The Development of a Sustainably Responsive Ultra Low Energy Terrace Housing for the Tropics Incorporating the Raised Floor Innovation

M.M. Tahir, M.F.M. Zain, K. Sopian, Mastor Surat, N.A.G. Abdullah


The Malaysian culture has undergone tremendous transformation over the last 30 years. Urban
development and living especially in developing countries has shown many crises developed due to
human habitations redevelopment. Moral degradation and cultural erosion has become a common
sight. In Malaysia, the ubiquitous terrace house is undeniably the most popular and affordable
housing type. It has long been considered as one of the densest forms of property development
and has become the common typology of accommodating the masses for this country. However, its
design has been plague with various issues for decades. Currently, Malaysians are living separate
and individual lives in the sea of congested modern housing. The housing community will be
forever plagued by the mercy of crime, climate, cultural tensions and threats from accidents if the
current situation is not improved. Terrace housing design in Malaysia has been associated among
others to problems related to poor design, thermal comfort, safety issues, unsightly renovations,
social disunity and cultural misfit. In contrary to the sustainable tropical architecture with sun
shading devices, ventilation, openings and the use of local material such as timber, terrace houses
have been designed as masonry and reinforced concrete boxes fitted with air conditioner. The
modern day terrace house whilst designed has also perhaps overlooked one of the most important
elements of a tropical house that is the raised floor. The traditional raised floor design implicated
many issues such as ventilation, lighting, thermal comfort, safety and security as well as social
aspects. In Malaysia especially, the introduction of the stilt component could create a more
integrated and responsive social culture long lost and yearned for. Therefore, this research intends
to explore the sustainable aspects of our traditional architecture in creating a uniquely new design
for in-house habitation as well as providing for an aesthetically pleasing look. It suggests a possible
and promising way of increasing the livability of terrace housing with a sustainable approach and
with the incorporation of the raised floor innovation.


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