VICTOR HUGE ONCE SAID THAT “INSPIRATION AND GENIUS ARE ONE AND THE SAME”.
The people who conceptualised Pulai Springs Resort, an award-winning golf resort in the Peninsular state of Johor, were inspired by the sumptuous, traditional Malay palaces of a past era and decided to recreate something similar; except that it would be in grander proportions, and would serve as a resort instead of a royal household.
The result? A visual and experiential delight. Structures like the Halfway House feature exquisitely carved gables with roof details reminiscent of period palaces and noble houses. The elegant artistry and wooden craftsmanship employed for such a huge building is simply spectacular.
And then there is the Clubhouse.
Awe-inspiring. Breathtaking. Stunning. There are not enough superlatives to succinctly capture the magnificence of this structure.
The Clubhouse was designed to create an impact. The brief to the architect reflected the then owners’ desire to celebrate nature and pay tribute to traditional Malay house forms. The owners wanted to fuse vernacular architecture with modern functionality. And, they wanted it to look and feel grand.
The Clubhouse is indeed an opulent-looking structure, both in terms of design and aesthetics. High-vaulted roofs, solid timber posts, exposed beams and trusses are combined with ornate carvings depicting exquisite floral motifs that attest to fine Malay craftsmanship. Inside, the use of Qing antiques blend graciously with the quintessentially Malay architecture, representing the cross-fertilisation of cultures in Malaysia.
The roof of the Clubhouse alone is worthy of further mention. It is high-pitched and laid with traditional singhorra tiles. The roof form done in traditional Malay style known as potong Johor or bumbung limas Bugis featuring exquisite woodcarvings on hipped gable end is reminiscent of grand Malay palaces of a bygone era. There is also a mahkota attap (roof crown) atop the three tiered pyramidal roof. Another unique timber feature is the decorative balung ayam (cockscomb), commonly found in Malay houses of Bugis origin, located at the tip of each gable end of the roof.
Double volume interiors supported by the extensive use of timber for the Clubhouse facilitate cross ventilation, providing natural coolness without the need for air conditioning. Chengal carvings in the fanlights provide additional lighting and ventilation. The Balau scissor trusses converge dramatically at the apex of the roof. King posts help support the high volume roof. There are 48 king posts in the lobby alone, which has been aptly named Ramayana, an ancient Sanskrit epic about an Indian prince. As each section of the timber trusses weighs more than two tons, they have been supported and connected by nuts and bolts.
Wood was a natural choice for Pulai Springs Resort. Besides being beautiful and organic, its thermal qualities make it a perfect material for all types of climate. But above all, it exudes warmth, and this inherent quality is simply unmatched by other building materials. Malaysian timbers like Chengal and Balau have also been known to outlast reinforced concrete and are impervious to termite attacks.
So deep was the passion of the owners for wanting to build a structure reminiscent of an old Malay palace, and so detailed was the execution of that passion that walking through the Clubhouse, one cannot help but feel like a Sultan or Maharajah of a bygone era.
And the successful evocation of such a feeling has resulted in a slew of awards for Pulai Springs Resort. In 1999, it won the Malaysian FIABCI (International Real Estate Federation) award in the leisure category. The following year, Pulai Springs won the highly coveted FIABCI Prix d’ Excellence
Award 2000 in the leisure category, beating 308 entries from around the world at the FIABCI London Congress.
There were three finalists for that category. Pulai Springs was the smallest, but the judges thought that it was incredibly beautiful. And the resort became the recipient of what has been described by the Wall Street Journal as “the most prestigious real estate award in the world”. Consideration was
given to the ingenious use of materials and to the artistic representation of Malaysia’s architectural and cultural heritage. And wood, with its natural beauty, warmth and versatility certainly contributed significantly to the winning charm and grandeur of Pulai Springs Resort.
For further information on Pulai Springs, please contact:
Pulai Springs Resort
20km, Jalan Pontian Lama
Tel : +60 7 521 2121 • Fax: +60 7 521 1818