Tessellar Blog

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

3.2 A Pioneer Project in Nong Chik

A typical layout with terrace houses and bungalows had been prepared for the site.

Dissatisfied with a conventional proposal, he asked us to prepare an alternative layout which we promptly did. Our layout had more units and a higher sales value than the previous one. With both the commercial and wider aims of the developer met, our layout was adopted.

For this Joint Venture between the State Government and a private developer, we had to present the proposal to the Chief Minister and the State Land Exco to get their support as the land-owner and co-developer. Having gone through this stage, the Planning and Building Approvals went through in the normal procedures.

Figure 3 Bird's eye view

At last, the first Honeycomb project.

What are the special features of the neighbourhood layout and why were they introduced?
In this layout, small groups of houses are laid out around communal courtyards in interconnected cul-de-sacs (figures 3-5). Three new types of houses - the quadruplex, sextuplex and duplex houses – were introduced as alternatives to terrace houses.

According to a commentary : “…small groups of houses are laid out around a communal courtyard like friends sitting around a table. This makes it easy for neighbours to get to know each other. Strangers entering a cul-de-sac would feel that they were entering a semi-private area, and furthermore they would be easily recognized as strangers by the residents. It’s like that in the kampong, people know each other; it’s not uncommon to greet a stranger and to politely ask what brought him."

Figure 4 Typical Honeycomb courtyard

"The loops and bends in the roads leading to the houses, less than 25 metres in any straight stretch, slow down cars to a walking speed. Furthermore, with the Honeycomb layout, parents can easily oversee their children playing in the courtyard in front of each home. Indeed, there are many ‘eyes on the street’ that can deter unwanted behaviour.”

“Giant, fast-growing trees will be planted in the courtyards to shade and cool the outdoors. All these factors will encourage parents to let their small children play outside. The courtyards not only serve as a recreational area, but are also suitable for weddings and any other community events”.
Located by the side of a hill and flanked by existing houses, the earthwork levels within the site were very much constrained and retaining walls had to be built. However, the major part of the retaining walls were built on the party walls of the blocks of houses largely hidden from view.

Figure 5 A half-courtyard

The houses launched in Phase 1 of the project were priced between RM295,000 and RM458,000. There were many teething problems in this project but the developer did not falter in overcoming all the obstacles. The first part of the project completed in late 2013 and the second in 2014.

Honeycomb Houses

The terrace house has been designed and redesigned so many times that there is not much room left for innovation. In contrast the polygonal cluster houses created by the Honeycomb layout have little in the way of precedence, especially in having to deal with deal with 60 and 120 degree angles. The houses in this Nong Chik project comprise mainly quadruplex, sextuplex and duplex houses.

Figure 6 A quadruplex house
A Quadruplex house from the courtyard looks like a semi-detached house.
Figure 7 The Quadruplex floor plan
In the quadruplex a residential block is split into four linked units, with a pair of houses facing one courtyard and the other pair facing another courtyard on the opposite side. Thus, approaching this house from one cul-de-sac, it gives the impression of being a semi-detached house. It has 1660sf built- up are sitting on a minimum of 1440sf of land and was priced in 2010 from RM297,500.

The living room and dining together with a kitchen, utility, store and bathroom are located on the ground floor, whilst a family room upstairs leads on to a Master Bedroom, two more bedrooms and a bathroom. The Master Bedroom has an ensuite bathroom.

Figure 8 A Sextuplex House
Figure 9 The sextuplex floor plan
In the sextuplex house, a residential block is split into six units separated by party walls, with a pair of houses facing one of three courtyards. Thus, approaching a sextuplex from any one cul-de-sac gives the appearance of a semi-detached house.

The Sextuplex house from the front also looks like a semi- detached house.

It has 2170sf built-up area sitting on at least 2070sf of land and was priced from RM388,500. The living room and dining together with a kitchen, utility, store and bathroom are located on the ground floor, whilst a family room upstairs leads on to a Master Bedroom with an attached bathroom, two more bedrooms and a bathroom.

Figure 10 A Duplex House
Figure 11 The duplex floor plan 

The duplex house is a semi-detached house which is linked back-to-back rather than side-to-side as is usually the case. It has a total built-up area of 2440sf sitting on 2290sf of land and was priced at RM508,000.

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