Blog : modern thai house

Local, with a Modern Flavor

Local, with a Modern Flavor

This steel-frame Thai house, a vacation home with a tai thun (open space below), is pared down to modern-style essentials and incorporates elements of a Buddhist temple. Natural ventilation is good enough that it doesn’t need to rely on air conditioning.

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Samutcha Viraporn /// Photography: Soopakorn Srisakul /// Design: PO-D Architects

Regarding “Baan Loy Lom,” as the home is known, a PO-D Company architect said, “This house in the Baan Rai Thaw Si Project presented the challenge of creating a restful getaway for meditation practice on holidays, eliminating all nonessentials. The house’s owner didn’t want to come here and have it be like everywhere else, but rather to have a temple mood, with a monks’ hall, a place to invite dear friends to come sit in a meditation circle and practice dharma.” There were two more challenges. First, the owner was partial to Thai houses, but wanted this one to have a steel frame. One reason for that was that the house had connections to the steel industry, and another was a village conservationist regulation forbidding use of land fill above a certain height.

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Design began with the steel frame and then added features that give the house truly Thai characteristics. A high tai thun open lower space was added, with display columns independent of the house frame. Usable space is separated into blocks connected by open areas. The roof’s partially gabled section connects with a single-sheet roof. Other signature additions include open panels, latticework, openings for light, and folding doors, all elements of traditional Thai houses, but arranged differently here.

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The “monks’ hall” takes central importance, so by design it is visible from every room. For privacy’s sake, though, it can’t be seen from the street. The walkway has a bent axis to give desired angles of view. Brick walls are of Lampang clay, with a lighter shade and more relaxing to the eyes than brick from elsewhere. Apertures inspired by the shape of a temple are cut into walls, but these are of varying sizes and arranged in ways that aren’t always orderly, so that the house doesn’t appear too austere. Similarly, latticework is arranged to give the house a warm look and also to let in breeze and light as appropriate.

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Inside, especially in the living room – which is like a shady, roofed platform – we feel the air circulating around us, never too warm. This shows the success of the design plan, based on Thai-style traditional construction from roof to wide openings for air and light, but enhanced with modern materials such as steel, channeled through the wisdom of an architect with the ability to find solutions matching the wants and needs of the people who live here.

House with a Thai/Modern Mix

House with a Thai/Modern Mix

Utilizing the good qualities of the traditional Thai house in modern home design results in comfortable living and a look that will never go out of style.

/// Thailand ///
Story: Foryeah /// Photography: Soopakorn Srisakul, Beer Singnoi /// Design: Sorawis Na Nakhon, Bab Studio

Sunscreen of durable aluminum with a wood-like design blocks glare from the west
Entryway from the carport, reminiscent of the “tai thun” space below a Thai house
Above the front entrance, a border of potted plants adds green to the roof deck

“Ban Bua House,” named after Bua and Ban, owner Ruja Rojanai’s daughter and son, was designed by Mr. Sorawis Na Nakhon of Bab Studio. His intention was to build the most pleasing aspects of a traditional Thai house into a beautiful new modern format.

“Almost all the houses in this neighborhood open onto a busy street, but this is at the end of the alley, in a quiet, private cul-de-sac,” says the architect. “We planned the house in an “H” form which has more outside walls, allowing for more doors and windows and resulting in better ventilation than in a block-shaped building.”

The “H” format separates the building into two sections. From the carport stepping into the house we pass the parlor/reception area, designed with a grand-looking “double-space” ceiling reaching up one and a half storeys. Due to the narrow, long shape of the property, for privacy service areas and maid’s quarters are in the rear, with a laundry section above reached by a separate stair. The owner’s living area is in the second wing of the H-form, with a lower-floor connecting walkway between the two sections reminiscent of the tai thun below Thai houses of old. Above the walkway is an exercise room.

Open space within the “H” is a mid-house garden, aiding air circulation
Above the entryway, openings to release hot air from below
High-ceilinged parlor/reception room, comfy and spacious

The family residence wing rises three and a half storeys high, with living room, work room, dining room, and kitchen downstairs. Floor two holds a master bedroom for the parents, and another bedroom for an aunt. The third  floor is for the daughter and son’s rooms. Each of them wanted a “mezzanine” level added to the bedrooms, hence a double-space ceiling with work space set above.

Entrance hall, continuing along the length of the house, with doors and windows aligned right and left.
Left coordinated stainless steel kitchen; Right extended double-space bedroom
Bua’s double-space bedroom
Bua’s mezzanine work area

Another thing adding to a sense of comfort and spaciousness filling this home is in its linear plan, which allows easy circulation of light and air throughout. Rooms are connected with a single walkway, and there are many doors and windows. The house faces west, presenting its narrow side to the hot afternoon son. There the architect provided thick, closed walls to block the heat, layering blocks inside to create a passage to let hot air out.

Mezzanine staircase with steel balusters in one youngster’s room
Ban’s bedroom, with a cool-looking net hung above
Ban’s mezzanine stairway