“There is something about this place that always brings back old memories,” said the owner of this lovely treehouse by the lake. “Several decades passed, but I still remember it as if it was yesterday. My family camped out here on a hot summer day. Our children gathered under the canopy of an old tree and set up a small tent together.”
“We called it a ‘house’ because it protected us from the sun, and we had a lot of fun. Some children cut down a few trees to make tent poles while others gathered leaves to make the upper covering and decorations.
“It was beautiful and eye-catching. Completely finished, we went looking for things needed to ‘settle down’ in the leaf hut shelter. …”
Obviously, his experience and memories provided the inspiration that culminated in the country home of his dreams. Built into nature, this treehouse by the lake was based on biophilic design conceived and developed by H.2, a homegrown architectural practice based in Ho Chi Minh City.
The house merges into the surrounding forest landscape on the bank of Da Bang Lake, a calm and peaceful body of water in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province in Vietnam’s Southeast.
It all began with the homeowner’s desire to let his granddaughter connect with nature just like he and his kids did when they were young — an experience that, in his words, provided lasting psychological benefits. He could still recall having fun growing up in the countryside where life was simple.
Sharing a piece of his paradise, he said, “The leaf hut shelter that we built back in the day was a place to play games, do kid-friendly things and listen to music.”
“Memories were made here and the story is crystal clear like it all happened yesterday. The simple games we played nourished our souls and, especially for me, nurtured my love for life in the poor countryside. Those were the days.”
The 120-square-meter home sits in the shade under the canopy of tall trees near the lakeshore. It’s made attractive by ordinary materials sourced from within the neighborhood, a quality that gives it the unblemished charm of rustic rural life.
The stilt house supported by concrete structural framing offers plenty of under-floor spaces that allow natural daylight and gentle winds blowing in from the nearby lake.
It’s called a treehouse for good reason. Instead of cutting down the existing trees, the new house is built around them, literally letting them grow through the roof.
At the center, a spiral staircase winds around a tree trunk connecting the first floor to the second that serves as family living quarters.
What makes it unique is the use of reclaimed steel with surface rust in a variety of colors and textures, an appearance that gives the house its vintage industrial appeal. Some of the pieces came from an old factory that had been torn down, while others were purchased from a local scrap yard.
In a way, it’s contributing towards a healthier planet by reducing waste, recycling and reusing discarded materials to suit a new purpose.
Simple yet attractive, it’s an eco-conscious home made possible by the honest use of natural materials. Here, the emphasis is on creating a light-filled, airy and comfortable interior, one that seeks reconnections with nature and, at the same time, brings the warmth of family joy.
The homeowner said that he could still recall the day his granddaughter arrived at the new home. She was obviously happy and excited.
The forest treehouse by the lake afforded a conducive learning environment with plenty of room to play, run, jump, and climb trees.
With respect to construction, it’s a very interesting project. The nature-loving house by the lake makes practical and effective use of discarded materials in a way that creates a home of higher quality and value.
Take for example the use of scrap metal and leftover materials including corrugated roof paneling that people tend to overlook. And by giving recyclable items a new purpose, it translates into big savings and, at the same time, reduces impacts on the environment.
Long story short, the outer appearance is immediately appealing. The interior living spaces are comfortable, peaceful and secluded to say the least.
Flexible floor plan design lets nature permeate making the home bright and airy. At the same time, it’s ingeniously devised to integrate the existing trees in the overall scheme of things.
That’s just one of several fascinating adaptations that make it original and unique – a forest home where all things eventually merge into one pleasing and consistent whole.
/ Story: Nantagan / English version: Bob Pitakwong /
/ Photographs: Rungkit Charoenwat /
All he ever wanted was a place out in the country. Dechophon “Teng” Rattanasatchatham, the architect at Yangnar Studio, built his humble abode amid the rice fields in bucolic Chiang Mai’s Sankamphaeng District. Carefully thought out from work experience, it has come to redefine the meaning of rural home life from the perspectives of both the architect who designed it, and his family living in it. Like so, a calm and beautiful piece of vernacular architecture was created, one that came complete with all the requirements for good living. Plus, it’s aptly named “Tita House,” which is Thai for a bright and friendly rural appeal.
Sharing his piece of paradise, Teng said: “To start with, because I was going to live here, I wanted to draw on all my experience in vernacular architecture, design, ideas, and results of the experiments I had done in the past and put them to good use.
“I envisaged building a home that would be best suited to me and my family, one that kept within the budget and was built out of reclaimed timber that I had at the time.”
