We are constantly striving for comfort and convenience in our lives. One of the main areas where that can be achieved is our living space.
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“As living standards improve, living spaces have evolved from basic enclosed rooms to family lifestyle-centric spaces,” says Fabian Tan, principal of Fabian Tan Architect.
While the home was used purely for functional purposes before, it has now become an open living area with multiple uses. The boundary between functional spaces has blurred and the home is styled according to an individual’s taste.
Lillian Tay, immediate past president of Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia (PAM) and director of VERITAS Architects, says there is a greater reliance on electrical appliances such as air conditioning these days.
“I remember when I was young, our classroom windows and doors were left wide open and there was just a fan. We lived well in an environment that was more sustainable in terms of energy and material usage, and had less waste creation,” she adds.
She observes that in the past, Malaysians were attuned to the tropical climate. Living spaces had many windows for natural ventilation and daylight. Now, with climate change and the sustainability movement, she believes the design of living spaces and buildings should go back to how they were before. “Places [and spaces] have to be more breathable.”
Demands then and now
PPC International Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Siders Sittampalam says modern lifestyles have led to the development of various types of residential properties, from landed to high-rise homes, traditional houses to modern ones, and private to shared spaces, among others.
“The demand for residential properties has changed over the years with lifestyles progressively changing in terms of technology, ageing, environment, design, space and others,” Siders notes.
Unfortunately, there is a mismatch between what people want and what they can afford, points out Nawawi Tie Leung Sdn Bhd managing director Eddy Wong.
“In an effort to keep the price quantum affordable, developers have been building smaller units, albeit maintaining the number of bedrooms. As a consequence, room sizes have become smaller as compared to 10 years ago,” he says.