This very cool-looking cubic house design really stands out in this more than thirty-year-old subdivision. Quiet, simple lines, authentic surfaces. Minimal decoration, just the few furniture pieces necessary.
“Since Mom is in the house more than anyone else, things are designed mainly for her walking around, in and out of the kitchen, dining room, and bedroom – which is on the ground floor for her convenience. Maintenance is easy: no cracks and crevices, simpler for an older person to work with,” Suphot Saengkeut, her youngest son, tells us.
To make the concept a reality, the Saengkeut family demolished and completely did away with the old house to build something entirely new on the 300-square-meter property. They made the kitchen spacious and, Thai-style, open to natural light and air flow, with primarily tile surfaces. In the front are storage cabinets with easy-to-clean surfaces of frosted glass, and vertically set boxes for electrical and water systems, accessible from the outside for maintenance and repair.
“Here, form follows function: whatever use the space lends itself to, that’s how it’s used,” says Somphon, the middle son. The architect adds, “Starting from the car park area out front and lining up the ground floor rooms with the upstairs bedrooms, the necessary simplicity of the form became obvious, with no functional need to change. The rectangular shape opens out towards the entrance, for people to better enjoy the natural world outside.”
The house faces east, with a latticework metal fence and a carport, keeping the sun from reaching into the indoor living space. The kitchen is separated off by an opaque wall. The dining room opens out with a glass wall set in a metal lattice frame, and outside is a fence of synthetic wood that blocks the sun and adds privacy. To the north is an open courtyard in the center of the house with tree jasmine, a place to relax or exercise, and a spiral stair which leads up to the bedroom of Somphop, the oldest son, without going back into the house.
Somphon installed solar slab panels with a gap between them and the concrete roof for good ventilation, also helped by air channels with metal caps releasing hot air from within. The panels shade the roof, which also has foam heat insulation beneath it.
Suphot leaves us with some final thoughts: “The house is really well set up for individual privacy. The living room is used the least, but a lot of mornings, evenings, and holidays we hang out together in the dining room. And if I’m upstairs working, there’s an open wall, and I can keep an eye on Mom downstairs. It’s a good feeling to know she’s safe, and we’re right there for her.”
This house, named ‘Stacking Green’ is located in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. This residential building has an interesting form and exterior that we felt drawn to see with our own eyes.
/// Vietnam ///
Photos : Supakon Srisakun /// Design : Vo Trong Nghia Co., Ltd.
This building received the 2012 World Architecture festival Award in Singapore. The awards presented to outstanding designers and architectural works around the globe. “Stacking Green’s” citation for architectural excellence in the residential building category was not surprising at all, as its ways of dealing with complex problems in a simple way yielded a truly interesting outcome.
A townhouse with four stories -4 meters wide and 20 meters deep, for a total of 250 square meters of usable space. This was designed especially for the three who would live there. One of these was an old person, and so that bedroom was placed on the lowest floor so no stairs would have to be climbed. The second floor consist the dining room, kitchen, and living room. On the third floor is the master bedroom with the open floor plan bathroom. The guest bedroom is located on the fourth floor.
The houses in Vietnam are often compactly built in townhouse form to use as little property space as possible, often resulting in cramped residences and unattractive-looking building fronts. Here, the architects have incorporated privacy into the design. So not to allow anyone to look in from outside and provide the owner peace and contentment. This also help reduce the pollution from the street.
Additionally, both in front and back of the house feature rows of horizontal planter boxes which screen the view inwards and create attractive façades. The house also features open ports which run up and down through all the floors. This allows for hot air from below to rise and vent out the top of the building, and by the same token for cooler air to blow down inside and keep the heat down even at high noon.
There are spaces between the boxes to allow the plants to grow. Inside the house, there are hardly any walls separating the rooms, except for bathrooms. This is done for efficient ventilation throughout the house, at the same time giving the house an open, uncluttered feel. Those open spaces between planter boxes were determined by the types of vegetation planted. The full height of a plant was used to fix the spacing between planters on each floor. In this way when plants reached their full height and became the outer surface of the building they would serve to filter the sunlight, while the breezes could still flow through. The architects picked trees or plants with fine and delicate foliage so as not to block the wind, and for ease of use they installed pipes for an automatic watering system.
Tom Dannecker (Architect) and Sawinee Buranasilapin (Designer) of Thingsmatter join force to create a functional home for a family.
The main building was divided into two parallel units with a roomy space in between. The first unit includes a workroom, a food preparation area, a dining area and a living room. On the second floor is a master bedroom, a child bedroom and a playroom.
The second unit was especially designed for the mother. On the first floor is a service area, a kitchen, a laundry room and a maid workroom. The second floor is reserved for relaxation. Located here are a bedroom and two spare guest rooms. Both units are connected through a walkway (and a stairway to the second floor). Attached with the walkway is a high louver panel, which is also a door to a garden.
