/ Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand /
/ Story: Wuttikorn Suthiapa / English version: Bob Pitakwong /
/ Photographs: Thanakitti Khamon, Nattawat Songsang /
This contemporary house looks like it’s crafted entirely of timber, thanks to effective use of color, texture and techniques to create interest. It stands hemmed in by the healthy foliage of tall trees in Nakhon Ratchasima, a province in Thailand’s Northeast.
A few years back when her family planned to build a new house, architect Kanika Ratanapridakul was assigned to the task. It was the first time she had to work directly with local builders and suppliers.
At first, things didn’t go quite as smoothly as expected, but it was a mission accomplished nonetheless. The key to success lies in being a bit more flexible to ensure things get done right, on budget and on schedule.
“This home may have some imperfections, but it has the same good quality as the other projects I have been involved in previously,” said the architect, adding, “It feels natural and relaxing.”
To create a serene wooded landscape for her home, Kanika came up with a better idea. She had experience growing single-species stands of trees, dealing with homogeneous woods in the past. But this time, she thought differently.
And the result of all this, the house now stands surrounded by a mix of tree species, with a different set of characteristics, ranging from Indian cork to mahogany to bamboo.
A heterogeneous mixture offers many benefits. In no time they grow and mature to become a healthy ecosystem, turning the landscape into a little forest. At ground level, the land is covered by shrubs in bright tones, including Minnie roots, or popping pods, and pinto peanuts.
The architect chooses house-on-stilts design for its warm, intimate feeling and better air circulation. Its open concept living area makes for flexible space utilization.
To create the look and feel of a wooden home, real timber is used only in areas that people always pay attention. They include the floors, ceilings, stairs, handrails, and wood paneling walls opposite the bedrooms.
As she puts it, that’s enough to create an easygoing wooden ambience, despite the fact that main building materials are concrete and metals. It’s about making effective use of available resources.
“Wood impacts feelings and emotions. It makes the house feel warm and comfortable. Plants are one of the two groups of living organisms. They come into being, live and thrive just like us humans,” she said.
Many brilliant ideas went into making this modern house in Nakhon Ratchasima cozy and inviting. Yet it’s not flawless. Ironically it’s the imperfections that makes it perfect for the forest setting.
Architect: Kanika Ratanapridakul of Spacetime Architects Co., Ltd. (www.spacetimearchitects.com)
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