The Spiral Malaysia Residential Building

The Spiral House, Malaysian Residential Design, Asian Tower Home, Malaysia

The Spiral Malaysia : Residential Tower Building

Contemporary Malaysian Residence design by Marra + Yeh Architects

19 Apr 2012

The Spiral House

Design: Marra + Yeh Architects

Location: Malaysia

The Spiral Malaysia

Connecting three levels of a multi-generational home the spiral concerns both the poetic and the pragmatic. The skill and delicate craft of traditional boat builders was enlisted to build the curving tapering form. The spiral contains the freedom of our movements, addressing the interaction of people with their environment, a vessel to enrich our daily rituals.

The Spiral Malaysia Building The Spiral Malaysia Building The Spiral Malaysia Building
photographs : Brett Boardman


The brief called for new vertical connections for an existing house. The house is on 3 levels, with living areas on the ground floor and a series of individual ‘apartments’ on each of the upper levels, housing three generations of an extended family.

Our response to the brief was to separate the vertical circulation from the building into an element of its own, clearly demarcating it as a new design element. Because the Spiral is used by family members with a range of ages we wanted to create a space that was delightful and surprising, so as to encourage each of them to use the stairs, rather than the lift, as much as possible.

Design & Construction, Sustainable features

The Spiral is entirely naturally ventilated. Convective currents are created by placing openings of differing sizes as it rises. Daylight is controlled and filtered in to minimise any heat gain but also to provide daylit spaces.

Thermal mass keeps the space cool during the day while nightflushing cools it down overnight. For the structure we chose to work with a group of craftsmen who are highly skilled however face a shortage of demand for their traditional occupation, timber boats. The structure is complex in that it tappers upwards as well as being curved.

Thus every section of formwork has a complex geometry, curved, tapering, and with different radii for the inner and outer forms. Boat building traditions, where double curvatures are common, provided the opportunity to reinvent the application of craft.

Each section of formwork was handmade and then assembled on site. Laser guides were used during construction to place each opening in relation to the steps as the correlation was crucial. Thus the Spiral is a combination of tradition and technology.

The Spiral Malaysia Building The Spiral Malaysia Building The Spiral Malaysia Building
photographs : Brett Boardman

The Spiral Malaysia – Building Information

Project Title: The Spiral
Client: (withheld)
Architect: Marra + Yeh Architects
Site area: 1 acre
Gross Floor area: 20sqm
Location: Malaysia
Status: completed
Cost: (withheld)
Address: (withheld)

Photographs: Brett Boardman

The Spiral House Malaysia images / information from Marra + Yeh Architects

Location: Malaysia, Southeast Asia

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