Case Study of Architect Lenny Oh

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Lenny Oh was born in 1979 at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. His parents are the Straits Peranakan from Melacca and lately move to Kuala Lumpur before given birth to Lenny. His entire childhood was very joyful, he and family are quite often visit his grandparents and relative in Melacca. Due to this reason, Lenny has influence by the The Straits Peranakan Melaka architecture since he was young. The long and narrow shop-house with a centre courtyard and air-well is the most significant features in Melaka house and was brought him influence when he grew up to be an architect.

Lenny received his training in Curtin University of Technology , Perth, Western Australia. He then joined Arkitek Maju Bina Sdn Bhd after returning to Malaysia in 2003. He involved in numerous residential and commercial projects as a design architect and project architect. Lenny have 10 years working experience at Arkitect Maju Bina Sdn Bhd since year 2003. After that, he successfully becomes as a professional registration member of Professional architect/Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia (LAM).

Then, he establishes CL+O Architects Sdn. Bhd in 2013 together with Ar. Chiam Chin Yong and Ar. Martin Lee Wee Hong and continues to practice architecture under this new entity. Besides, he has also been involved in two residential projects which have been received Singapore’s BCA Green Mark Awards and the Malaysian Green building Index Certification. Besides that, Ar. Lenny had also been involved in numerous of residential and commercial development projects during his new architecture journey. building that I choose among his art piece to do the analysis is the Grand Villas Bungalow which located at Tropicana Indah. Grand Villas is a modern and contemporary residential housing which suit nowadays modern life style as well to accommodate a growing three-generation family under one roof. Tropicana Indah is a fast developing and up market enclave that is located in the heart of Petaling Jaya, Tropicana. It surrounded by Tropicana Golf & Country Resort and Seri Selangor Public Golf Resort and these golf courses bring the green lush scenery and nature to the Tropicana Indah.

Architectural theory

Architectural theory is the first factor that I wish to analyse on Grand Villas Bungalow. This bungalow has a distinctively modern and contemporary façade which influence by Modernism and Minimalism theory. It gives a sense of Openness, Minimalism, Lightness, Transparency of space and Easy movement in space.

Firstly, it shows a very strong linear form that takes on a modern design. The linear and horizontal elements are one of the features according to Walter Gropius modern theory. ()This is apparently shown in the façade elevation of Grand Villa Bungalow. The elements as well without decoration and simple materials represent a sense of essential quality. Besides, it also possesses the combination of contemporary tropical design.

Moreover, the simple geometry is obviously reflected on Grand Villa façade. () Minimalistic design is overtones of extreme simplicity and formal cleanliness. According to minimalism theory, the design elements should convey the message of simplicity. Pure, simple motive of denunciation is clearly shown in Grand Villa. () Besides, the idea is without decorations. However, that all parts and joinery details are considered as reduced to a stage where no one can remove anything further to improve the design.

The primary colour is used to achieve the simplicity. ()

Next, three of the 5 point architecture theory of Le Cobusier can be seen from the plan of Grand Villa. According to the pilotis theory, the supporting reinforced concrete structure had given us the pilotis that firmly driven into the ground. However, this had been changed and the modification can be seen in through Grand Villa bungalow. From the plan, it shows that the pilotis is exposing at the front part of the building, which is at the Entrance on the ground level and the balcony on the first level of the building. Now, this is served for the aesthetic purposes for the majestic front façade of Grand Villa.

Secondly, according to the 5 point theory of Le Cobusier, the house should be erected on an independent framework, providing an open plan and free façades. However, the open plan theory had been adapted yet remain partially which reflected on the Grand Villa plan. In Grand Villa, the big open-concept dry kitchen, living and dining area are most agreeable. The open plan means total freedom in spaces. () It open out to a generous outdoor patio which provides an overlooks to the infinity-edged lap pool and landscaped garden. Thus, the wet kitchen and laundry area separated from it.

The roof top garden is also one of the significant point of Le Cobusier theory which shows in Grand Villa bungalow as well. There no more sloping roofs which cannot be put to use, in contrast, the possibility of placing a gardens on the roof is to counter the effects of expansion. This practice is clearly shown in the Grand Villa. Due to the modern evolvement of lifestyle, the extra element of roof top lounge had been promoted to combine with the roof top garden.

