Insight House: A Masterpiece of Space Optimization and Minimalism in Subang Jaya

by J. Parker

Amidst the unique challenges of the late Covid-19 pandemic, a remarkable remodelling project emerged in the Malaysian satellite town of UEP Subang Jaya. "Insight House," a vivid example of space optimization and minimalist design, was conceived with the aim of offering residents a unique insight into the essence of living.

About the Project

Insight House is a small remodelling project for a corner lot within the row houses of UEP Subang Jaya, a satellite town outside of Kuala Lumpur developed in the late 1980s. The built-up area of the original house was approximately 130 square meters, and the finished project expanded it to around 185 square meters.

The project took place in early 2022, towards the end of the Covid pandemic, when people were eager to leave their homes, and construction materials were in high demand due to supply shortages. A young couple, who had lived on the property throughout the pandemic and endured several lockdowns, turned to Core Design Workshop, the architects of this project. The primary concern of the couple was that despite its layout, the original house felt stifling and claustrophobic for just the two of them and their dog.

Due to budget constraints and rising construction costs, Core Design Workshop's original approach was to challenge conventional user expectations and focus exclusively on the essential needs of the homeowners, rather than their desires. This led to the conception of "minimizing" as a guiding principle.

The original house was stripped down to its basic structure, with only the staircase and roof remaining. Fully glazed walls were added to the front and rear extensions, without windows. Internally, the house was divided into two linear blocks: an inner block and an outer block.

Inner Block

All rooms were positioned in this inner block, running along the adjacent plot, with bathrooms at both ends of the block. Each room has glass doors that open to the opposite side of the house - the outer block.

Outer Block

This linear double-volume outdoor area houses an open dining area and a kitchen, accompanied by partially covered garden areas at both ends. To ensure sufficient daylight and ventilation in this space, openings were drilled into the outer walls. Above the open kitchen, the extended living room serves as the primary bedroom, penetrating into this part of the house and breaking the monotony of the linear double-volume space.

The design eliminates the need for curtains in the rooms, as they are equipped with fully glazed doors and windows. Privacy is ensured through the strategic placement of pierced openings in the outer walls, allowing glimpses of the outside world.

In Insight House, the deliberate intent is to maintain a clear distinction between the interior and exterior spaces, even though they exist in mutual dependence. Nestled within the whitewashed exterior shell, both the inhabitable interiors and outdoor spaces are protected from the harsh tropical climate and bustling environment outside.

The primary goal of Insight House is not to blur the boundaries between indoor and outdoor spaces or to emphasize form and aesthetics. Instead, it aims to express the richness of what lies inside and redefine spatial experiences.

"To gain insight into the house, one simply needs to step inside."

Insight House is another remodelling project in the 'Inside the Houses' series by Core Design Workshop.

Courtesy of: Core Design Workshop and Bricksbegin (Photographer)

Insight House

Insight House

Insight House

Insight House

Insight House

Insight House

Insight House

Insight House

Insight House


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