Viewed in its essential qualities, the house plan was adapted from vernacular architecture, which has been the signature of the atelier Yangnar Studio from the start.
It was built the old-fashioned way of Northen Thailand vernacular architecture by carpenters from within the locality. Clever building hacks utilizing a mix of modern tools and time-honored traditional techniques resulted in the superb vernacular carpentry of a true-to-nature wooden home.
From the look of things, the inconspicuous earth-oriented ebony building appeared unpretentious and capable of merging with the surrounding landscape.
Tita House represents a marriage of the modern and the traditional. It’s rich in architectural features indigenous to the Northern Region.
They include, among other things, stilt house design that integrates lower and higher elevation floors to form a coherent whole. Essentially it’s about making appropriate adaptations of tranditional vernacular architecture that are convenient for and acceptable to family lifestyle needs.
As the architect put it, “The idea of integrating a lower elevation floor (the smaller building) in the design was adopted because there was a need for easily accessible under-floor space.
“Plus, it provided storage room for agricultural tools, food raw materials and articles for household use. Nearby, a higher elevation floor (the main building) offered plenty of ample under-floor space for woodworking, a casual relaxed sitting room and areas for the children to run and play.”
Under-floor space offers many benefits. Aside from creating multifunctional room, it doubles as a passive cooling system that drives natural air circulation.
This helps prevent high humidity levels in the home and keeps the interior cool in summer. It’s a more effective way to cool a home than building a wooden floor on the ground, which is prone to moisture damage, Teng explained.
Right Building Orientation Improves Comfort
Tita House comprises two buildings that blend like cuts from the same cloth and are connected by a wooden deck that’s roofed over to protect from the elements. The smaller of the two buildings is used for open-flame cooking and eating, while the bigger building houses main living quarters.
As is often the case with vernacular architecture, it’s built on a split-level home plan. Cooking and eating spaces lie at the lower end, while the front deck and main living quarters are positioned slightly higher.
The area for eating and entertaining house guests lies to the north of the main building. It’s pleasantly cool and bright under the shade of trees that are the vital part of a wild yard landscape.
Winds blowing into it from underneath the nearby smaller building keep the area nice and comfortable all day. The main building that houses family living quarters affords a fine mountain view easily seen from the front deck connecting to two bedrooms at the far end.
“The reception area is positioned to the north of the main building for it gets beautiful morning sunshine.” Teng explained.
“As time passes and the sun moves across the sky, the nearby smaller building provides protection from afternoon heat. This way it’s nice and cool in the shade for much of the day.”
There’s a living room that forms part of the suite in the private house. It’s designed to conveniently connect to a workspace lying between two bedrooms.
The workspace itself is on the east side of the house plan with bay windows projecting outward from the wall of the building. Elsewhere, transom windows are fitted with weather-resistant insect screens instead of glass, thereby allowing fresh outdoor air to enter and circulate inside.
Meanwhile, long eaves that overhang the walls of the building protect the interior from the elements. The under-floor space beneath it is kept cool by design, thanks to the house floor that extends outward to form the upper covering that keeps it in shade for much of the day.
A Product of Intermixing and Experimenting with Ideas
Tita House is the brainchild of the homeowner and architect who created it. To him, it’s a living experiment of current time vernacular architecture. It contains architectural features, building techniques and qualities that he has never tested before elsewhere.
“I had the opportunity of visiting a village in the North of Vietnam and Kengtung (a township in Myanmar’s Shan State) and came away impressed by the method of building houses there,” said Teng.
“It was very interesting. They started out by making flat component pieces in the shop or on-site. Then people in the village joined together to assemble them step-by-step to form a unified whole. In no time, a complete home was erected simply by connecting prefab paneling together.
“It gave me the inspiration to adapt and try it myself.”
Apart from trying out new methods for structural frames making, Teng also put other creative ideas to the test.
This new house of his was the outcome of those experiments. In a nutshell, it was about making appropriate adaptations that best fit the circumstances.
In the case of Tita House, the integration of a low elevation floor in stilt house design was something not seen very often in the North of Thailand’s vernacular architecture. In most cases, different elevation floors, if any, were kept apart in two separate buildings.
Besides architecture, there are several internal fitments that are worthy of note. They include wash basin design ideas for preparing vegetables, washing dishes, and watering plants in the yard.
Here, pieces of kitchen equipment are beautifully organized. They are connected to the backyard garden below by a line of bamboo poles that carries water supply to a glove of banana trees.
For a neat appearance, the wash basin is crafted of teakwood paneling put in place parallel to the edge of a balcony.
