Blog : Living ASEAN

An Architectural Masterpiece, the East Asiatic Building Opens its Doors: Wow, Look What’s Inside!

An Architectural Masterpiece, the East Asiatic Building Opens its Doors: Wow, Look What’s Inside!

The East Asiatic Building is a gem of Renaissance Revival architecture, a popular reprise of 14th through 17th century European design, and still new to us even though it’s been more than a hundred years since Italian architect Annibale Rigotti graced the Thai nation with this work. It is the former office building of a world leader in international trade, the East Asiatic Company (Thailand), founded by Captain H. N. Andersen, a Danish seaman. Andersen found work in Siam as a young man and rose to be captain of the Royal Navy during the reign of H.M. Chulalongkorn before becoming manager of the incomparably luxurious and world-renowned Oriental Hotel and going on to commission the East Asiatic Building.

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Nawapat Dusdul /// Photography: Soopakorn Srisakul

The East Asiatic Building The East Asiatic Building

The East Asiatic Building represents one of Thailand’s most significant historical periods in international trade. In 1984 it received the Architectural Conservation Award from the Association of Siamese Architects under Royal Patronage, and the Fine Arts Department has registered it as a historic site. As its last face-lifting repair was done back in 2001, this building is not normally open to public use, although it is occasionally rented out for banquets or advertising photo shoots. The Bangkok Art Biennale 2018 Festival (BAB 2018) marks the first time the general public will be able to go inside and fully appreciate the beauty of the East Asiatic Building – one of twenty sites where BAB 2018 festivities will be held between October 19, 2018 and February 3, 2019. The festival here offers not only an education in the hidden charms of old-style architecture, but a view of aesthetic wonders in masterworks created by world-class artists who are gathering here to create an experience you won’t be able to find anywhere else.

The East Asiatic Building The East Asiatic Building

The overall impression of the building’s interior is of an imprecise beauty, a kind of charm no new building can offer. Despite the renovation of arched doorways following along the lightweight walls, 2nd floor  openings show a framework of long wooden beams resting on main pillars, secured with knots and screws. You can see cracks, incrustations, and lichen stain discolorations of wall surfaces alongside piled-up and disintegrated remnants of compressed wood panels once used as space separators in the long-abandoned office building. The artists all expressed the opinion that this environment was perfect: no improvements or alterations needed. They want to display their work at this site just as it is.

The East Asiatic Building The East Asiatic Building The East Asiatic Building

This imprecise beauty brings to mind the Japanese “wabi-sabi” acceptance of transience and imperfection. Wrinkles and blemishes born of change and temporal deterioration show a beauty reflective of Zen Buddhist wisdom and reinforces our sense that the older the architecture, the more value it has. It is also all the more appropriate as a setting for art that values such flawed beauty, and exciting that all the Bangkok Art Biennale artists, whatever their methods of presentation or communication, are in harmony with the rich historical context of this building.

The lineup of both Thai and foreign artists displaying works at the East Asiatic Building – and the Festival this time also has showings at the OS Building – includes Lee Bul, a female Korean artist acknowledged as cutting-edge in performance art, sculpture, and installation art. Then there are Elmgreen & Dragset, a Danish and Norwegian contemporary artistic duo, who, though neither has completed a course of study in art, produced the widely acclaimed installation art piece “Van Gogh’s Ear.” Another presenter is “Tay,” Patiphat Chaiyawithate, a young artist of the new generation who pays close attention to the changes taking place around us, integrating them into many types of work: sculpture, installation art, and woven fabrics. His show includes lab rooms of the future and sculptures of animals foraging in a river basin. Another featured female artist with startlingly eye-catching work is Praew Kawita Vatanajyankur, who uses her own body as a primary subject in video art, much of which will be premiered in this fantastic building.


Wooden House with Thai-style “Tai Thun”: Comfortable Living, Easy Repair

Wooden House with Thai-style “Tai Thun”: Comfortable Living, Easy Repair

This wooden home in San Sai District, Chiang Mai Province connects 2 buildings with a high, wide open tai thun (open lower floor) featuring a long dining table and “living room” spot that gets a cool breeze the whole day.

