Tarig House Kuala Lumpur

Jimmy Lim

Subject | Throughout the whole of South-East Asia, ori the Pacific rim, from Indonesia to Burma, from Thailand to the Philippines, there is a uniform, traditional style of architecture with only slight regional variations. Its character is mainly determined by the hot and humid tropical climate with its frequent heavy rainfall, and it is based on the same underlying principles due to the very active intercultural exchange within this region. They are timber-framed structures with steeply sloping roofs, walls with large openings for good ventilation and stilts to raise them clear of the ground, as protection against snakes and other animals. This basic form is also reflected in the many modern buildings in the region, enriched with contemporary styles and updated with modern building materials and construction methods.

One of the best-known exponents of this school which unites the traditional and the modern, is the Malaysian architect Jimmy Lim. He first came into contact with Western styles of architecture while studying in Australia. Those architects that explored the borders between East and West had the greatest influence on him, such as the American Frank Lloyd Wright.

Lim's buildings are characterized by wide overhanging eaves, open wall constructions and interesting sequences of rooms which unfold to their occupants as they pace through them. This contrasts with the concept of fixed "optimum" or "photographic" viewpoints as they are typical of traditional Western aesthetics. Lim practises "T'ai Chi", as he calls it, when planning his structures. This includes the idea of using your opponent's strength to your own advantage. He describes the procedure thus: to re-interpret problems positively and exploit obvious difficulties so that, on the whole, an improved design is the result. For example, if only unskilled craftsmen are at his disposal, then he employs basic, simple timber joints and builds up the whole design on this strategy. The use of recycled building materials also influences his work. In this sense, his inclusion of tradition is both justified and consequential.


1 Lorong Buluh Perindu 5, Jalan Damansara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Mr. Tang Woh Heng Architect

Jimmy Lim, CSL Associates, Kuala Lumpur

Structural Engineer H. P. Lee & Rakan, Kuala Lumpur

Project Engineer Yap Yee Oon

Date of Completion

Design | Tang House stands on a modest 752 m2 plot of land in Damansara, a prosperous suburb of Kuala Lumpur. From the road the ground falls away steeply towards the west with a view of the valley in which the residential town of Da-

5 | Central support for rafters of canopy roof, not to scale. Steel mounting plates for each rafter are welded to a steel collar fitted to the top of the circular reinforced concrete column.

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