Teng said: “From experience, I have done an experiment on teakwood wash basins for customers only to discover that most of the time they were too small for their needs.
“So I came up with a bigger size, put it to the test right here at home. Apparently it worked out very well. The large teakwood basin dried fast and required little to no maintenance.”
An Unpretentious Home Made Attractive by True-to-Nature Materials
The two buildings were made almost entirely of reclaimed timber. Cut into desired lengths and sizes, the pieces were put together using mortise and tenon joinery to create individual component parts.
The next step was to assemble the pieces of the jigsaw to form a unified whole on-site. The materials of choice were wood and brick. To bring out the color and texture that’s true to nature, brickwork was not plastered in a cement mixture to create smooth hard surfaces, which translated into big savings.
According to Teng, “Most of the wood reused here came from old homes that were torn down at various places. For durability, they were given a coat of protective wood stains on site. For the most part they were weathered almost black and differed greatly in terms of the appearance or texture, a quality that gave the home its vintage vernacular appeal.”
All things considered, it’s an unpretentious abode that speaks volumes for what the architect and homeowner is about. Every little thing has a story to tell, whether it is about the ways of the community, the materials, or the architectural features integrated in the design.
It’s a home that conveys a great deal about a desire to reconnect with nature through sustainable living. And Tita House is doing exactly that.
Here’s a home with a Modern space designed for a big family in Singapore. Its generous interior provides great sensory pleasure with fresh air and plenty of room where plants grow luxuriantly. Unique and neatly planned, it redefines the meaning of Tropical design, which in this instance is manifested in an intriguing combination that makes the home feel more comfortable.
Because Singapore is an island, every square inch counts and it doesn’t come cheap.
To build a good home, one must ponder the question of what functions and useable spaces it offers, plus all the modern conveniences.
At the same time, it’s nice to bring nature inside to create powerful psychological effects. And from this point of view, this beautiful oasis with in the city is truly a gem.
The multigenerational household comprises three families. Naturally, it makes sense to accommodate the needs of every age group without sacrificing the common area that’s available to everyone.
Done right, it allows interactions to take place in the family. To facilitate the socialization processes, greenery space is added to the mix to let house occupants reconnect with nature wherever they may be.
The well-planned common area gives the gift of healing and the human touch that everyone craves coming home at the end of the day.
Taking everything into account, the contemporary cube-shaped house is in a league of its own. It celebrates the simplicity of open living spaces conceived and developed by the Singapore-based architectural practice ASOLIDPLAN.
Among other things, what makes it unique is the use of rectangular openings in various dimensions to make the building façade aesthetically pleasing. Done right, the openings in the walls and rooftop admit light and air and allow people to see out.
In this particular case, the building sits facing west, so every precaution is taken to protect the interior from the sun’s harsh glare keeping it nice and cool all day.
The answer lies in a complete rethink of the building shell design, hence the name “Envelope House.”
Step inside, and you come to a gorgeous center courtyard with triple-height ceilings and skylights on the rooftop. It’s a clever hack to reconnect with nature by bringing the outdoors into every nook and cranny of the interior.
Houseplants perfect for miniature landscaping thrive everywhere, even under the staircase. Nearby, young trees with healthy lush foliage stand front and center next to a garden water feature with stepping stones that decorates and refreshes the room.
Looking for a quiet place to lean back and chill? There’s a nice sitting room with a garden view by the window.
The second floor contains living quarters for elderly parents, while the third affords plenty of private residential spaces for grownup children and their families.
Here, fresh greenery is never out of style. It’s an awesomely cool Modern space, where the beauty of plants is present everywhere, whether it’s on the staircase or along the corridors.
The entire interior is so well-lit by skylights that there’s no need for electric lights anywhere in the daytime. And the house plants benefit from it, too, no doubt.
Speaking of design, there’s a special feature that makes the house with a Modern space feel more comfortable. Its thermal envelope is made of energy-saver double-layer walls that form the first line of defense against heat and the elements.
Where possible, landscaping plants thrive in between the two layers to protect the interior from the sun’s harsh UV rays. That’s not all. There’s also a rooftop deck with green grass lawns for outdoor relaxation in the cool of the evening.
In the fewest possible words, it’s a perfect example of homes well suited to a Tropical climate — a complete rethink of strategies that doesn’t rely on adding or extending a roof overhang to protect from inclement weather.
Plus, double-layer wall construction makes this piece of architecture original and unique in itself simply by bringing the outdoors inside.
By integrating a green oasis into the design of the house’s Modern space, it succeeds in dealing with limitations that come with overcrowded urban spaces.