Story: Patsiri Chotpongsun /// Photography: Rithirong Chanthongsuk /// Design: Nuttawut Saylahom

 Wooden House with Thai-style “Tai Thun”

Ae (Nuttawut) and May (Sutthida) Saylahom had scheduled ten months to build their new home, but it took more than a year to finish, until after their second son was born. Along the way a few alterations were made: a planned swimming pool, for instance, became instead a grass lawn where their young Kiri would be able to run and play with his new little brother.

Ae worked as both architect and laborer here in combining an old Lanna rice granary with the original wooden house next to it. Construction began by disassembling the old buildings: original components and materials were removed and set aside for use in new functionality envisioned in the new design. The granary’s primary structure remains: 8 large wooden pillars, with 4 pillars angled inwards for weight-bearing purposes. There is a tall main column reaching all the way through to the tie beam – a primary roof component – and another post up to the roof for ridgepole support, all set in a foundation of poured concrete to protect against moisture and ground-nesting termites.

 Wooden House with Thai-style “Tai Thun”  Wooden House with Thai-style “Tai Thun” Wooden House with Thai-style “Tai Thun”  Wooden House with Thai-style “Tai Thun”

The Making of the “Super Ung-Lo,” Ratchaburi’s Fuel-Efficient Cook Stove

The Making of the “Super Ung-Lo,” Ratchaburi’s Fuel-Efficient Cook Stove

The old-fashioned cook stove known as “Ung-Lo” has long been a manifestation of traditional knowledge of the people of Thailand. It’s fair to say that the charcoal stove can make food taste and smell better than can gas-fired cooking ranges. Precisely, nothing can replicate the natural smoky flavor of char. Nowadays, although the ubiquitous influence of gas-fired cooking ranges is felt by everybody, there’s always a demand for the charcoal stove. That said, we believe there’s at least one “Ung-Lo” in practically every household to meet every cooking need, whether it be barbecuing low and slow or cooking with high heat.

Story: Trairat Songpao /// Photography: Kosol Paipoei

Ruam Sukhawattago is owner of “Gold Stoves,” an old manufacturing factory located in Ratchaburi Province. He kindly takes a break from work to show us around and share his experience. No doubt it’s an opportunity to observe traditional knowledge at work and see how the cloning process has evolved over time to fit modern circumstances. In the process, Ruam succeeds in crafting a fuel-efficient cook stove that he calls the “Super Ung-Lo.” The product is made from materials sourced directly from the community, such as clay and rice husk ash. In all, the handcrafted cook stove takes ten days from start to finish.

Super Ung-Lo Super Ung-Lo Super Ung-Lo

How It’s Made

First of all, clay goes through a curing process to become liquefied overnight. Then the soft clay is mixed with soil and rice husk ash. The ratio of soil to ash is 2:1. Work the moistened clay mix into paste with the hands until it’s thick and malleable enough to be molded to its final shape.

Let it cure for 12 hours before attaching three cooking pot supports to the inside wall of the fire chamber. The support points should be raised slightly higher than the mouth of a stove. Rub off the rough edges on the clay surface to give it a nice finish. Cut an opening in the lower part of the wall to make an air inlet. Then, let stand for five days before putting it in a kiln, where the clay stove becomes hardened by heat. 

Next is the making of a perforated clay brick or grill that separates the fire box from the ash chamber below. The lower room doubles as air inlet and ash removal port. The round grill prevents the fire from falling into the space underneath. Traditionally, a total of 61 holes are made while the brick is soft and easy to cut. The grill is fired at the same time as is the stove body.

From the kiln, the hardened earthenware is placed inside a metal casing for protection. The void space is filled with rice husk ash for heat insulation. Finally, it’s time to seal the top circumference with cement mix and install the perforated brick to complete the process.

Super Ung-Lo Super Ung-Lo

The “Super Ung-Lo” cook stove is designed to save fuel in line with the policy of the Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency. It differs from traditional cook stoves in that:

  1. Shape: It’s perfectly shaped to store thermal energy in material by raising its temperatures.
  2. Stove top circumference: The stove mouth is capable of supporting 9 sizes of cooking pots (sizes 16-32)
  3. Support points: The three support points are raised above the top circumference only slightly to minimize heat loss.
  4. Fire chamber: Relatively speaking, its fire chamber is smaller than that of a traditional cook stove, which translates into less fuel being used.
  5. Grill: The perforated clay brick is made thicker for durability. Its efficiency comes from a forceful current of air that is pulled through many smaller holes using convection.