In addition, it shows the exact circulation on the plan. The running of a home consists of precise functions in a regular order. The regular order of these functions constitutes a phenomenon of circulation. An exact, economic rapid circulation is the key to contemporary architecture. The precise functions of home life require various areas whose minimum content can be quite precisely determined. These functions can be diagrammed along a continuous line so the interplay of the necessary areas and their proximities can be clearly discerned.

The façades are providers of light. The Minimalism state that the considerations for ‘essences’ are light, space and human condition. This help simplifies living space to reveal the essential quality of buildings and conveys simplicity in attitudes toward life. They require a flow of light which in the daytime can be admitted as there are numerous openings and transparent elements such as glass in the Grand Villa. This enhances the movement of natural light in buildings reveals simple and clean spaces. The lightness is emphasizing the fluidity of natural light throughout the spaces in the villa.


Next, climate is one of the analysis factors as well. Firstly, the orientation of the spatial arrangement is shown on the Grand Villa plan. () All the main spaces such as living area, dining area, music room and the outdoor spaces such as outdoor patio, deck, pool and greenery landscape are facing east orientation. () This is because there is a Casa Indah Condominium located east side which helps to screen the direct morning sunlight. Besides, this is use to catch the sunrise scenery from the main spaces and the outdoor relaxation spaces.

Furthermore, utilize of natural sunlight is to emphasize on the use of passive design. Besides, it is also to enhance the lightness within the building. The villa provides various large openings and glass placed facing east whereas the small openings and windows placed facing west. This is because there is Casa Indah Condominiums located south east side which helps to screen the direct morning sunlight. After afternoon, the east part of the building with large opening windows will be avoid from direct evening sunlight yet still having daylight admit into the building. During evening, the outdoor spaces can well utilize without direct evening glares. Additionally, the purpose is also to catch the morning sunlight which is better for human health instead of evening sunlight.

Moreover, the use of vertical shading can be clearly seen from the east elevation of Grand Villa. The use of vertical louvers is serve as an awning to partially screen off the sunlight of the 2 main spaces with extra high ceiling with full and large glass which facing east direction. The shading is well utilized as screening in order to achieve the thermal comfort of the two main spaces with large area of glass. Then, the user can enjoy the daylight within the space at a more comfortable level.

In addition, the ceiling height of the building also helps improve the ventilation. The Grand Villa possesses the high ceiling between 3.2 m to 4 m. The provision of these high ceilings and tall spaces within encourage good ventilation.

The roof of Grand Villa is unique in shape. The pitched roof with a larger opening is facing east and the smaller opening facing west. The purpose is to allow more natural light enter the roof top lounge during morning and appropriate level of day light during evening.

Next, the back part of villa is surrounding by the river and vegetation. The nature context enhances the villa from the back which gives a nature backdrop to the villa. This is actually emphasis the serene environment from the back of the villa as well.

Personal Cultural Background Influences

Last but not least, the personal cultural background influences also one of the analysis factors. Cultural belief is one of influence in his design career. In the spatial planning of Grand Villa, the main spaces of the villa are facing east orientation. In Chinese Feng Shui belief that East orientation is the best as it brings good luck, health and wealth. It also the orientation which the sun raise symbolize a brand new day with a good start. Besides, the transparency of space is also emphasizing on the east orientation.

In addition, his design is influence by Chinese traditional spatial feature as well. The spatial in Grand Villa shows the layering in space which emphasizing the privateness in spatial arrangement from outer to inner. This is clearly reflected from the traditional Chinese dwelling spatial layout.

The next one is the influence on the location of the music space in the villa. Ar. Lenny is a music lover as he plays various kind of music instruments. He loved to play piano and listen music with his family at home since young until today. This shows that he is from a music background family as well shows that he serves music in a very special position in his life. This is reflected his taught in his design career. The placement of the music room in the villa was located at the most inner part of the building which facing the nature elements such as river and vegetation. The combination of music with the serene, peace and natural environment is the considerable idea in his design. This may be the best interaction between both music and nature.

The “Peranakan” architecture is also one of his influences. Ar. Lenny is Melacca “Peranakan” descend. He has influence by the The Straits Peranakan Melaka architecture of the long and narrow shop-house with a centre courtyard and air-well in the Melaka house. The centre double volume courtyard is one of the significant elements. Therefore, he modifies the idea and applies it into the dining area locate at the centre which gives a double volumetric sense of space which reflect partially from the centre courtyard. The modification is to suit the local neoteric modern life style.

Base on the above analysis, Ar. Lenny emphasize in well utilizing natural lighting in his design.