/ Story: Lily J. / English version: Bob Pitakwong /
/ Photographs: Trieu Chien /
Speaking of unconventional houses, here’s a truly awesome steel home located in Phan Thiet, the capital of Binh Thuan Province in the Southeast of Vietnam. It’s a small house that makes a big difference in terms of value, form, color and texture. A well-thought-out home plan, it’s where the heart is for a family of four who live here. Built in a way that steel frames and other elements fit in well with modern furniture, it looks the epitome of good design that speaks volumes for the family’s present lifestyle and their preparations for the future.
Meeting Basic Needs Despite Limitations
For the young family, a small shed roof house on 150 square meters of land makes perfect sense.
It fits nicely within their budget. To get things done, they left it in the good hands of the architects at MIA Design Studio to develop a good plan with all the required components and qualities.
The plan included all beautifully organized functional spaces suitable for the needs of everyone in the family. The initial design phase was completed during an outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the limitations in the ensuing days, the architects and the contractors relied on long-distance communication to finish the project on schedule.
Nurtured by Nature
The most important part of the design is natural daylight and ventilation. They are two key factors that contribute to a simple but cozy and comfortable atmosphere.
It’s for this reason that plain openings in the wall and the most common ventilation method are used to admit just enough amounts of light and fresh outdoor air to enter and circulate inside.
Where appropriate, curtains are suspended from the top to complement interior décor, separate living spaces, as well as control light, privacy and indoor temperatures.
Overall, it’s a balanced interior design that’s clean and fit for occupant behavior and lifestyle at present.
Steel Structure Home Takes Less Time to Build
From a distance, the house seems small, supported by steel framing and enveloped in corrugated steel siding that’s relatively inexpensive and ubiquitous in rural areas.
On the whole, it’s built strong thanks to the main load-bearing structural elements that combine with load-bearing walls to convey the weight of the entire house to a solid foundation.
Components that are usually considered separately, such as sliding door frames, furniture, curtain track hanging systems, even wardrobe hanger rails are integrated so that they become a whole — a smart way to cut costs.
To save even more on construction, the house is made of easy-to-find materials sourced from the neighborhood, usually within a one-kilometer radius. This ensures that no money or energy is wasted on long-distance transportation.
That’s one useful hack to promote eco-friendly green building. Plus, modular design makes it easy to add extra units of construction to meet family needs in the future. All these things can be added without a significant impact on the existing modules.
By design, the even distribution of weight enables the building to remain strong and wear-resistant. This is achieved by taking into account every heavy and bulky thing, such as furniture, during the design process.
As the architects intended, it’s a home where the young couple and their little children reconnect with nature and experience greater joy in their lives. It’s a modest house plan conducive to a relaxed atmosphere and promoting socialization processes in the family.
In essence, it’s about creating a flexible, forward-looking modular design that’s the signature of the architects at MIA Design Studio.
/ Story: Wuthikorn Sut / English version: Bob Pitakwong /
/ Photographs: Nattakit Jeerapatmitee /
An old townhouse in the heart of Bangkok’s downtown has been lovingly restored in ways that adapt to changing lifestyle needs. No longer is it a stuffy, overcrowded space lacking fresh air and ventilation. A redesigned open floor plan has given it the feeling of home, a sense of belonging and purpose. Incredibly light and airy, it feels like anything but a townhouse, so to speak.
Inheriting the townhouse from his parents, the new owner has made a firm decision to renovate it to a good state of repair.
It’s the place where he lives when traveling to the city for business. Or it can be available to be rented if need be.
The task of refurbishment was given to a team of architects from the design firm OAAS. Central to their work was the creation of an open concept home plan that’s flexible for multiple uses.
Accordingly, the old second-floor balcony was knocked down and replaced by steel framing for a light and spacious façade.
Upstairs, the entire floor plan was revised, while the ground floor platform was raised slightly to keep it above the edge of the water during a flood.
Never too small to make a difference, the newly refurbished townhouse stands out from the rest in that its building shell is made of air bricks that are great for natural ventilation.
The perforated bricks double as a decorative privacy screen that protects the home from prying eyes. It’s a surefire way to improve air circulation and get rid of stuffy smells, a common problem of townhouse living.
The wooden door opens into a surprisingly peaceful semi-outdoor room aptly named “Sala”, which is Thai for garden pavilion. Albeit situated at the front of the house, it’s a private living space that conveniently connects to the sitting room and dining area lying further inside.
Beautifully designed, it calls to mind an image of a garden sitting area with a side passage for walking along.