Super Ung-Lo Super Ung-Lo

Touring the factory, we come across so many cook stoves to the extent it gets us thinking about the future of the age-old industry. Will this occupation continue to have pride of place in modern circumstances? Interestingly enough, Ruam replies:

“At one time, the US Embassy invited me to join my counterparts from Laos and Vietnam for a meeting on Ung-Lo making in Vientiane. I represented Thailand in that event. At the time, many versions of cook stoves were discussed and compared in a bid to identify a design that produced the highest heat, had the least impact on the environment, and the most energy efficient. The Thai Ung-Lo proved to be the case. It started a fire in the least amount of time. By comparison, it produced the highest heat with water reaching the boiling point very quickly. In fact, the kettle boiled twice while the Vietnamese stove had only just started a fire.

“It turned out that theirs was a biofuel stove, which produced a lot of smoke. Experiments showed the Thai stove was made to a high quality standard. I couldn’t help wondering why the Americans were so interested in the Ung-Lo. Their answer was that 20 years from now, humans would have turned around to using traditional cook stoves due to natural gas being used up. Oils derived from petroleum would have been depleted less than 50 years from now, unlike wood which is a renewable product. So, now I understand.”

Super Ung-Lo

We came away feeling good knowing we have formed friendships and understanding with each other. It made us happy to go by the saying, “Whatever you do in life, do it for love.” Ruam Sukhawatago no doubt was of the same opinion.

For a chance to visit the “Gold Stoves” factory, or get yourself something good like a “Super Ung-Lo,” call 08-7977-8677 for information.

Source :


“Huean Tham,” Local Thai House in a Japanese Tradition

“Huean Tham,” Local Thai House in a Japanese Tradition

This home connects architecture and life in a beautiful, serene composition at one with nature, hence the name “Huean Tham” (House of Dharma)

Story: Wuthikorn Suthiapa /// Photography: Soopakorn Srisakul /// Owner : Somyot Suparpornhemin and Usaburo Sato /// Design:
Arsomsilp Community and Environmental Architect /// Project Consultant : Teerapon Niyom /// Architect: Nuntapong Lertmaneetaweesap /// Contractor: Pratiew Yasai

The Huean Tham house has a depth that makes it much more than just a place to live. It’s actually a group of buildings and rooms, each with its own particular use. The Thai word tham (dharma) is integral to the words thammachat (nature) and thammada (natural), and suggests tranquility in life.

Local Thai House

Huean Tham is a residence, a design workshop for naturally dyed fabrics, and a storehouse for Usaato brand fabrics, all in 6 buildings. First is “ruean yai” (the large house), residence of owners Somyot Suparpornhemin and Usaburo Sato.

Just to the north is ruean lek (small house), where the children and visiting friends stay. More or less in the center of the complex is sala tham (dharma hall), a place to socialize, with a shady multipurpose yard for activities such as dharma seminars and trainings in woven fabric design, for a local village weaving group, and in natural soap production. There is also a shrine with a wooden Buddha here. Both wings of the second floor hold guest rooms for close friends. On the southwest side is ruean luang pho (holy man house), a retreat for family members which serves as a monk’s hut when a revered spiritual teacher is invited to the home. Finally, to the south are akhan kep pha (fabric storehouse) and ruean ngan (workshop) for design work, with different rooms for specialists in different crafts.

Local Thai HouseLocal Thai HouseLocal Thai House

Huean Tham’s outstanding attributes were conceived by Arsomsilp Community and Environmental Architect with the aim of combining good features of the traditional Thai house with functional Japanese concepts. Entering ruean yai we see the floor is raised a bit: this is to protect against ground moisture. Thai and Japanese homes share a characteristic utilization of the area beneath the main house for guest reception and dining, a multipurpose space called “tai thun” in Thai. Construction materials were selected for their good points and their suitability: the house is constructed primarily of wood, the house frame primarily of concrete and steel.

