Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

A Review of Malaysian Terraced House Design and the Tendency of Changing

Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

A Review of Malaysian Terraced House Design and the Tendency of Changing

Article excerpt


The construction of terraced houses is the main contributor to the successful development of housing industry in Malaysia but illegal changes and modifications by buyers and occupants may diminish its original identity or characteristics. The physical adaptation and adjustment made by the occupants to fit their utilitarian needs could result in the extensive modification of the housing facilities and the relocation of spatial distribution. Since alteration and renovations are always done and made without proper control, terraced house in Malaysia has lost its originality. This paper provides literature reviews on housing modifications specifically in terms of design consideration and changes in design. It describes the relationship between human and their territory and space which then leads to changes in lifestyle and design. Finally, a conclusion is drawn on the effect of altering the appearance and the change of the original architectural character.

Keywords: terraced house, housing modification, alteration, changes

1. Introduction

Today, appreciating the ever-recurring as a quality seems like an anachronism. The term recurring or repetition has negative connotation; it has become a synonym for monotony, sameness and boredom. But the principle of repetition is always present and forms the basis of all life in our planet: pulse beat, breathing, the cycle of the seasons, to name just a few examples. The principle of repetition therefore also stands for continuity, reliability, stability and homogeneity - attributes that definitely carry positive detonation. Luigi Snozzi an architect from Ticino, once said: "If you have one good element, repeat it".

The typology of row houses is based on this principle of repetition in the best sense - provided that the recurring element is worth repeating, and also provided that the method of repetition is not monotonous. Our changing multifaceted living patterns do not allow monotony. Changing durations and habits of usage require new and flexible typologies. In addition, our socialisation patterns have increased and the cycles of individual reorientation have become shorter. Complex family and partnership structures have evolved which cannot be accommodated by traditional row house patterns (Pfeifer & Brauneck, 2008).

1.1 Terms

The Uniform Building by-laws 1984 defines terraced house as building for dwellers which has been designed as a single unit linked-house known as 'terrace' that consists of no less than these such buildings.

The remodeling and reuse mainly involve changing the basic structure or design of a building. In many cases, remodeling involves removing existing components and redesigning something new to replace the old at the same space. On the other hand, preservation means keeping something that has always was; restoration means putting it back into its original condition. Restoration technically means returning a structure to a certain time, usually to its original appearance. Since authenticity is the primary goal, it calls for extensive research. In the field, restoration is always restricted to structures intended for public use, or those opened as architectural or historic house museums. In contrast, reconstruction means remaking or copying the existing forms with the same or new materials. It is rebuilding what has been lost usually needs a plan starting from the ground up. Often it is quite difficult to determine what is old and what is new in reconstructions, and this may or may not be an important issue. Adaptive reuse of old buildings is especially challenging, but the results are not only economical but also aesthetically rewarding (Burden, 1996).

2. Origins of the Terraced House

The Malaysia terraced house or was actually originated from the Malacca townhouses which date back to the seventeenth century and the Chinese shop houses of the nineteenth century. The earliest types of townhouses or row houses were built in the seventeenth century during the Dutch occupation. …

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