The swing door can be opened to its full width at 90 degree angles, giving full scenic garden view. Even though the louvers are fixed, their large sizes and varying degrees combined make an effective ventilation system. These panels are made from white fiber cement, which is durable and goes well with the house’s rectangular design. Wired screen is attached behind the panel, to keep the mosquito out of worries.
Since the house is located in an old village, the neighborhood is not of a great view. Polycarbonate sheets are applied to solve the problem. So, other houses roof look somewhat like a blurred color shape.
Strength and durable are strongly stressed here. Apart from reinforced concrete structure, stairs and walkways are coated with green epoxy for long-lasting use. Exmet (Expanded metal) meshes are installed on the wall around the house. Also, instead of using a laminated board for a kitchen cabinet, fiber cement board is used. It’s is not only an inexpensive choice, but also gives a simple and unpretentious look.
Located in suburb area, this minimalist house has plenty of ample space for a family. The owner reaches out to A21 Studio group of architects to design the place.
/// Vietnam ///
Architect: A21 Studio /// Photo: Soopakorn Srisakul
The house incorporated many natural features. The ground floor interior appears open, airy and uncluttered, using glass to divide the room area. A green oasis in the center court can be seen in full view from anywhere. The cozy innermost section is a private area designed to accommodate visiting acquaintances.
Double-space design boasts a sense of virtual unity within the first and the second floor. A kids homework room and a sitting room on the second floor can be either connected or separated as needed. On the third floor is where a home gym and a bathtub are located and nicely furnished for a good rest after a long day.
The highlights of the clean-cut interior are gloss finish concrete floors, glass room dividers, and solid walls painted polite colors. Streamlined furniture makes for comfortable living in Minimalist style.
The least disruption of airflow makes it possible to do without turning on air condition. That means saving on electricity and other energy-related expenses.
The ordinary creation to answer the homeowner needs is achieved here. With an environmental consciousness and a minimalist house design, the home gives residents a better living.
A beachfront home is built based on a simple exterior design, yet it is a perfect hideaway to relax in a tranquil environment.
/// Thailand ///
Story : Atla Otto /// Photos : Sungwan Phratem
Here is a simple home designed for easy coastal living. It is nestled on the peaceful western shore of Samui Island. The neighborhood is known for envy-inducing outdoor spaces and stunning sea views.
The waterfront home sits on a rectangular plot of land large enough for building a good-sized house. But the property owner is not looking for a design that is twice longer than wide. Because a rectangular floor plan may be lacking in variety, he opts for something else more interesting. The result is a neatly planned vacation home comprising three detached units. All of their front rooms are positioned to take advantage of the waterfront’s views and breezes.
The three shed-roof buildings sit facing one another and come in different sizes. Their floors are raised 50 cm above the ground. The largest unit features a semi-open design to serve multiple purposes, incorporating a seating area, dining room and pantry. Next to it stands the second building with master bedroom with ocean views. An infinity pool, lush greenery and the beach lie between the two buildings and the open sea. The third building, which is set further back, features two en suite bedrooms. It is the first to be accessible from the street. The three-unit home boasts clean line exterior design with an emphasis on relaxing hues, such as white, gray and beige. Wood accents come in natural color and finish design to never go out of style.
Open design allows an abundance of natural light and breezes to flow easily through the three buildings. Genius landscaping ideas help keep the interior spaces cool naturally, while lush foliage provides for comfortable outdoor rooms just steps away from the sparkling blue waters.
These twin houses are a kind of an in-between space that separates them physically. In a subtle way, the center court serves to perpetuate the spiritual bond between the two households. It makes for cordial relations and passion in the form of a shared space that gets used every day. It is obvious they have found the right balance.
/// Thailand ///
Story : /// Photo : /// Designer: Natasas Jeenphund and Yupayong Chaikachorntat
The owner of appealing twin house are two sisters, Chutima Bunnumkitsawat and Chutimon Siriwithayarat. Now married, They live in separate households that share the same compound. As anyone would expect, the twin residences look amazingly alike. But they are two distinctive entities. So we asked, and they answered.
“Originally They had planned on developing the property, on which we now live, to accommodate an extended family lifestyle. By chance, my husband came across one of the designs by Nat and contacted him right away before the big flood hit. We got down to the business of planning in earnest while the city was inundated in 2011,” Chutima said.
She said that the family has lived on this plot of land for three generations now, meaning those of Mom and Dad, the twin sisters themselves, and now the little ones.
Asked about design inspirations, Chutima said: “We both have kids roughly the same age. So family living spaces have got to be clearly defined. Simply put, we are two separate households now. Nonetheless, the two houses are set in the same compound. Mom and Dad can be with the kids here or there. Bottom line, our children will get to grow up together.”