The architecture of Huean Tham isn’t flashy or showy. The true beauty of this home is in its fusion of architecture with life toward a oneness with nature and the ways of tranquility, raising the level of excellence for both the architectural team and for Eung and Ussa’s lifestyle. This excellence will continuously reinforce the beauty of this home as time goes on.

Local Thai House Local Thai House Local Thai HouseLocal Thai House


House Under The Pines

House Under The Pines

This modern house nestled in pine-forested hills is surrounded by green grass and tree-studded scenery that provides privacy and accents its harmony with the natural setting.

/// VIETNAM ///
Story: Sara’ /// Photography: Triệu Chiến /// Design: Idee Architects

Modern House

This house was designed by a Vietnamese team from Idee Architects whose priorities involved respecting the former environment instead of leveling the hill and responding to the simplicity of the owner’s lifestyle. This they managed with an “open space” concept in a home full of modern conveniences that still stays close to nature, washed in the sunlight that streams in through the pine woods.

Modern House

The house is built on two levels, the lower section holding a carport/garage and multipurpose room, and the upper level with living room, kitchen, and four bedrooms set atop a piney hill with a magnificent view on three sides. Interior colors are dominated by natural-looking mid-tone colors: whites, blacks, greys, browns, conveying natural warmth and tranquility. The “focus and flow” design creates points of interest with a play of straight, horizontal, and vertical lines laid against the curves of the drive.

modern house modern house

Three-meter eaves project out from the house to offer increased protection from Vietnam’s heavy rain and bright sunlight. The house is designed in the shape of a slightly unbalanced “T” with a “semi-outdoor” pathway reaching all around. Except for the outdoor shower belonging to the master bedroom, on good-weather days doors and windows on every side of the house can be opened to let the air flow through. A corridor on the west side acts as heat insulation for the bedroom, an elegant simplicity in design that creates balance between static and dynamic elements in the house.

The bedroom’s spaciousness shows dynamism, with the static element expressed through its privacy and sense of peace and quiet. The house is securely tucked away in greenery, as the building was actually designed to blend in with the trees that were already present. The big grass lawn out in front of the living room and bedrooms provides a great playground for the kids without blocking the idyllic view from inside.

modern house modern house modern house modern housemodern house modern house modern house

The house structure is primarily of authentic materials like steel, brick, and glass, whose lightness makes for easier adjustments when encountering problems combining them in construction while helping reduce living expenses and minimize negative effects on the original land. Future energy use is optimized with the wide roof’s facilitation of solar energy storage as well as through clean water and the cultivation of vegetables, all of which truly support a comfortable and relaxing lifestyle.

Link: Idee architects – 

Duangrit Bunnag Group Wins Suvarnabhumi Airport Terminal 2 Project Design Contest

Duangrit Bunnag Group Wins Suvarnabhumi Airport Terminal 2 Project Design Contest

The Airports of Thailand Public Company Limited (AOT) announced on August 22, 2018 that the Duangrit Bunnag Group, aka the DBALP Consortium, has won the Suvarnabhumi Airport Terminal 2 Project design contest.

AOT had previously invited the private sector to make bids for designing the new 35-billion-baht Terminal 2 project. As a result, the first runner-up Duangrit Bunnag Group was declared winner for its design proposal worth an estimated 329 million baht.

DBALP was able to achieve an important triumph after the winning bidder SA Group was disqualified for failing to submit an important document, namely, the original quotation for the cost of work as stipulated in the contract.

The SA Group stood firm that it had never received the original quotation document from AOT, and called for a reconsideration of bid results. It made reference to winning on points for its technical proposal, and that the cost of work it entered for the contest was lower than that stipulated by AOT. Furthermore, the purpose of the original quotation document was only to prevent the competition process being compromised.   

Four private sector groups responded to the AOT invitation to compete for design work by means of sealed bids. The first is a consortium of legal persons consisting of DBALP, Nikken Sekkei, EMS, MHPM, and MSA, collectively known as the Duangrit Bunnag Group for short.

The second group is an association of consulting firms made up of the Beaumont Partners Co Ltd, the Index International Group Co Ltd, the Egis-Rail (Thailand) Co Ltd, the CEL Engineers Co Ltd, the CEL Architects and Environments Co Ltd, the Alana Engineering Co Ltd, Egis Avia, and Egis Rail S.A.

