Sunday, November 18, 2012

Quintessentially Gita Bayu


The Star/Asia News Network
Sunday, Nov 18, 2012

Top on the list of priorities among discerning property buyers has always been about security whether the home costs RM1 million or RM10 million (S$400,000 or S$4 million).

Therefore, despite all the re-hashed ideas of New Age living focusing on the Green precepts of ecology and environmentalism, property owners still want to feel secure and safe in their own homes.

Nevermind the trendy idea of bringing the outdoors inside or having a spacious "lanai" or an open-living concept. With all the disturbing news about home invasion and kidnap cases even in the poshest residential neighbourhoods in Kuala Lumpur, can you fault property buyers who want a fortress-like home with all the latest security gadgets and still boasts of leading a stylish lifestyle?

Well, if your budget is between RM8mil to RM9mil, you can opt for the latest and perhaps, the most stylish, exclusive and secure homes on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur yet. Award-winning property developer Yee Seng Heights Sdn Bhd has just launched a limited series of five luxury houses in its Gita Bayu enclave in Seri Kembangan with a gross development value of about RM40mil.

While snobs may sneer at the mention of Seri Kembangan (formerly known as Serdang New Village) but there is no denying that Gita Bayu does have some of the nicest houses that money can buy and the greenest terrain around with old rubber trees still standing.



Rubber estate

Established in 1996 by Yee Seng Heights Sdn Bhd, Gita Bayu was formerly a rubber estate that spanned 47ha (118 acres). Planned as a low-density development, Gita Bayu currently accommodates:

200 bungalow lots (540sq m to 1,776sq m / 5,812sq ft to 19,117sq ft) 100 townhouse units (118sq m to 173sq m / 1,270sq ft to 1,860sq ft) 31 "cluster-bungalow" garden villas (296sq m to 407sq m / 3,187sq ft to 4,381sq ft) 54 "hill villas" condominium and bungalow units (275sq m to 367sq m / 2,960sq ft to 3,950sq ft).

With a newly-completed show unit available for inspection, the Quintet houses will certainly reflect style and sophistication barring design interference from the eventual owners.

Designed by Kuala Lumpur-based architect Gregory Dall from Pentago Studios working painstakingly with expatriate interior designer Nick Proud of RDM Design, the triple-level show house has many design plusses with only one or two perceivable minuses to it.

The interior design scheme is indeed attractive especially for the texture, colour scheme, tasteful decorative accessories and the gorgeous flooring and wall finish.

Dall, who used to live in Gita Bayu with his family, was involved in the development from the early days. He pointed out that a well-designed home should not be a statement of the architect but should be family-oriented.
"The Gita Bayu style is all about sustainable design focusing on nature and water," explained the architect during a media tour of the Quintet show house.

"And when we are designing an open plan house, security is very important. And I must say, Gita Bayu has the best security measures in the region."



Zones

He explained that the Quintet house design is divided into designated sections. The family living zone where the dining space is located, offers an indoor-outdoor lifestyle. The formal zone for entertaining guests is sited at the back of the house. This section has been designed with huge glass panels on one side, which provide views of the garden and deck.

Some zones are designed to be open air and some to be air-conditioned. And the upstairs section is the secured zone. And finally, the wow factor is on the rooftop.

To be built on adjoining lots that range from 702sq m to 856sq m (7,556sq ft to 9,214sq ft), the five individually-designed houses feature a modern tropical concept. The open living concept for the dining area has two sides of a rectangular layout open to the elements. There are views of an enclosed garden on one side and a water feature on the other. High walls shield the inhabitants from prying eyes.

The main highlight of the architectural design is the swimming pool on the flat rooftop where high walls ensure privacy. And yet the pool is open to the sky, thus, perfect for uninhibited sunbathing.

The minus point is the siting of a spiral staircase that leads from the master bedroom to a small loft on the rooftop that opens out to the pool. At another end of the rooftop, there is a separate staircase that provides general access to the pool deck. Although, a nifty feature to have a staircase next to the bed but it does visually and literally divides the bedroom space.

Anyway, a pertinent security feature is that the first floor can be locked off from the ground floor with a roller shutter. Apparently, once the metal shield is electronically locked down, intruders who are able to breach the perimeter of the guarded housing estate and evade the 24-hour security patrol, they won't be able to penetrate upstairs, theoretically. However, the shutter does take sometime to roll down.

And the second minus point of the show house is the phallus-like door handles designed by a well-known pewter company to resemble a rubber seedling. It is almost obscene. But it ought to be mentioned that Dall and Proud didn't have a choice in selecting this feature.

But what is impressive is the general proportion and scale of the overall architectural design. The choice of high quality bathroom fittings and sanitary ware matched perfectly with the imported marble wall and floor finish that cost about RM60 per square foot. Obviously, natural stone and timber figure prominently in the design features.



When Yee Seng first sold the bungalow lots way back in 1997, the cost was less than RM40 per square foot. Nowadays, vacant lots for sub-sale are priced at about RM300 per square foot.

Credit should be given to Yee Seng for engaging distinguished Thai architect Lek Bunnag and Bangkok-based American landscape architect Bill Bensley for creating the lakeside clubhouse. Dubbed Kebun Mimpi, the clubhouse has a steeply pitched roof typical of traditional Southeast Asian architecture. And this distinctive roof design is also utilised by Dall for the Quintet houses.

New condos Since 2002 after the completion of the clubhouse, Gita Bayu has been bestowed The International Real Estate Federation (Fiabci) award for best residential development and the best landscaping for hotel/resort/tourism complex category, both in 2003. And in 2004, it was nominated for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in the residential category.

According to Yee Seng chief executive officer Andre Keller, for the remaining 20 acres of land held by the company, plans are underway for more individually-designed bungalows as well as limited shop lots.

He added that as a low-density development with four housing units to 0.4ha (one acre), there could only be a maximum of about 500-600 units in Gita Bayu.

And for those who prefer the convenience and comparative affordability of a condo home, should keep their ears open for the launch of serviced condo units soon.




Martin Koh | 86666 944 | R020968Z
Sherry Tang | 9844 4400 | R020241C
Senior Sales Director
Email: marshe_inc@yahoo.com.sg
DTZ Debenham Tie Leung (SEA) Pte Ltd (L3006301G)

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