexible guest /music room with an attached bathroom is accessible via two large panels of folding-sliding doors.
The dry and wet kitchens are connected by a long stretch of marble counter top and stainless steel cabinets. The centerpiece of the dining/living is the bespoke dining table carved out of a slab of suar timber cross section.
On the first floor, the split staircase branches out into the terrace roof garden on one side and the private sanctum on the other on the first floor. This arrangement allows guests to access the open space without compromising the privacy of the master bedroom. The master bedroom has an en suite bathroom set within glass enclosure, which visually amplifies the space.
The el fresco space on the balcony is designed to celebrate the tropical weather, with two-thirds cement rendered floor and a strip of grass just before the frameless glass balustrade. Ten feet high walls flank the entire length of the terrace, with open-faced brick walls bordering the grass strip for privacy and acoustic reasons.
To optimise indoor air exchange, there are two customised wind turbines combined with steel framed glazed pyramids attached to built-in vents that provide the house with “stack effect” ventilation. A 3-degree differential is enough to spin the turbines by convection.
The new form and height of 23 Terrace are rejuvenating revisions of the 70’s single-storey terrace. It is a baby step towards the greening of the neighbourhood, an attempt to educate the community about the importance of green retrofitting.