The third group is a number of consulting firms composed of the Varda Associates Co Ltd, the Wise Project Consulting Co Ltd, and the Chong Lim Architecture Co Ltd.

Last is the SA Group, a consortium of consulting firms made up of the Span Consultants Co Ltd, the Sign-Tech Engineering Consultants Co Ltd, the Azusa Sekkei Co Ltd, and the Sky Party Co Ltd.

A rendering of Suvarnabhumi Airport Terminal 2 by the DBALP Consortium

As per the August 22, 2018 announcement, the DBALP Consortium is obligated to complete its forest-inspired design on the Suvarnabhumi Airport Terminal 2 project in 10 months’ time. Coming up next is an AOT invitation to bid for the construction phase.

Designed to meet future demands, the new Terminal 2 at Suvarnabhumi Airport will have the ability to receive over 30 million passengers annually — 12 million via domestic flights, and 18 million on board international flights. The building will come complete with 14 airport aprons and parking spaces for 1,000 cars. Construction will take about 30 months to complete. The project is scheduled to be fully functional mid-2021 at the earliest.

A rendering of Suvarnabhumi Airport Terminal 2 by the DBALP Consortium

See more: A glance at other design proposals entered into the competition >>

The BaanLaeSuan Fair Midyear 2018, Plenty of Events You Don’t Want to Miss

The BaanLaeSuan Fair Midyear 2018, Plenty of Events You Don’t Want to Miss

The BaanLaeSuan Fair Midyear 2018 is scheduled for 4-12 August at the Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Center, Bang Na (BITEC Bang Na). Save the date! The annual event taking place at Halls 98 thru 104 showcases the latest in smart-home technologies and innovations designed to answer modern lifestyle needs. Hence, this year’s theme is aptly called the “Internet of Home.” Nowadays, microcomputers can be used for a variety of purposes, while the “Internet of Things” (IoT) has made it possible to monitor in-home safety, control lights and temperatures, and possibilities are endless. Needless to say the network of computing devices embedded in everything home has changed the way we live in one way or another. That being said, the houses of the future will look significantly different. And we don’t want you to miss out on it.

Entrance to the “Internet of Home” Exhibition

The entrance hall is the first stop on your journey into the BaanLaeSuan Fair Midyear 2018. Reduced ornamental details are intended to make the entryway beautiful and welcoming as a photo-op venue. Plus, it’s about keeping it simple.

Whether it be a flight of stairs, door frames, or window casings, every house part is a symbol that communicates the ideas and the quality of being useful and suitable in modern circumstances. Meantime, the lighting arouses enthusiasm, while a television screen gives handy hints about what’s on display inside.

BaanLaeSuan Home Ideas
Smart Home Where Things Work by Voice Command

There are technologies aplenty to make your home smart and capable of answering modern lifestyle needs.

While the Internet of Things allows business to connect with technology with amazing results, the Internet of Home offers a glimpse into the future of human dwellings, especially the kind that’s controlled by microcomputers and a network of interconnected devices. Take for example a voice command that works by converting the analog waves of human voices into digital data that in turn cause machines and other systems to operate.

This part of the show illustrates how technological advancements are being used to create modern conveniences in every part of the home. And it’s happening now. The areas already benefiting from smart home technologies, such as voice recognition and related applications, are:

The Kitchen, dining room, and backyard: The kitchen serves multiple functions. Both the countertop and the island designed for food preparation can transform into bar counters or dining room furniture when needed. Here, three design options are operated by voice command. They are:

1.In the Morning, the lighting over the kitchen countertop and nearby island operates by voice commands. At the same time, the TV set turns itself on to bring in morning news.

2.Romantic Nighttime View. Voice commands turn off the lights in the kitchen by night, while the dining room and nearby backyard remain fully lit culminating in romantic dinner experience.

3.When it’s party time, all the lights in this area turn on, while the stage is aglow under the lights in many vibrant colors. At the same time, the stereo system turns on and fills the room with the sound of music.

The exhibition also showcases a part of the backyard that’s equipped with charging facilities for electric cars. The area can be easily updated to suit different purposes in future.

