Blog : nature

In Sync with the Rhythms of Nature

In Sync with the Rhythms of Nature

Building a sustainable home involves a great deal of knowledge of the surroundings and their relationships with nature. In the hot and humid climate of Thailand, it’s useful to have a good grasp of the sun, the wind, and seasonal thundershowers in designing a home that’s livable and aesthetically pleasing. This house is built around that concept – one that promotes well-being and the comfort of the indoor environment.

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Patsiri Chot /// Photography: Soopakorn Srisakul 

The architect uses a folding process common in metalworking to translate multiple planes into three-dimensional interior living spaces. Vertical surfaces are later installed and wall openings added to enable the home to effectively connect to its natural surroundings.

That being said, architect Nantapon Junngurn took the most sensible course of action. He positioned the home plan in relation to seasonal variations. In a few words, all aspects of the sun, the wind, and weather patterns were taken into account. He then put the idea to the test to determine what architectural form and space would best fit in with the environment. In so doing, a folding  process common in metalworking was used to translate two- dimensional data into 3D modeling. The result was a comfortable home that was oriented around a central courtyard. To bring the outdoors in, large openings in the exterior walls were included in the plan in a bid to retain the connection to the home’s natural surroundings.

The architect said: “All things considered, a U-shaped home plan is preferred over other styles. The front entrance sits facing north, which is good since it is considered to be less sun-intrusive.  The rear of the house faces due south and is kept closed because it is located next to neighboring houses. The west side is reserved for service areas with a music room and kitchenette, which confirms that home cooking is not a big part of the family lifestyle. Here, double brick construction goes to work reducing thermal transmission and protecting the home’s interior from hot sun. Plus, the back area is in shade for much of the day, thanks to the canopy of a mature tree courtesy of next door neighbors.”

The further end of a sitting area is built of concrete that runs the entire length of the wall. An increase in floor space is achieved by simply doing away with support poles. Bottom line. Nothing comes between the lush garden view and the interior living spaces.

The U-shaped floor plan had a small body of low ground that transformed into an inner courtyard filled with greenery. There is an Indian oak, or freshwater mangrove tree (Barringtonia acutangula) that is now in top form providing a continuous layer of beautiful foliage. Nearby a Spanish cherry, or bullet wood tree (Mimusops elengi Linn) grows into a full crown. It came as a house-warming present from dad. At the center, a small pond adds a touch of nature to the courtyard garden. It’s the natural focal point that connects to practically every part of the house.

Sharing his little slice of paradise, homeowner Kongyot Kunjak said: “I like to spend time in the courtyard. In the morning, I would sit down for coffee at the dining table looking out the window for the view of the garden. The inner courtyard with a water pond surrounded by trees and shrubbery provides a place to rest. It’s refreshing to reconnect with nature and be able to bring the outdoors in. But in the evening, I prefer taking in a different view from inside the living room. Whether for work or for social gatherings, it’s wonderful to be there and experience nature every day, albeit from an indoor perspective.”

It seems the house plan best suited for the hot and humid climate is one that’s light and well ventilated. Thermal comfort can be achieved by shielding the area exposed to danger of too much sun. In the meantime, open up the part that connects to the natural surroundings. In essence, it’s about interacting with nature. When the home breathes easily, its occupants feel relaxed and comfortable to live in it, without a doubt.

The entrance hall contains a living room, dining room and a library on the mezzanine. It is bordered by glass walls on two fronts–one side opens to the front yard, the other connects to the inner courtyard which serves as engine that drives air circulation.
Large opening glass walls on two sides are there for a reason-bring the outdoors in. The courtyard that’s pleasing to the eye makes it feel like being surrounded by nature.
The living room and dining room appear light, bright and airy, thanks to the floor-to-ceiling glass walls overlooking the central courtyard. A lush, green garden under the open sky can be seen in full view from inside the home.
Located at the center of U-shaped design, the dining room takes in the view of the courtyard garden and a seating area in the foreground.
Full glass walls lighten up the entrance hall and promotes natural air circulation in the building. They provide visual continuity that makes the idyllic inner courtyard very much a part of the interior space.

