To ensure future generations can enjoy a satisfactory life, a sustainable approach towards human comfort is now vital. The word ‘sustainable’ successfully increase the awareness of architects, become an fundamental in the architectural discourse (Bennetts, H, n.d.). In this paper, whether traditional architecture are more sustainable will be figure out.
Sustainability in architecture means conserving constructions for future, in terms of conserving on energy resources. Buildings should built by integrating environmental, human activities and climatic parameters into design to enhance space qualities to achieve higher comfortability.
In this paper, will mainly focus on ways of traditional Malay house is designed to integrate climate issue and human activities. Traditional Malay house design is the root of Malaysia identity in architecture because it reflects the way of Malays generations adapt their environment with their needs and culture (Kamal K.S., 2004). Concludes that according to some factors it is possible to address Malay traditional architecture is more sustainable.
CLIMATE OF MALAYSIA
Figure 1: Average Monthly Temperature and Rainfall of Malaysia (Source: Local Code)
To have greater acknowledgement about how Malay house is integrating lifestyle with nature, climate of Malaysia should be figure out. Firstly, Malaysia is located in west of Maritime Continent (Southeast Asian region). Also, Malaysia characteristically experiences heavy rainfall (above 2,500 mm per annum), temperatures are between 29-32’C; humidity are 85%. Due to the sufficiency of water vapour in the air, expedite growth of mould and algae, rusting. (Lim JY., n.d.)
Malaysia is considered as hot and humid climate tropical country, situated at the equatorial region. (Centre of Global Education, 2018)
Malaysia experience monsoon season every year, it is divided into 2 zones which is as follow (Climate to Travel, n.d.):
The south-west Malaysia – May to September (rainfall 2500mm per annum)
The north-east Malaysia – November to March (rainfall 5080mm per annum)
Malaysia’s sky perennial cover with heavy cloud and high water-vapour content in the air, the direct solar radiation is filtered. However, Malaysia is located near equatorial, solar radiation is still strong and cause painful sky glare.
Thermal comfort means that a person wearing normal amount of clothing feels neither too cold nor too warm. It is a range of climatic conditions considered comfortable and acceptable inside building, without any sensation of thermal (heat or cold) discomfort. Measurable factors that influence body’s heat balance (thermal comfort) are ENVIRONMENTAL and PERSONAL ACTIVITIES. Environment is affected by air temperature, humidity and air velocity while personal activities can be affect by activity and clothing level. Human habitation, site influence (architectural context) and building design can be changed to achieve a better thermal comfort. (Valitherm, A., n.d.)
Culturally, traditional Malay house is built in passive design, which 100% focus on natural air ventilation. Indigenous ethnic Malay has a broad knowledge about how to adapt with nature, increase the quality of lifestyle. They observed their environment, solve the problems that might causes risks to them, for e.g. raise the level of building to prevent flood, use atap leaves as main roof material because it can easilu procured in the surrounding area. Architects nowadays rely on mechanical cooling system such as air condition as main factors to provide thermal comfort (Hassan, 2010).
To achieve thermal comfort in a natural way, passive design should be achieved. The definition of passive design is: building design integrates nature resources (wind, sun path) as main factors of thermal comfort instead of mechanical cooling system (Hassan, 2010). Culturally, human don’t have much resource to use mechanical ventilation method such as air conditioner, Indigenous ethnic Malay achieve thermal comfort adapting by natural in CROSS VENTILATION and STACK VENTILATION.
Cross ventilation allow cool exterior air flow into building through an inlet such as window, louver; Outlet allow the warm air from the interior being float out through higher opening such as window or roof. (Moffitt Corporation, 2017).
380238074312Figure 2: Cross Ventilation drawn by author, 2018
020000Figure 2: Cross Ventilation drawn by author, 2018
Malay traditional house achieve cross ventilation by an 100% opening window and door design. (Figure2)
Stack ventilation allow warm air inside the building rises and exits through openings such as window or door. To work best on stack ventilation is lower the intakes of air and higher the height of building. (Hassan, 2010).
3863340116205Figure 3: Stak Ventilation drawn by author, 2018
00Figure 3: Stak Ventilation drawn by author, 2018
The windows of Malay traditional house build at body level, fully open able windows and doors and high rooftop to achieve stack ventilation.
To achieve thermal comfort in the modern Malaysian houses, high temperatures, solar radiation, humidity and glare must be controlled (Hassan, 2010). Traditional Malay house use ventilation and solar radiation control devices to achieve thermal comfort for occupants. These are the most effective ways to achieve thermal comfort in a hot and humid climate like Malaysia. (Valitherm, A., n.d.)
