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YTL Residence

Private project - Kuala Lumpur

Architectural embrace

The story began when a cryptic facsimile arrived in our Paris office in 2003. A Malaysian architect had clients requesting that we design their home. An unusual commission of a 3-generation private residence covering 3,000 m² in Kuala Lumpur… would we be interested? For our first large-scale integrated architectural and interior design project, we hesitated ever so briefly.

Commissions for private homes create an opportunity to study how a family truly inhabits a space – the idiosyncrasies of their lifestyle, the lines that run between their public and private personas. This commission also allowed us to explore the larger contrast between the way private power has traditionally been expressed in Kuala Lumpur – the ubiquitous borrowed language of historic European architecture – and the search for a new architectural vocabulary specific to this emerging culture. Drawing upon the poignancy of the natural landscape, and a taste for the ultramodern, evidenced by the city skyline this entrepreneurial family helped to build, we looked to create a brand new architecture for this home: new shapes, new ways to connect spaces, new awareness of light and sound, new references to the exquisite natural surroundings, and new combinations of cutting-edge technology and traditional local practices to bring our dreams to life. 
We devised the design of the residence across three distinct layers, each representing a separate volume, which when combined forms a cohesive entity: base (for public functions), ring (for guests), and private house (for family habitation). All the while, this approach also allowed the remarkable regional vegetation to seamlessly integrate into the architectural scheme whenever feasible.

Motivated by the elegance and intricacy of spatial arrangements found in Malaysia's forests and natural landscapes, we aimed to incorporate not only the vegetation but also these spatial attributes into the volumes of the project. Indeed, the interplay of tension and harmony, the interplay between spaces and voids among the three volumes (base, ring, house) establishes the project's character.
The uppermost layer of dynamic elements, intended to represent the importance of its occupants, the house simultaneously serves as both the apex and the nucleus of the architectural blueprint. Two levels featuring floor-to-ceiling glass, enveloped in a delicate veil of stainless steel louvers, and internally clad in chengal wood, are stacked atop the kitchen, dining, and family rooms that extend to the swimming pool. Distinguishing between private and social spaces through the flow of sound and proximity, all volumes within this graceful layout open up to each other with minimal walls and even fewer supports, a result of the remarkable cantilever system below. The internal arrangement centers around two vertical axes: a custom-designed circular marble staircase leading from family and living areas to the family library, and a circular wooden staircase ascending from the kitchen to all family bedrooms. Indeed, the kitchen stands at the very heart of the program, visually and conceptually grounding all elements.
The central axis of the wooden staircase and the atrium that ascends above the hand-carved Carrara marble island at the center of the kitchen, featuring suspended wooden lanterns and the gracefully inclined passageway overhead, represents the pivotal vertical feature within the expansive horizontal expanses that define this exclusive residence.


A grand sculptural ring encircles both the house and the property's perimeter, functioning as a protective enclosure on one level, ascending above to accommodate guests in intricately designed suites, and extending flatly to ground level, creating an expansive undulating landscape for a diverse array of activities to unfold. Introducing areas for gentle slopes, pedestrian pathways, private gardens, and tea terraces, along with a gradual descent that transforms into the swimming pool, the ring facilitates the seamless transition between indoor and outdoor spaces. It becomes the ground level of the house, encompassing the kitchen, dining, and family rooms.



Architectural concept,
interior architecture and design        

Jouin Manku
Sanjit Manku
Patrick Jouin
Yann Brossier
Richard Perron
Neil Rawson

Architect of recordYTL Design Group, Kuala Lumpur, Malaisia

Landscape designerOfficina del Paesaggio, Lugano, Switzerland

Lighting designer L'Observatoire, New York, USA

Custom furniturePatrick Jouin iD (design sur-mesure)



YTL resident - Jouin Manku © Roland Halbe 
YTL resident - Jouin Manku © Eric Laignel
YTL resident - Jouin Manku © Sanjit Manku 

Sketches, renderings & perspectives: YTL resident - Jouin Manku © Jouin Manku