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we often receive land parcels whose potential would be to promote not luxury living but rather economic living. by the time we are done with the schematic designs the houses are to the brim, minimum setbacks, minimum open space or greenery and maximum plinth areas prevailing. how much does one provide for comfort, or shall we say gratification. why would a couple with a child of eight need 2000 sqm of accommodation is baffling. parking lot for six cars, and as many and as mad as three maids room, plus three more for the guest rooms and an entire basement floor specifically for storage, of things that should be of utility use, even to display rather than to hide, so im imagining a project where we tear down at least half the existing structure and push for real luxury. mies van der rohe “less is more” philosophy can come alive. the property we refer to is at wangsa ukay, currently a dilapidated house for a family of six maybe? we are soon converting this to become a single unit living accommodation of less than 150 sqm, more than sufficient for a family of four, complete with “room” for just about any number of guests. with ample informal space for our guests. more externality, more open space, more daylight, more natural ventilation, no parking lot, no room for storage, no closed rooms and no meed for family room or music room or home theatre or games room or guest rooms or mot even a wet kitchen plus dry kitchen. just space to cook and serve and dine. sit anywhere, walk about and eat in the terrace, or watch tv along the corridor. flexible plan sleep in the living room or indeed the kitchen. read or study on the balcony, or lounge by the stair landing, not uncomfortable just informal. extensible zones, ambiguous spaces weaving into each other. one big room to do it all. how big a space does one need to make it before we can define it as house, to be happy, contented and productive. celebrating space and releasing it, and not capturing and blocking it and compressing space. expanding the boundaries and transcending traditional realms of room and compartments and territories. we can all be happier with a lot less than 2000 sqm. we consume less and experience more through this process of elimination and reductive planning. it can be as tiny as 80 sqm and still give claim to liveable spaces, extraordinary sensibilities engaging nature instead of walls and partitions and trappings of large houses. contemplating to place furniture loosely anywhere and preparing to claim outdoor spaces and unenclosed spaces and turn these into what kahn termed as urban rooms. surely with less we get more of the genius loci. large private dwellings are not at all sustainable, definitely a waste of resources. knocking out trees to add three more bedrooms is a disaster. to retrieve more landscape and bringing the charm of nature into the interior has become far more luxurious than it is to climb up multi storey stairwell and walking down forests of walls and columns. and transcending even home lifts. and who needs roof, thats the living room, outside. inviting the outside in, thats when we get more with less. 

     

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