BACKHOME: Transformation of Old Shop Houses into a Contemporary Backpackers' Hostel with Better Indoor Environmental Quality
Civil engineering and architecture
BACKHOME is a backpacker hostel in Kuala Lumpur city centre designed by Ar. Masyerin Md Nor, the principle of Domaine Architects Sdn Bhd. The design of this backpacker hostel had won the prestigious PAM Award in 2016 for commercial building. The travellers' sanctuary was originally four units of shop houses built in the 1970's. It was remodelled into a stylish and contemporary hostel to accommodate tourists visiting Kuala Lumpur or transiting to neighbouring countries such as Thailand,
... and Singapore. Set amidst the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur city centre, this hostel is a peaceful sanctuary for travelling backpackers. The refurbishment of the shop houses has provided better indoor environmental quality achieved through design strategies for natural ventilation and daylighting. This article reviews BACKHOME based on the current trend of adaptive reuse criteria usually adopted locally and also internationally. These include sustainability, construction, public engagement and historical aspects. From the review, it shows that the novelty of the scheme adopted in BACKHOME lies in the innovative engagement of these criteria. The scheme realised and manifested in BACKHOME can be very impactful in paving a new mode of adaptive reuse practice in Malaysia. This article highlights the essential aspects of the success of BACKHOME which could be emulated in any future adaptive reuse project especially involving heritage shop houses in this country.