Core Design Workshop organizes “Introverse House” around expansive garden.

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Architecture studio Core Design Workshop has transformed a 1980s home called Introverse, located outside Kuala Lumpur, into a large garden room. The studio’s founder, Chun Hooi Tan, designed the house to be “introverted,” with a focus on the main garden rather than the surrounding views. Tan was inspired to create Introverse during the COVID-19 lockdown, reflecting on the impact of the existing home on his mental and physical well-being. The house is designed to provide a space for self-reflection and personal definition, embracing the concept of minimalism.

To create an introverted space, Core Design Workshop surrounded the site with a narrow garden on three sides, taking inspiration from Japanese zen gardens. A block of utility spaces acts as a buffer on the east side, ensuring limited views out of the site. The home is nestled within this protective layer, overlooking a steel-framed “garden within a garden” that occupies half the floor plan. The studio aimed to blend the interior and garden into one space, utilizing full-height glass doors and white curtains.

The eastern portion of Introverse contains two bedrooms, a living area, and a dining area, all with double-height ceilings and views of the adjacent garden to create a sense of openness. The steel-framed garden houses the kitchen and living area, featuring draped fabric for shade and walls suspended above the ground for ventilation. Skylights and a small square courtyard surrounded by concrete walls provide natural light and further augment the introverted atmosphere.

The finishes of Introverse are intentionally simple, with white walls, concrete floors, and wooden ceilings that showcase the sloping roof inside. The kitchen islands in the garden are custom-made with black and yellow steel. Tan describes the minimalist design of the house as a solution to contemporary needs, standards, and lifestyle, aiming to minimize unnecessary aspects of life and social pressures.

Introverse has been longlisted in the house renovation category of Dezeen Awards 2023. This project adds to the list of notable residential projects in Kuala Lumpur, including a barrel-vaulted extension by architect Fabian Tan and a home by Formzero featuring concrete boxes filled with edible plants.

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