Chutimon said that despite being two separate entities, the twin houses are subtly tied to each other in so many ways.
Behind the perceived sameness there exist a fair amount of differences. By permission, we take a look around only to find, as is often said, plenty of different details in the find print. First, their lifestyles subtly differ. Chutima’s home features a design with an emphasis on vertical treatments that embrace the value of the family’s intimate living spaces. Patches of greenery in the vertical garden protect the privacy of the living room and nearby patio. Lush foliage makes for comfortable interior living spaces. Now let’s move over to the other side of the center court. Chutimon’s home boasts open and light interior design featuring ample horizontal spaces. Reminiscent of the traditional Thai-style home, the family interior living spaces look out over and connect to the center court. The bedroom comes with an open, spacious balcony that is the family’s favorite hangout spot.
The awesome twin houses complex is the brainchild of designers Natasas Jeenphund and Yupayong Chaikachorntat of Poetic Space Studio. As they put it, “The two homes highlight simple, clean line design. I want them to appear as two distinctive entities. It is like two well-pruned trees thriving side by side. Meantime, it is not about being totally separated. Basically, the plan is based on a design principle that aims to keep the two families very much together.” In a nutshell, the twin houses find the right balance not only in terms of land use but also in architectural style. More importantly, they bear testimony to passion and longing to be together and cherish the relationship made in heaven.
An old-styled waterfront house was recreated for modern living in Chiang Mai. This cozy waterfront house is composed of a coffee shop, piano classroom and a private space for the family.
/// Thailand ///
Story : Wuthikorn Suthiapa /// Photos : Sitthisak Namkham /// Architecture : EKAR and Full Scale
“I want to emulate the Thai style waterfront home of the past, kind of set on land that slightly descends to the riverbank. Like so, the new home is designed with respect for nature. Meantime, it embraces all features that are up to date, from materials to style to character.” So said the designers when asked to elaborate on the concept behind this home project. The handsome abode featuring smooth exteriors and eye-catching roof design is affectionately called “Baan Muan,” literally home of baby Muan.
The homeowners, Nathee and Kanokwan Nateniyom inherited this piece of land from their Grandma. Their baby was born while the construction project was underway. So both the home and the baby were given the same name. Ekapab Duangkaew from EKAR and Arthasith Kongmonkhol from Full Scale were responsible for the design.
As Ekapab put it, “We were so fortunate to have received full freedom to conceptualize this project. Arthasith and I then proceeded to develop a waterfront home design with an emphasis on relationships with the surrounding terrain features. Various functions were laid out based on their proximity to the water’s edge or existing patches of greenery. The next step was about translating the concept to meet the homeowners’ needs and personality.”
In so doing, the designers had to identify features that were typical of the waterfront home of the past. They looked into every design from Post-Modern to Minimalist in a bid to arrive at a common ground. The final design showcased the main hallway as the centerpiece of this new home.
“At the time we didn’t have a specific design in mind. We just said that we preferred open spaces. My husband wanted to put Mom’s coffee shop in front. For us, we needed a piano room for practicing and giving music lessons at home. Basically, that was it,” said Kanokwan. Hence the open interior space was the goal. The plan envisaged the main hallway, the kitchen and seating areas for everyone merging into one big space.
“I like sitting here,” said Nathee referring to the big dining table.“The waterfront is on this side. Meantime, the main entrance opens to the front yard. On the other side, Kanokwan and the baby are playing on the sofa. They make for relaxing interior spaces and I like it here. “If asked to describe this home, I will just make it brief – cozy”
The open plan design meets the needs of this small family of three. Everyone is aware of everything that goes on inside the vibrant interior spaces. It is the kind of plan that merges all parts of the house into one great room. The designers reserve the second floor for privacy. The first floor has a playroom for the kid and the piano room for Kanokwan. The rest is open.
The property comes in two zones, business and residential. The coffee shop sits in front and is covered in natural wood palettes. From the outside looking in, the roof design is eye-catching in every respect. As a matter of fact, its unique look is dictated by interior design needs.
“It has to do with how we want to view the great outdoors from within the home. For this reason, the main hallway steps aside just a little bit so that the waterfront area can be seen in full view from the bedroom. Likewise, one side of the coffee shop offers a sundeck that overlooks the water’s edge. It is never meant to be jazzy. Rather we take into account advantages and disadvantages of every component before arriving at the final design,” Nathee explained.
By now our readers probably feel they have been mistaken all along about design intentions. A house that looks showy at first sight may not be showy after all. Rather it is designed for easy waterfront living based on existing terrain features and homeowner needs. All things considered, it strikes the right balance to showcase a new kind of waterfront home, one with eye-catching minimalist style.