Planter Box House


Planter Box House in Kuala Lumpur was designed to celebrate a sustainable lifestyle and to allow the growing of food for self-sufficiency. Multiple passive design strategies create a low-energy house. But also, planter boxes and landscaped areas around the building are home to 40 types (and counting) of edible plants. The cascading planter boxes allow the vegetation to spread from the street all the way to the roof of the house, in the form a continuous green landscape. Additionally they serve as stormwater retention areas and irrigation reservoirs.

The facade design resulted from a combination of modern structural technology – Bubbledeck – and split bamboo as concrete formwork. While the Bubbledeck gives extra thermal protection to the house, the split bamboo creates a unique cultural texture and also symbolises the organic life of the house. The material for bamboo texture on the concrete facade was sourced from the aboriginal community called Temuan from Seremban, Malaysia. This commission enabled the local micro-community to be part of the contributing forces behind the design outcome.

The house owner actively participated from design to end of construction. To a great extent, this project was seen as a collaboration between client and designer. This process allowed a thorough transference of architectural knowledge and design intent from the architect to the user. As a result, it enables the owner to extend the house to the second phase of life. The house receives constant improvisations by the owners, such as the unique custom-made irrigation system.

Like a double-sided landscape, the planter box facade is utilised as a filter to redefine the internal and external spatial relationship. Today, Planter Box House serves as a platform for the owner to form knowledge and bonding with the surrounding community. It is currently part of an urban farming network around the neighborhood for the community to share food, waste and knowledge along with a celebrated lifestyle of self-sufficiency.

Furniture: Custom or refurbished. Lighting: Wong Lightings. Finishes: Feruni, Jotun, Sika, Bubbledeck. Fittings & Fixtures: JohnsonSuisse.

Photography: Ameen Deen