The bedroom, dressing room, and bath: The dressing area and adjacent bathroom come complete with smart mirrors that operate by a voice-recognition app. Two sets of commands are on display in this part of the show.

1.In the morning, a voice command opens the curtains to allow the bedroom to bask in the early morning sun when the temperatures are mild. At the same time, the lighting in the dressing room turns on.

2.By night, the curtains are closed and bedroom lights are turned off by the voice-command app, turning the bedroom into a cool and restful place.

Having seen enough of home decorating ideas, it’s time to head for the Book House E-commerce Café. It’s a quiet hangout for people with a passion for reading, and you are welcome to download something to read for free for 24 hours.

Take your time to browse around the store for new book releases from BaanLaeSuan Printing and Publishing, or just lean back and chill out with a cup of fresh-brewed coffee.

Graphic illustrations of the “Internet of Home” concept
A Steel Frame Waterfront House That Blends Modernity with Context

A Steel Frame Waterfront House That Blends Modernity with Context

This home rises above a tall tai thun open space perfect for socializing, especially for large family gatherings. And it has some surprises inside.

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Samutcha Viraporn /// Photography: Sitthisak Namkham /// Design: Volume Matrix Studio 

There was already a residence built here, but it wasn’t designed with the evolving needs of such a big family in mind, so a new space was created, a new waterfront home where everyone could come together and guests could spend the night.

Steel HouseSteel House

 The steel used for columns, beams, stairs, and balconies is surplus material  from a large construction business belonging to the owner himself. “I had to scale the entire house to fit all that material,” said architect Kasin Sonsri, of Volume Matrix Studio as he spoke about the design challenges.

    Steel HouseSteel House Steel House Steel House

This Ayutthaya home is put together to give the feel of a traditional Thai house, with its high tai thun to use as a multi-purpose courtyard, broad eaves reaching out, living area open and inviting to the outside breeze, house raised up to catch views of the river and the garden below. There’s a wide porch, an add-on extending out from the big house. Massive posts and beams are designed to showcase their structural utility as a part of the house, as do the steps up into the dining room, the walkways, the outside porch, and the rain gutters spilling water through a steel grate. All these elements combine to give a unique contemporary look to this house of steel and wood. The interior décor is simple. The second floor features an “open plan” separation of usable space: walls open up, reaching through from the kitchen into a large dining nook and from there into the living room area.

    Steel House Steel House Steel House Steel House

Step up onto the third floor, and surprise! The décor completely changes and it’s as if you’ve suddenly dropped into a Japanese home, where the style of mats, windows, and doors all tell you why the owner named the house “Sala Zen.” In this room is a built-in cabinet where bedding is stored so that guests can easily come spend the night. Outside is a roof deck garden highlighted by an Onsen hot tub in an outdoor private spot that can’t be seen from the garden below.

Steel House Steel House Steel House Steel House

This home is composed of many elements, but they all blend to make this a truly Thai residence, a steel-framed waterfront house that’s warm and familial, fits perfectly into its context, and offers the experience of comfortable living with natural light and breezes and great views all around, on this small Ko Rian soi in Ayutthaya Province.

Steel House


Single-Storey House on a Foundation of Simplicity

Single-Storey House on a Foundation of Simplicity

Right in the middle of a field in Ang Thong Province stands a single-storey house that has become a community point of interest, built with his own cash by a 73-year-old youngster.

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Patsiri Chot /// Photography: Soopakorn Srisakul /// Design: Teerachai Leesuraplanon /// Style: Somboon Kringkrai

Owner Chamnan Chatchawalyangkul says, “At my age, I really needed to make this happen while I was still strong enough to get around. I don’t want to be a burden on my kids when I’m not so capable anymore, living in a cramped room with them worrying about me all the time. I needed to plan in advance to have a house where I can take care of myself. And the house will eventually belong to the kids anyhow.” 

