The Salinger House, located south of Kuala Lumpur, is a post-and-beam timber structure raised on stilts to reduce its impact on the land and the environment. As such, it is built in the traditional way of the Malays, yet is modern in a form that interprets rather than imitates Malay culture and reflects the client's Islamic faith. It has been designed with sustainable ecological principles in mind. Placed on a high elevation to reduce water run-off through the building during the monsoon rains, it is oriented to capture the prevailing winds. The plan is formed by two adjoining equilateral triangles, the larger for indoor living, the other a prow-like veranda. At the ground level is a hexagonal granite core containing the entrance, a small foyer, a toilet, and stairs leading to the first floor living room, dining area, kitchen and bedroom in the living triangle, and to the veranda; the stairs continue to the second floor dressing room, master bedroom, and study. The house was built completely by hand by traditional Malay carpenters. The only machinery used was a small cement mixer. Except for the handmade roof tiles, it was constructed throughout with a very dense timber highly resistant to water and termites. The jury found that the house demonstrates that high technology and energy-depleting services can be renounced if sufficient craft and creativity are deployed, and that the deeper meaning of a vernacular architectural tradition can be combined with the surroundings of contemporary everyday life.
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