TRADITIONAL MALAY HOUSE
Figure 4: Traditional Malay house in kampong. (Source: Malaysia Timber Council, 2018)
In the traditional vernacular houses all over the world, traditional Malay house is not professionally designed but has evolved as time goes by using readily available local materials, which suitable for Malaysia climate and environment conditions.
To achieve climatic comfort for modern house in Malaysia , referring to Nasir (1985) should attain the following points:
Use waterproof material to protect against rain
Allow sufficient ventilation to cool the space
Use low thermal capacity building materials to avoid heat transmitted into the house
Avoid strong glare from opening and surrounding (reflection)
Allow sufficient natural vegetation in the surroundings to avoid glare reflection in order to achieve a cooler environment
39458901176655Figure 4: traditional Malay house face east-west direction, drawn by author, 2018
00Figure 4: traditional Malay house face east-west direction, drawn by author, 2018
Due to religious reasons, traditional Malay house faces to Mecca, which is on east-west direction. Meanwhile, minimum area exposed to solar radiation is east-west orientation because Sun rises at east and sets at west, the Sun strike in with the softest sunlight. Indirectly lessen the heat gain by Malay traditional house achieve a better thermal comfort for interior spaces.
39954201131570Figure 5: Thermal insulator roof drawn by author, 2018
00Figure 5: Thermal insulator roof drawn by author, 2018
Lightweight construction wood is the main material of traditional Malay house, but main structure like posts, beam is use hardwood like cengal, the roof of is covered with water-proof atap leaves. Reasons of lightweight material is chosen because it will hold a little heat during day and cools down at night. Thermal comfort achieved in a nature and sustainability way.
42589451391285Figure 6: traditional Malay house build on post, drawn by researcher, 2018
00Figure 6: traditional Malay house build on post, drawn by researcher, 2018
Culturally, the indigenous Malay builds a distinctive design, Traditional Malay house is primarily a timber structure. Traditional Malay house raise the house built on to adapt with natural facture such as ground dampness, floods. Also, they used a raised floor system to secure the house from the attacks of wild animals. Built on stilts, allow cross ventilation, capturing wind of higher velocity at a higher level, and provide a cool air flow into interior spaces, achieving better thermal comfort.
37642801500505Figure 7: Layout of traditional Malay kampung, drawn by author, 2018
00Figure 7: Layout of traditional Malay kampung, drawn by author, 2018
Culturally, a kampong is comprises several Malay houses and their compounds. As kampong have plenty of spaces, this allowed indigenous Malay to choose where to build their dwellings, therefore no geometric order can be found in the layout of kampong, they did not aligned with the front and back of the houses, but built their houses randomly to ensure high wind velocity in the path, so it won’t be reduced and thermal comfort can be achieved. Due to the lackness of physical barriers allow kampong have high passage of wind and achieved thermal comfort. This shows how knowledgeable indigenous Malays are in adapting with the environment.
VENTILATION OF ROOF SPACE
39128701136015Figure 8: Ventilation of rood space in traditional Malay house, drawn by author, 2018
00Figure 8: Ventilation of rood space in traditional Malay house, drawn by author, 2018
Traditional Malay house built 2 levels of roofs, which allowed stack ventilation to be achieved easily. The roofs spaces in the traditional Malay houses can achieve thermal comfort by the provision of panels in the roof construction and ventilation joints. Also, the indigenous Malay uses lightweight and thermal insulator to ensure the interior spaces in a thermal comfort condition.
Indigenous Malays plant tall and narrow trees like coconut trees to provide good shade by the leaves and narrow trunks won’t blobk the passage of winds.
189357079375Figure 9: Narrow trunk plantation allow wind flow, drawn by author, 2018
00Figure 9: Narrow trunk plantation allow wind flow, drawn by author, 2018
Traditional Malay house is designed in an elongated open plans which allow cross ventilation and air can easily pass through. Also, absence of physica barriers such as partitions males traditional Malay house achieves better cross ventilation, this provides a cool interior space.
247078553340Figure 9: elongated open plans allowed ventilation, drawn by author, 2018
00Figure 9: elongated open plans allowed ventilation, drawn by author, 2018
Fully open-able doors and windows can be found in traditional Malay house design it is to achieve cross ventilation. The body level is the most vital consideration for ventilation to achieve thermal comfort.
2253615133985Figure 10: Window position of traditional Malay house, drawn by author, 2018
00Figure 10: Window position of traditional Malay house, drawn by author, 2018
Traditional Malay house are designed with large overhangs, to reduce exposure of sunlight.
3359785786130Figure 11: Large roof overhang of traditional Malay house, drawn by author, 2018
00Figure 11: Large roof overhang of traditional Malay house, drawn by author, 2018
Traditional Malay house roof overhang is use to protect against rain. Also, it gives shades to so windows and doors can be open all the time to achieve ventilation.