The overall effect is impressive. The side passage sets this townhouse apart from the others.
Since it’s often impossible to build a walkway around a townhouse, it makes perfect sense to build one on the inside that connects the garden pavilion at the front with the living room and other functions at the rear.
There is a challenge to overcome. Because the side passage takes away a large chunk of the square footage of the house, the designers have to make a choice from a range of possibilities.
Among them, an open concept floor plan is useful in making the home feel more spacious. There’s no need for room dividers for a home theater or TV lounge since it’s never a desirable lifestyle here.
Plus, by floating furniture, the owner is free to create a more intimate atmosphere and a layout that’s capable of multiple uses.
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/ Story: Kor Lordkam / English version: Bob Pitakwong /
/ Photographs: Soopakorn Srisakul /
Every home tells a story. This good-sized two-story residence at “Mai Lom Ruen”, an upscale housing development near King Rama IX Memorial Park in Bangkok, is home to a couple and their six adorable pets (a dog and five cats). They moved to this outlying district of the city not that long ago. The 20-year-old house they bought needed improvements so as to answer their lifestyle needs. And a home renovation firm came in handy to do exactly that. The result is a light and airy tropical home with the warm sunshine, plus an image of the friendliness and youthful enthusiasm of the people living here.
The project architect, Tharit Tossanaitada, who is design director of the Design In Motion Co., Ltd, said that in the primary stage, he would have to redraw a new house plan within the confines of the existing home.
It was good that the homeowners already had an idea about what to do and had a blueprint for all the rooms. And with that, the project was off to a very good start.
The 400-square-meter two-story home was ready for remodeling, starting with a teardown of most solid walls that divided the interior into different parts.
The building’s original frames and beams supporting the roof and floor above them remained intact. Thereafter new room dividers were put in place according to the activity and purpose intended for each space.
Meantime, the carport that originally stood front and center was moved to the right side of the house. Like so, side-by-side parking has now changed to parking in a column on the driveway.
The result was a house front design that’s wide open without vehicles cluttering up the passageway, creating the perfect front yard that’s easy on the eye.
The house’s first floor that lies in open view consists of a nice little foyer at the front that connects to a home office, kitchen and delightful secluded sitting room at the farthest end. By design, the parlor room is conveniently linked up with the new car park at the right side of the house.
Precisely it’s the architect’s intention to keep this back door entrance strictly for family use and hence no need to enter and leave through the front door every time.
On top of that, the architect had the entrance hall ceiling torn down to make room for a new metal staircase leading to the second floor. The remodeled foyer performs its dual role.
On the one hand, it gives the family direct access to the second floor. On the other hand, it adds consummate elegance to the warm and welcoming antechamber.
Step outside, and you come into a central courtyard enclosed by the house walls. This, too, has undergone a complete makeover.
The grass lawn that had been there originally was removed to make room for a carp pond decorated with aquatic plants, leafy bushes and shrubs, making the outdoor room more enjoyable.
As to be expected, the second floor is a little more private. Several rooms that had been there from the beginning were torn down to provide sufficient space for an ample common area.
The master bedroom remained intact, while a second bedroom originally next to it has since been replaced by a semi-outdoor sitting room enclosed by a balustrade on the outside of the building.
From the looks of it, this represents the most obvious attempt by the architect to bring the outdoors into what was once an uncomfortable drafty old house.
That being the case, the external envelope of the building was torn down to create a perfect outdoor room with bench seating that matches the house façade.
Consisting of strips of steel securely fastened together to form a privacy screen, the redesigned façade extends all the way to the translucent upper covering of the building that allows natural daylight into the home.
On the inside, the second floor also contains a family room and a third bedroom that has since been allocated to their beloved house pets.
As Tharit put it, the most important part of the renovation project was the redesigned layout of the ground floor that made the traffic flow between major living areas easy and gave it ample space perfect for the family’s lifestyle needs.
He said: “What I was trying to achieve was a house plan with a good flow of traffic and carefully thought-out circulation patterns to create a well-lit and well-ventilated interior.
“So the first thing I did was dismantle all the rooms and rebuild them by setting the walls further back slightly to create more room for improved air circulation.
“Albeit viewed as separate units, all the rooms were connected to one another by natural air circulation.”
The architect reiterated that by setting the walls further back one meter, the interior rooms became smaller in size while the semi-outdoor veranda along the outside of the house overlooking the central courtyard gained more space.
This resulted in the good flow of traffic between major living areas.
