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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Green homes

By The Star

The Pinggiran Bayou Village gated residence is the first green development that truly handles Mother Nature with the finesse of a 21st century environmentalist.

UNLIKE other developments, the beauty of our development is in gradual sequence; after the slow enticement, we give you the ‘wow’ factor,” says General Manager, Property Division of Mulpha International Bhd Ronn Yong.

The award-winning developer has done it again, this time winning the Malaysia Property Award 2007 in the Residential (Low Rise) category.

“We feel very honoured to have won this award. We wanted to redefine community living in a different way. We aimed to develop something unique for a certain group of people and we paid attention to detail. Pinggiran Bayou is now our benchmark for future works,” says Yong.

The Pinggiran Bayou clubhouse at night.

122 Village Homes define this 7-acre plot. The monsoon drain facing the development is today a panoramic canal.

“The concept of Pinggiran Bayou is reminiscent of the little towns in Bali and the hill towns of Tuscany,” says Yong who has seen much during his travels. “We’ve infused a village ambience and created a community spirit, which is very much the hallmark of our development.”

“Homeowners have told us how they love the morning climate when they go for walks. The sound of birds chirping, the cool air and the greenery is truly a balm to the soul,” adds Koh Boon Teng, Senior Sales & Marketing Manager, Property Division.

Living in a quaint hill town

Launched in 2003, Pinggiran Bayou epitomises resort living. Today, it is 70% sold, with 50% purchased by Singaporeans keen on having a weekend home to experience the surreal pleasures only the countryside can give. The rest are maintained as rental homes for its surrounding expatriate community, although request for sales can still be considered.

“We’ve incorporated all the qualities of a Singaporean condominium – modern and clean designs –ensuring a similar fabric within a neighbourhood while adding our local flavour and all the things a typical condominium cannot have such as courtyards, gardens and great outdoor spaces,” begins Yong.

“It serves as a great weekend home for Singaporeans who will have the luxury of wide spaces and fresh air.”

Pinggiran Bayou is certainly unique for its perceptive conceptualisation to its inclusion of Mother Nature.

“Normal terrace houses are built in barracks or clusters of hundreds, but here, our homes are built in clusters of four and cascaded on different gradients. That creates a village feel, an identity, and corridors and open spaces that encourage lighting and ventilation. Homes at the top will have a great view. Even a person walking through the row of homes will also enjoy a better view.”

General Manager, Property Division of Mulpha International Bhd Ronn Yong.
This master plan with its clusters of smaller cascading modules and environmentally sustainable designs have helped to minimise excavation, speed up the construction process, reduce the need for landfill and reduce the reliance on heavy engineered and reinforced concrete retaining walls.

Wide-open spaces are very much in sync here, for houses aren’t built in a boring single file, but taper outwards. So, when one drives down a street, it feels like one is going down a winding road.

“Our roads are textured, so a driver passing by tends to slow down. We do this because priority is given to pedestrians. We don’t like speed bumps because they’re annoying and aren’t good for your car,” explains Yong.

And where do you congregate for suburban gossip?

The Spanish Step Gardens at Pinggiran Bayou is inspired by the Piazza Del Senora in Rome, a famous row of steps where three roads meet.

“People congregate and do everything there.

We are doing the same here and it becomes almost like a central place in a town where people meet. It’s a great place to take in the view and take a refreshing break. We’ve taken into account that the weather here is a little hot, so we’ve added trees all around the Steps. We’ve also noticed that our customers come with old people and sometimes wheelchairs, so the Steps and the rest of the development is disabled-friendly, with ramps for easy access.”

Village Homes that would make Al Gore beam

“This is an environmentally-conscious development,” says Yong. “Full usage of light and ventilation is utilised so energy bills can be reduced.

“Our homes are built with canopies on top of the windows, for more than art’s sake. For one, it shades your building, and you don’t get direct sunlight when the windows are open. See, if the sun’s too glaring, no one will want to keep the windows open, hence the air conditioning.

“The canopy blocks off glaring light, and what enters is indirect light; it’ll be cooling. With your windows open, you have a gentle breeze coming in and out as well.

“We don’t just have large windows as well.

Some developments may have large windows but they let in bad sunlight. Our directions have been carefully calculated and homeowners won’t be getting the east-west sun, which is bad. There’s no splash of light and your room is kept cool,” he says.

Each home has at least one courtyard, which is placed strategically in the house, near the kitchen for instance, where ventilation is most needed.

The cluster of four Village Homes share a fore court, which keeps your driveway always cheery, doing away with dungeon-like darkness and keeping in line with open spaces.

In case you want a little privacy, bedroom windows have screens. Even pretty trees and hedges have been scattered around low windows to ward off inquisitive children from peeping in while not compromising on light and ventilation.

“These shrubs, which are part of the plant system in the development, help demarcate boundaries for the units,” says Koh.

The roofs of each home have been sprinkled with stone chippers to keep the roof cool and break down the heat.

“When the weather becomes hot then cold, concrete is bound to crack. But these stones keep the temperature of the roof consistent. If leaves get blown in, the stones will hold the leaves and there’s no blockage at traps like in typical scenarios.”

For the record, stone chippers are environmentally friendly unlike pretty pond stones which are needed by fish to breed. In fact, most materials used in this development are recyclable or environmentally friendly.

Wood is used minimally and marble only in limited areas.

Even in the canal, shallow safety benches have been constructed so that if a child falls into the canal all he’ll suffer is a bruised ego and a telling off from his parents for his muddy clothes.

At the heart of it all is the club house, a proud creation inspired by the Four Seasons Hotel in Sayan, Bali. Ventilation shafts have been fitted in the back of the clubhouse to bring in the cool air and push out hot air. An amoeba-shaped pool fronts the clubhouse and there’s a steam pool in the middle. As you climb to the roof of the clubhouse, a roof pool beckons with koi fish (for goodwill) swimming inside.

“The roof pool works to insulate the whole area and conserve energy besides creating the ‘wow’ effect. It is also used to collect rainwater which is channelled off to water plants and for other uses,” says Yong.

A testament of hard work

Competitors have noticed Pinggiran Bayou’s success and are now tapping their consultants and contractors.

“It’s also an assured investment, especially when you look at the location and the surrounding developments taking place,” says Koh. “The FIABCI award shows that we’re going in the right direction,” he adds.

“We stuck very closely to the concept,” Yong sums up. “ This award is a recognition of our hard work.”


KNOWN as an award-winning developer, Mulpha has won many accolades over the years. A market leader in Johor, they continue to inspire with their new ideas and high standards. Pinggiran Bayou Village, their latest win, was CONQUAS ( Singapore’s Construction Quality Assessment System) assessed, a testament of its high quality construction work.

Malaysia Property Award 2007 for Residential (Low Rise) Category

Pinggiran Bayou Village

2007 ILAM Design Award

Kayu Manis Orchard Leisure Farm Resort

2005 FIABCI Prix d’ Excellence – Finalist

Bale Equestrian & Country Club

2005 PAM Architecture Steel Award

Innovative use of steel in architecture

2003 Architecture Award – South Chapter

Show Unit Pinggiran Bayou Courtyard Homes

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