“I like to spend time in the courtyard. In the morning, I would sit down for coffee at the dining table looking out the window for the view of the garden. The inner courtyard with a water pond surrounded by trees and shrubbery provides a place to rest. It’s refreshing to reconnect with nature and be able to bring the outdoors in.”

A run of stairs leading to the upper floor is cantilevered out from the wall. With one end anchored securely in the stone wall, the steel treads appear to hover in midair. Each plate is 20 millimeters thick. Large opening glass walls guarantee the garden view landscape is visible from here.
An Indian oak, or freshwater mangrove tree (Barringtonia acutangula) develops well to keep the inner courtyard in shade for much of the day. Its lush green crown adds rejuvenating effects to the garden landscape.
Nature Is Mighty / Bali’s Mount Agung

Nature Is Mighty / Bali’s Mount Agung

Bali’s Mount Agung has begun erupting the past few days, spitting plumes of volcanic debris and ash out of the crater filled with red hot lava. Excitement mixed with fear as the current eruptions raised concern for safety of the people on the Indonesian island known for beautiful beaches, coral reefs and forested mountains.

/// INDONESIA ///

 

Here are some breathtaking pictures of the latest eruptions posted on Instagram by the people who witnessed them. Click here to see more.

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Daya tarik dibalik #erupsi Gunung Agung. Asap Letusan Gunung Agung menjadi Wisata yang menarik bagi wisatawan lokal maupun mancanegara. yuk share agar wisatawan tidak khawatir untuk liburan ke bali! ____________________ The appeal behind Agung Mount #eruption. The Smoke of Mount Agung eruption becomes an interesting Tour for local and foreign tourists. yuk share so that tourists are not worried for a holiday to Bali! ____________________ #阿贡山爆发背后的吸引力。阿贡火山喷发成为一个有趣的游览本地和外国游客。哟分享,让游客不用担心去巴厘岛度假! ____________________ For Credit Please DM Me! Share/ Bro Pande Bali #balichannel #gunungagung #karangasem #bali #liburan #wisata #mountagung

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When you are left alone in the empty resort, because tourists are scared of the volcano, and you are chilling with the jungle and refilling your energy with the magnificent view on this power of the nature🙏🏼🌋. . I am just really stoked with the fact, that this is once in a lifetime opportunity to see the power of the nature from its hardest side, and that as I was wishing- the eruption started to happen as soon as I came back from Rote to Bali💔. . Speaking about hardest sides – everybody has a concept of volcano being a disaster. Yes, it is, for people leaving around. But I feel it differently: earth is enormous and calm for a long time, but sometimes it also needs to breath and release stress. The magmatic lava gives nourishment to the earth, so the life will continue again. Of course, from the time measurement of the human life – it looks like disaster. But comparing to the age of the planet- the nature will renew itself pretty fast. I will just pray for the people, who are evacuated of the danger zone to find their occupation also out of it. We came to this planet, and it doesn't belong to us. So we need to get used to the conditions it gives us. ❤️🌿 . #kbmood @kbmood @balibody @balilife @bali @balidaily @explorebali . #Bali #balilife #volcano #travel #eruption #agung #mountagung #mountain #indonesia #news #latestnews @beautifuldestinations #ukraine #odessa #pool #girl #nature #jungle #сказочноебали #бали #summer #foreveronvacation #lifestyle #love #meditation #power #energy #beauty @terasbalihotel