Plus, there was natural circulation that came from using environmental-friendly systems such as walls fitted with large aluminum windows and roller blinds that open and shut to control the amounts of daylight and fresh, outdoor air coming into this airy tropical home.
These are among the features that help keep the interior cool without air conditioning.
Finally, materials matter. The products that the architect chose were all important to achieve a desirable outcome.
In this case, it was real timber used in the building that made this house stand out from the rest. Plus, the homeowners had a love for everything wood and took the time and effort to purchase the materials themselves.
They included the golden species of teakwood that’s ideal for building the veranda around the central courtyard, door and window casings, ceiling panels, and parts of walls.
The renovation process also saw the original ceramic roof tiles being replaced by cedar shingles that gave the house its inviting appeal.
In summary, the relocation of functions represents a rethink of strategy and practical use in building design. The result is a renovation done right — a bright and airy tropical home that exudes peace and tranquility thanks to natural materials and environment-friendly systems.
As the architect puts it, “even one meter matters” when it comes to quality home improvements. It’s a metamorphosis of purpose that transforms the unpleasantly cold 20-year-old house into an airy tropical home with a sunny personality that gives a feeling of comfort, warmth, and relaxation.
/ Story: Phattaraphon / English Version: Bob Pitakwong /
/ Photographs: Arti Pictures /
A house plan that combines living spaces and a home office could be just what you’re looking for. Here’s the home of a designer couple in Tangerang, a city half-an-hour’s drive from central Jakarta, that illustrates this. Known as MP House, it marries work-from-home essentials with well-planned living spaces that come loaded with personality.
The secret to a productive daily routine, the house plan combines residential and home office functions into a uniform whole. The workspace occupies the first floor that also includes a split-level lower floor, while the quiet and peaceful residential area is placed on the level above it.
The ample living area in itself is divided into two parts. Semi‐private spaces such as the living room and dining room take up the front part of the house, whereas more secluded places and bedrooms are located at the rear designed for rest and relaxation.
The first floor has a dry courtyard garden that separates the home office area from guest and kids’ rooms tucked away at the rear of the house plan. Healthy green foliage in the yard doubles as engine that drives natural ventilation and provides a light and heat barrier. And the result of MP House is a calm and peaceful indoor environment that’s the key to a happy family life in Tangerang.
In a sensitive and practical way, an indoor ramp with handrail is put in as an alternative to a set of stairs to provide access between different levels. The inclined plane is particularly useful for the homeowner’s aging parents. Plus, it’s the split-level house plan that makes the most effective use of available space.
There is a real sense of achievement in the way the living room and dining room combine into one large lounge with comforting earth tones and double-height ceilings. It’s a place to eat home-cooked meals and enjoy family conversations that help keep everyone together. Semi-private by design, the ample social interaction space is well-lit and well-ventilated.
The house boasts a modern envelope and perforated brick façade overlooking a dry garden located just above the carport. The decorative breeze blocks are chosen for their ability to provide sun protection and maintain openness and airflow.
In the meantime, flat masonry textures that are repetitive and earthy in color provide a variety of light refraction that adds aesthetic pleasure to the interior living space.
Taking everything into account, the house under a gable roof provides plenty of ample spaces to serve functional and aesthetic purposes. MP House in Tangerang strikes the right balance between office work and home life, creating a perfect combination that feels cozy, comfortable and roomy.
/ Story: Kor Lordkam / English version: Bob Pitakwong /
/ Photographs: Hoang Le, Duc Ngo /
A big roof two-story house in Quang Yen is designed for a large family. Located in Quan Yen, a town in Quang Ninh Province in Vietnam’s Northeast, it’s a collaboration between two design studios, ra.atelier (Gia Thang Pham) and ngo + pasierbinski (Piotr Pasierbinski and Duc Ngo). They were tasked with preserving the existing landscape with a water pond and Tropical garden on it and, at the same time, catering to the lifestyle needs of the homeowners in post-retirement age. The result is a 121-square-meter home that observes the beautiful culture and Tropical climate of Vietnam.
Precisely that translated into maintaining the outdoor space in the state that was in existence at the time as much as they possibly could. This included the outdoor room for planting trees and a flower garden plus spaces for vegetable gardening and a flexible piece of ground for entertaining several houseguests and relatives.
The house is situated on 735 square meters of land (roughly 0.2 acres), shaped like an elongated rectangle with a narrow frontage to the street.
The face of the building stands facing south, overlooking a small semicircle body of water. Nearby a miniature mountain garden décor separates the front yard filled with flowers and bonsai from the backyard that’s reserved for vegetable gardening.
