/ Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand /
/ Story: Napasorn Srithong / English version: Bob Pitakwong /
/ Photographs: Nathawut Pengkamphoo, Anupong Chaisukkasem / Styling: Suanpuk Stylist /
A bamboo house with contemporary appeal sits immersed in its natural surroundings. The home that’s also a medical clinic belongs to Nopharat Pitchanthuk MD, and his wife Kanyapak Silawatanawongse. Without question, his interest in the natural therapeutic concept is expressed in the warm, inviting atmosphere of the home office. The orthopedic doctor provides specialized care for the musculoskeletal system in the comfort of a peaceful country setting.
Asked how all this was accomplished, the physician said: “Upon graduation from medical school, I taught medicine and operated a clinic in Bangkok for several years before coming out to Pak Chong District, Nakhon Ratchasima. At first, we opened a branch office in the city area just to get an idea about patient demands in the provinces.
“I was fortunate enough to receive help from a kindhearted person senior to me. He wanted to help patients in the rural area to have access to medical care. So, he let us use a facility free of charge for the purpose of opening a clinic.
“After having done it for a while, we felt like we were overstaying the welcome. At the same time, we needed a facility that would be more relaxed and convenient for the patients – preferably a greenery space that was comfortable, well lighted, open and airy. Just didn’t want them to feel tense and unable to relax as was the case with a hospital visit in general.”
He said: “For a while, we went searching for a location that would suit our specific needs.
“We eventually came to a parcel of land that Kanyapak’s mother had bought some 20 years back. It was woodland filled with dense shrubbery and other plants.
“We had the area cleared to make room for a grassy lawn, and had new trees planted. Eventually it was ready for a wedding ceremony to take place. Needless to say we have grown emotionally attached to it from day one. Hence, the new house and the medical clinic that has been relocated from the city.”
Why bamboo? The homeowner couple wanted their house in modern style to fuse into the pristine rural environment. Naturally, bamboo was the material of choice for it was easy to find at a reasonable price.
Bamboo is also strong and can be used proportionally to the weights for which it’s intended. It’s fast growing, easy to find, and reasonable as a building material. While it’s prone to be affected by moisture and insects, it can last a long time if well maintained.
Different kinds of bamboo were chosen to meet different construction needs. Pai Tong (Dendrocalamus), and Pai Sang Mon (Dendrocalamus Sericeus) two tropical kinds of giant clumping bamboos common to Southeast Asia, were used for house posts and other load bearing structures.
Other parts, such as roofing, walls, and ceilings were made using smaller farmed bamboos. They were adapted to fit in with modern building materials for durability and the conveniences of modern living.
Bamboo isn’t the only thing that contributes to the house’s country appeal. It’s the feel and functionality that go into making it unique
House-on-stilts design not only protects it from humidity, but also makes it suitable to build on uneven ground common to the rolling hill landscape. The raised floorboard of the bamboo house serves as an engine that drives natural air circulation, which results in thermal comfort on the inside.
Meantime, the gable roof with long overhangs unique to Thai-style residential architecture protects the home from the elements. Inside, vertical bamboo paneling alternating with horizontal sheets gives it a sense of perspective. Plenty of windows and transoms allow natural light into the room.
After all, this bamboo house not only harmonizes with the environment, but also stands for the country’s wisdom based on a sufficiency economy.
In the end, life is about balance.
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