Red House: A Courtyard-Centric Terrace by Sava

Red House in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, reimagined by designer Sava in 2024, is a two-story terrace house where outdoor and indoor spaces merge seamlessly.

A central courtyard, filled with natural light and air, sits at the heart of this home, redefining residential architecture. Skylights and a thoughtfully arranged layout enhance sunlight exposure. Stone, wood, and terracotta elements blend with the surrounding nature, creating an inviting, harmonious living environment. This innovative design not only maximizes comfort but also establishes a unique connection with the natural world.

Modern two-story house with geometric facade and carport at dusk.
Modern courtyard with stone walls, a single tree, and terracotta tiles.
Modern indoor balcony with stone walls, green plants, and glass doors.
Modern indoor-outdoor space with child playing and sliding doors.
Modern kitchen interior with wooden table and pendant lights.
Modern minimalist bedroom with large window and wooden floor.
Minimalist bedroom with large window, wooden floor, and ceiling fan.
Modern bathroom with glass shower, white tiles, wooden accents, and a large mirror
Person in a courtyard with stone walls, green plants, and pebble ground.
Modern room with a decorative concrete block wall and a sleek black door.

About Red House

Revolutionizing Indoor-Outdoor Living

In Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, SAVA’s Red House breaks new ground in terrace house design. This renovation blurs the lines between indoor and outdoor spaces.

Courtyard: A Source of Light and Life

Spanning 21 ft x 95 ft (6.4m x 29m), the design features a central courtyard. This area becomes a crucial source of natural light, ventilation, and views. Additionally, a strategically placed skylight enhances the space, previously home to a staircase. The new staircase, ascending from the dining room, offers breathtaking views of the courtyard and its stone wall, elevating everyday experiences.

Maximizing Natural Lighting

The house, covering 1883 sq ft (175m²), bathes key areas in sunlight. Living room, dining room, bedrooms, and playroom all enjoy ample natural light. The material palette, comprising stone, wood, and terracotta, dialogues with nature, integrating trees, sunlight, and breezes.

Seamless Integration of Spaces

The front facade uses concrete vent blocks to subtly filter sunlight, ensuring bedroom privacy. An outdoor terracotta walkway connects every room to the courtyard, guiding from the entrance to the house’s heart. The rear extension’s elevation creates a split level, offering ideal conditions for a tree and outdoor seating.

Innovative Layout for Modern Living

An unconventional layout places the entrance at the courtyard. This supports client needs, positioning a public playroom and guestroom upfront. These areas connect from the entrance to private spaces at the rear. The kitchen and dining room, near the courtyard, enjoy natural breezes and tranquil views. Upstairs, the living room gains light from both the courtyard and skylight. The master bedroom, accessed via a shaded walkway, immerses occupants in nature. An attic leads to a rooftop, ready for future gardening, equipped with a water tank and solar panel.

This renovation demonstrates a masterful blend of spatial design, natural elements, and functionality. It challenges traditional house layouts, fostering a deep connection between residents and their surroundings.

Photography by Aron Beh

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- by Matt Watts