According to the architect, the new house was built exactly where the old house once stood. It’s set slightly toward the back so as to create more room for a veranda projecting in front of the building.
The layout of the house is primarily related to its intended functions. In the big picture, the building has the approximate shape of a cube, the front part of which is reserved for general purposes such as giving lessons to kids in the neighborhood, a common activity for people in post-retirement age.
The back part of the house is quiet and a little more private, with room for a kitchen and bedrooms. Halfway in between lies an uncluttered center hallway made attractive by double-height ceiling design.
Climb a flight of stairs and you come to a more personal center hallway connecting to two bedrooms and an ancestral worship room. It’s a long-established custom in Vietnam to offer veneration to ancestors from whom the family is descended.
All of the above parts work together to form a coherent house plan that’s perfectly oriented to maximize all aspects of the surroundings. In terms of the aesthetic appeal, the water pond is the focal point of the front yard landscape.
There’s a sense of physical and spiritual relationship among all things. Arranged in a straight line, the miniature mountain décor and the pond can be seen through the round, compelling window of the worship room at the center of the house plan.
The water pond, as the architect puts it, represents the essential part of the original landscape that had long been there before the old house was torn down and replaced by a new one. In a nutshell, the main idea is to keep everything where it belongs.
Apart from a set of traditional beliefs and sociocultural values, other important factors are also taken into account in creating a design that best fits the natural surroundings and climate of the region.
This is manifested in visual continuity that extends from inside the worship room to the miniature mountain garden décor in the front yard. Plus, the open floor plan design allows natural daylight and fresh, clean air to enter and circulate inside the home. In essence, it’s a trinity of complementing factors – the water pond, the building, and the surrounding landscape.
The architect wraps it up nicely. “It’s a design based on the relationship between common spaces, worship room, and the landscape.” There is apparent continuity starting with the entryway that boasts the spaciousness of double height ceiling design all the way to the second floor of the house. This allows all usable spaces and functions to conveniently link up with one another.
Meanwhile, doors and windows are in the right proportion in relation to the size, shape and position resulting in well-ventilated interior living spaces that are not too bright, not too warm, not too dark or not too cold.
On the outside, the house overlooks the front yard with a water pond that lies to the south. It’s perfectly oriented to coincide with seasonal winds that carry atmospheric moisture into the home, thereby keeping it cool all year round.
At the same time, the extremely large roof covered in orange tiles shelters the home from severe weather and blends harmoniously with like-color roofs in the surroundings.
Overall, it’s a design well suited to the warm and humid climate of Vietnam. Although the roof is enormous by any standard, the interior is well-lit by natural daylight thanks to large perimeter windows and doors. The result is a breezy, visually stimulating environment for house occupants.
Finally, the interior living spaces are plain and uncluttered by design. In all parts of the house, white walls prove a perfect complement to the floors covered in gray color tiles. What makes the interior pleasing to the senses is the furniture, as well as windows and doorframes made of wood.
More importantly, it’s the ordinary interior that speaks volumes for the simple lifestyle characteristic of this area. That’s precisely the quality that gives this house a feeling of warmth, comfort and relaxation. Nothing describes the relationship and the atmosphere here better than the architect’s saying, “The house is an extension of the garden, and the garden is an extension of the house.”
/ Story: Sarayut Sreetip-ard / English version: Bob Pitakwong /
/ Photographs: DOF Sky/Ground, architectural film and photography service /
Nong Ho Holiday Home is a gorgeous tropical home out in the country. An escape from the fast-paced city life, the tranquil abode is intended as a family holiday home during the winter months.
The house stands environed by the pleasant mountain base grounds at Nong Ho, only a short drive from downtown Chiang Mai. Strictly speaking, green is the prime color of the surroundings, and the panorama of the mountain landscape is one of breathtaking beauty. Priceless!
Commenting on the design concept, Skarn Chaiyawat, architect and founder of his architectural firm and namesake, said:
“The 300-square-wah, rectangular site on which the house is built is exceptionally good. In the evening, lights blaze in the sky as the sun disappears over Doi Suthep that’s easily seen from a distance. It’s really a beautiful sight to see.”
It’s a piece of land with great potential, so the main idea driving the design isn’t confined to the house alone. Rather it’s a layout that has the beauty of the natural environment at its core.
On the ground floor, open plan ideas come in handy, covering a large area from the sitting room to the dining room and pantry, plus a Thai-style kitchen at the further end of the interior.
“After careful consideration, I chose the I-shaped house plan. The longer side of the rectangle overlooking the backyard lies facing west, thereby opening every room to the scenic beauty of a mountain landscape,” the architect explained.