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While I appreciate the concern for my safety as messages have been pouring in about Mt Agung’s current eruptions the last few days, FEAR is the common underlying theme. • Those who know me, know that even the slightest whiff of fear must be faced head on and transformed into excitement. • So at 2am, my fearless friend Valeria and I found a bold and curious taxi driver to drive us 2.5hrs in the direction of Mt. Agun, cameras in hand. As we pulled up around 4:30am, we saw the glow from the magma lighting up the slow billowing ash entering the atmosphere. Underneath it, our entire horizon was made up of the ghostly shape of this restless, commanding, all powerful giant. • We sat, stunned in the deepest sense of awe, underneath the clearest Milky Way and longest shooting stars I’ve ever witnessed. Instantly, I was small. Weak. Absolutely nothing against the formidable nature of nature. Nothing, but a spectator and participant in this collision of living energy. • Fear would have kept me tucked warmly in my sheets with the illusion that I was safe to begin with. But stepping through it, with complete reverence and heightened to the situation and ready to act, I am forever changed and more alive. #nvrtmrw #kyledoesasia #beunsettled

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Living with Nature / Baanlaesuan Fair 2016 Show House

Living with Nature / Baanlaesuan Fair 2016 Show House

Show houses have always been the most interesting highlights at BaanLaeSuan Fair. This year, the main attraction features sustainable design focusing on symbiotic relationships between life and nature. It is inspired by one of the philosophies of HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

/// Thailand ///

Photos: Soopakorn Srisakul

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From afar, it looks like a hillside covered in verdant vegetation. But a closer look reveals a uniquely designed home carved into an awesome landscape mimicking rice terraces. The well-defined integration appears to be the living embodiment of His Majesty’s “Three Forests, Four Benefits” concept.

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Herbal plants double its use as hanging decorations.
Herbal plants double its use as hanging decorations.

 

Plants grown on the terrace steps and other useful gimmicks encourage people to exercise more to sustain and improve health and physical fitness. Gardening at different elevations requires walking up and down these steps, which burn calories in the process. Getting around on bicycles instead of cars is another useful shtick.

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In the living area, floor cushions work as well as a nice sofa.
In the living area, floor cushions work as well as a nice sofa.

 

Every step of the way, the terraces serve different purposes. At a higher altitude, they provide a lush oasis that showcases the home’s front façade. At lower elevations, they provide steps for easy access that don’t intrude on the landscape. The lower terraces also offer spaces for a chessboard-equipped patio, where people can sit back, relax, or enjoy their favorite game.

A hint of greenery blends into the bedroom.
A hint of greenery blends into the bedroom.

 

The house interior is reminiscent of rock-cut architecture carved into the hillside slope. Yet it is well lit and airy. The living room is decorated with wood furniture in natural hues. The area features an LCD screen showing the King perform his noble missions. Patches of greenery abound if you look for spots to give your eyes a good break.

The house is surrounded by trees and plants to blur the boundary between the outside and the inside.
The house is surrounded by trees and plants to blur the boundary between the outside and the inside.

 

The en-suite bedroom comes furnished with white net curtains in the background. The area boasts clean, simple design. The only decorations are framed photographs of recommended useful plants, such as the Indian rubber tree, the fiddle leaf fig tree, and other species known for their ability to absorb toxic chemicals and help purify air in the room.

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At the far end of the interior stand a small kitchen, a dining room, and a kitchen garden. This section is created to show the benefits of having homegrown vegetables and fruits. Not only are they non-toxic. But they also generate incomes for agriculturists and reduce pollutions in the process.

A small pathway leading to the kitchen is also a playground for children.
A small pathway leading to the kitchen is also a playground for children.

The show house is open to the public at BAANLAESUAN Fair until November 6, 2016. Drop in on us, and you will find an inspiration or two for your next home improvements project. Be there.

Electrical wires are well-kept in the ceiling, hidden from eyesight.
Electrical wires are well-kept in the ceiling, hidden from eyesight.

 

A chess board is installed here at the foot of the hill.
A chess board is installed here at the foot of the hill.

 

A microscope is on display inside for children so they can learn more about the nature and have fun at the same time.
A microscope is on display inside for children so they can learn more about the nature and have fun at the same time.
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