The traditional Malay house is designed in dark tones. It is because dark toned gives the psychological effect of coolness. Artificial lighting could be an remedied for darkness of interior.
29013155715Figure 12: Traditional Malay house underlighted gives psychological effect of coolness, drawn by author, 2018
00Figure 12: Traditional Malay house underlighted gives psychological effect of coolness, drawn by author, 2018
To have a better understanding of how traditional Malay house are more sustainable, between modern house will be carried out. Modern houses a comparison typology are, condominium, terrace, bungalow and etc. As traditional house is a landed property, bungalow will be selected for this comparison. The design, layout, materials, ventilation, solar radiation, lighting and glare of both house types are discussed in detail as follow.
38652451029970Figure 13: Modern houses use high thermal capacity materials, drawn by author 2018
00Figure 13: Modern houses use high thermal capacity materials, drawn by author 2018
Main material of modern house are zinc, asbestos, concrete and other material of high thermal capacity. These materials can cause discomfort because it store and reradiate heats inside a space. For example, atap roof is replaced by zinc and asbestos, this will produce noises when it rains.
37668201136015Figure 14: Modern houses arrange in geometrical, drawn by author, 2018
00Figure 14: Modern houses arrange in geometrical, drawn by author, 2018
Modern house arrange in geometrical arrangement, either vertical or horizontal. Physical barriers lead wind passage become smaller and it causes lack of cross ventilation, thus thermal comfort can’t be achieved.
VENTILATION OF ROOF SPACE
The insulated roof in modern landed property cause the hot air trapped inside. Hence, higher ceiling height will be recommend to achieve a better thermal comfort.
2482215-3810Figure 15: Air trapped in roof, drawn by author 2018
00Figure 15: Air trapped in roof, drawn by author 2018
Because of the land size of landed property nowadays is limited, only small shrubs are planted. Shrubs creates barrier of wind passage. This will highly reduce cross ventilation, makes the interior more uncomfortable.
3255010170180Figure 16: Vegetation of modern house blocks wind passage, drawn by author 2018
00Figure 16: Vegetation of modern house blocks wind passage, drawn by author 2018
3456940945515Figure 17: Window position restrict wind passage in modern house, drawn by author 2018
00Figure 17: Window position restrict wind passage in modern house, drawn by author 2018
Modern landed properties are design with less windows and openness because people nowadays prefer privacy. The fully openable full height window in traditional Malay house is replaced with glass louvre windows. The solid glass creates a barrier which blocks the openness and less efficient in cross ventilation.
The plans of the modern landed property have a lot of partitions wall to fulfil every family member’s privacy needs. This causes lack of air passage and good cross ventilation, due to the stacked interior space.
225615511430Figure 18: partitions and wall in modern house cause lack of wind passage, drawn by author 2018
00Figure 18: partitions and wall in modern house cause lack of wind passage, drawn by author 2018
Due to design consideration and lack of spaces, modern houses don’t have large overhangs, thus causes high exposure to sunlight. Glare can’t be controlled by small roof overhangs and the reflective glare from neighbours’ solid wall due to lack of natural ground covers.
1619885111125Figure 19: Modern house’s small roof overhang, drawn by author 2018
00Figure 19: Modern house’s small roof overhang, drawn by author 2018
Instead of natural lighting, modern landed property use a lot of artificial lighting to light up interior space. Curtain or blinds are the only method to control the natural lighting.
center-324485Figure 20: Modern house rely on artificial lighting, drawn by researcher 2018
00Figure 20: Modern house rely on artificial lighting, drawn by researcher 2018
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TRADITIONAL MALAY HOUSE AND MODERN LANDED PROPERTY
Traditional Malay house Modern landed house
ORIENTATION Face to east-west direction
BUILDING MATERIALS Heat insulator material High thermal capacity material
Build on stilts above ground Build on ground
LAYOUT Randomly arrange Align with each other
VENTILATION OF ROOF SPACE
Stack ventilation achieved Trapped air inside
VEGETATION Full of natural ground covers and narrow trees Lacks of vegetation due to lack of spaces
PLANS Lack of partitions and solid wall Too much partitions and solid wall
WINDOW POSITION Body level height of window
Lack of window openness
ROOF OVERHANG Large Absence/small
LIGHTING LEVEL Low Medium – high
Modern house nowadays are not designed based on natural ventilation but more rely on mechanical ventilation. Modern houses should follow traditional house, design dwellings according to climatic and environment conditions in order to achieve a better environment and thermal comfort for occupant.
In conclusion, traditional Malay house is more sustainable than modern landed house in aspects like choices of materials, vegetation around dwellings, space planning and others.