The architect and the homeowners agreed that, to avoid looking harsh or too modern in appearance, it makes perfect sense to blend modern building materials with heritage products in the locality.
The result is a modern vernacular home that boasts the richness of natural textures.
It’s built of reclaimed teakwood from old houses in the area and roofed over with clay tiles made the old-fashioned way by local artisans. House floors and parts of the walls are covered in glazed clay tiles made by Mae Rim Ceramics in Chiang Mai.
All told, it’s a beautifully semi-handcrafted home that’s original and unique in its own special way. Plus, it helps reduce impacts on the environment.
The more open the house plan, the more exposure it gets to sunlight and moisture.
Here, the problem is corrected by constructing elegantly extended eaves around the house. Where appropriate, several arrays of retro-inspired bamboo louvres protect the house from the elements, meanwhile providing a delicate aperture to the delightful view.
Together they reduce the heat, allow in gentle breezes along the east and west facades, and offer the benefit of adding decorative privacy screens to the home.
Here’s what we found. A good home isn’t made for comfortable living alone. It must also be capable of promoting good physical and mental health.
Although it has a street frontage, the family’s right to privacy is jealously guarded. There’s a backyard swimming pool for exercise. Looking out the window, a spectacular mountain view can be seen from a distance.
There’s plenty of room left to grow a vegetable garden, too. In essence, it’s a way of creating an ecology of nature-human interactions.
The architect wrapped it up nicely: “Even while indoors we can hear birds sing and gentle breezes rustle in the trees, plus the sweet smell of plants and rain in the yard.
“No need to turn on air conditioning all the time. It’s a beautiful natural setting that brings peace of mind. For us, it’s a great definition of a holiday home.”
Looking for cool treehouse ideas? Here’s one beautifully crafted of wood – a revolutionary design that epitomizes the ultimate return to nature.
After four months in the making, the building design company Stilt Studiosrecently unveiled the latest prototype of its treehouse series that was truly awesome. Known as “Treehouse C”, the home rises among the treetops in the salubrious weather of Penestanan, a cozy Indonesian village just a stone’s throw from Ubud town in central Bali.
Noted for its beauty and the richness of culture, Penestanan has been dubbed an artist village since the 1930’s. A 15-minute walk from the town center, the village is home to many go-to restaurants and bars sprouting up everywhere amid the green expanse of rice fields. Treehouse C itself sits high up in the leafy branches in a small community called Bukit Sari.
Strictly speaking, the home is raised high off the ground by a robust core element consisting of four vertical columns. Together they carry the weight of the entire dwelling. For strength and durability, the upright pillars are braced by a staircase and post-to-beam knee brackets for additional support.
On the rooftop, a steel cable stay system extends radially from the top of each mast anchorage to connect with the roof framework and the floor plane below, resulting in a reduction of member cross-sections and structural frames for the whole building.
From a distance, it gives the impression that the house is hovering among the lush green treetops, a sight that can leave a memorable experience. Plus, its surprisingly lightweight appearance is further enhanced by slender façades decorated with wood frames and glass paneling designed to carry nothing else but its own weight.
The latest edition of Treehouse C differs from previous C models built at Buduk village, published in October 2020, in that the original layout has been updated, changing from an open floor plan to one divided into several rooms. They include a kitchen with dining room and nearby sitting area, plus a spacious bedroom with cozy nook ideas interconnected via the bathroom corridor. The 64-square-meter design is for 2 to 4 people to fit in easily.
More so than anything else, it offers a panorama of the surrounding landscape and amazing sunrise views from Mount Agung, a famous volcano and the highest point in Bali.
As may be expected, the front yard is filled with edible gardens designed and executed by True Nature Nusantara, a Bali-based landscape consultancy specializing in natural regenerative processes.
Commenting on the role of permaculture in creating sustainable ecosystems, Bodhi Denton, the company’s director, said: “The goal of developing these gardens is to create a delightful labyrinth of low-maintenance and colorful perennials and trees like they exist in the wild, plus a laid-back, inconspicuous area to sit and enjoy the view of nearby rice fields.”
It’s for this reason that the gardens are full of flowers and ornamental plants indigenous to the Tropics plus fruits and herbs. It even has a small pond used for watering plants. Besides its famous Tetra Pod homes, the building design company also offers technical drawings of Treehouse models A, B, and C for purchase.
In three simple steps, you can get access to the drawings and license to build your dream house among the trees. Visit the company’s website for more details.
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