Single-Storey House / Teerachai LeesuraplanonSingle-Storey House / Teerachai Leesuraplanon Single-Storey House / Teerachai Leesuraplanon Single-Storey House / Teerachai Leesuraplanon

Chamnan’s design is spare and open, with excellent ventilation. With everything on the same level, each room is accessible by wheelchair. One special place is a karaoke room for him and his friends. Architect Jim (Teerachai) Leesuraplanon tells us, “Chamnan said he’d always lived in a rowhouse, a limited, safe space. Some people might want a house in the middle of an open lot to be open all around, but I think about safety, too. This is why we put the brick wall in front, and the iron bars, barriers that still allow light and air to pass through. I’d summarize the design I had in mind with the three words ‘balance,’ ‘blend,’ and ‘believe,’ expressing a balanced life, cause and effect, and faith.”

Single-Storey House / Teerachai LeesuraplanonSingle-Storey House / Teerachai LeesuraplanonSingle-Storey House / Teerachai Leesuraplanon
Standing in a rural field with a road in front, the house opens out on a rubber tree orchard in the rear. Simplicity is the foundation of the design: a balance between vertical and horizontal lines and surfaces, no nooks or ridges to collect dust, and elemental materials such as concrete, wood, metal, brick, and gravel. A metal frame lifts the roof at an angle to break the force of the wind. The floor is raised above the ground, facilitating maintenance work on utility systems beneath. The front wall is a striking display of BPK brick, a local Ang Thong material, laid in a unique arrangement to create beautiful patterns of light and shade, with an additional layer of sliding glass windows for safety. Around the house is laid a path of river gravel, so someone in the house can easily hear a person walking outside.

Single-Storey House / Teerachai LeesuraplanonSingle-Storey House / Teerachai Leesuraplanon Single-Storey House / Teerachai Leesuraplanon

The big central living room is a great place to relax, but the real heart of the house is the big porch. When the folding doors are opened, the room opens up, and it’s much like an old-time Thai house, with the added benefit of a great view of the gorgeous rubber forest, just as the original design envisioned.

Single-Storey House / Teerachai LeesuraplanonSingle-Storey House / Teerachai Leesuraplanon


Peaceful, Shady Northeastern Thai House

Peaceful, Shady Northeastern Thai House

Out of the edge of a sun hemp field rises what looks to be a traditional huean isaan (Northeastern Thai house). But this home, set in a shady, woodsy atmosphere, fragrant with the aromas of a Thai house and the fun-filled rhythms of Thai family ways, is fully adapted to contemporary ways of life.

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Wuthikorn Suthiapa /// Photography: Soopakorn Srisakul /// Style: Wanas Thira /// Design: Arsomsilp Community and Environmental Architects

After Sakda and Orapin Sreesangkom had lived 20 years in a condo, they designed this eco-friendly house to find an adaptation of Thai family life that could suit the modern age, and to build environmental awareness in themselves and their children.

The ground floor design echoes the traditional tai thun lower space found beneath Thai houses. A porch reaches outwards to fill the usual roles: entertaining guests, socializing. Up close you’ll see it’s more like 3 houses connected by one deck, each one with wide eaves blocking sun and rain, but with a twist: the underside insulation is “rammed earth,” La Terre’s innovative cooling solution that rapidly absorbs and diffuses heat and is made from organic, renewable materials. Sakda and designers Arsomsilp Community and Environmental Architects shared the same vision.

The huean isaan takes over in spirit, though, with its outward image evoking a cultural memory reflected in the playfulness of the three boys, Chris, Gav, and Guy, bringing cheer to every corner of the house: playing in the attic, sliding down polished planks beside the stairway, and everyone’s favorite: the sky deck, accessible from anywhere in the house.

The heart of the home is the living room: it’s spacious, with bar counter, dining area, and sofas for relaxing, sized 7 X 11 meters, and with no support pillars blocking the view within. It was designed to mirror the look and function of the tai thun, a space that brings everyone together to do whatever they like to do best, as individuals or a group.

The building foundation supports a raised deck all around the house. This keeps slithering things and garden creepy-crawlies from coming into the house, at the same time creating good ventilation below. The extra area for sitting, stretching the legs, or walking out into the garden is one more bonus.

Sakda’s deep attachment to the traditional huean isaan it what brought this all about. That, and the family’s courage in leaving the convenience of condo life behind them to design, build and live in a completely different way, growing their own garden, and creating a new home that could be passed down to the next generations.

Sun hemp is grown for soil maintenance

Link: Arsomsilp Community and Environmental Architects