The Mix of Traditional and Modern Design in a Thai Stilt House

The Mix of Traditional and Modern Design in a Thai Stilt House

The Mix of Traditional and Modern Design in a Thai Stilt House

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

/ Photography: Rithirong Chanthongsuk, Sitthisak Namkham /

This Modern Thai stilt house incorporates traditional wisdom into its modern design. All aspects of the environment are taken into account, including air circulation, calmness and comfort.

This Modern Thai stilt house is a product of mixing traditional Thai elements into the design scheme that emphasizes eco-friendly materials and modern technologies.

The couple incorporated traditional Thai wisdom with the best in modern design to create this modern Thai delightful home. The Thai stilt house of Panupong and Busakorn Hiranrak inspired by changing the design.

Obviously, some of the imported concepts didn’t seem to go together well with the kind of climate we have in Southeast Asia.

Modern symmetrical design enhances the house’s tranquil details. Crisp, clean lines and calm hues go together well with unornamented concrete walls.

Located in Bangkok’s Bangplad District, the house sits on a plot that was once part of a lush agricultural landscape. Architect Bundhit Kanitakhon explains:

“The land for many years used to be a thriving fruit orchard served by a well-planned irrigation system. House design was honest and straightforward, taking into account directions of the winds, the sun, and seasonal flooding. The result was a simple home with a modern edge and comfy atmosphere.”

On the outside, this Modern Thai stilt house was made of concrete masonry, for the most part unornamented. Closer examinations revealed elements of a true Thai style personality – ideal house orientation, suspended ground floor, and the so-called breathing wall design.

The master bedroom on the second floor boasts high ceilings in peaceful cream tones. Sloped ceilings and cool bed cover design add to the overall appeal of the room.
  • Ideal building orientation

There is a sense of auspicious energetic flow and comfort. The main log axis of the building runs East-West, allowing it to capitalize on natural air movement and effectively reduce heat.

Protection against sun, winds and rain /// Steeply sloped roofs with long overhangs protect the house from scorching sunlight and throw rainwater clear of the wall. Air blocks that form the exterior walls also allow for good air circulation and keep the house cool.
  • Suspended ground floor

Its stilt house design provides for effective under-floor air circulation, which is a form of the passive cooling characteristic of homes in Southeast Asia.

The stilts raise the house one meter above the surface of the soil to protect from seasonal flooding, ventilate air underneath the suspended ground floor, and effectively reduce humidity.

Antique chinoiserie furniture adds appeal to the dining area adjacent to the show kitchen. The dark-colored long table and bench pull out cultural influences in the décor details.
High ceilings make the hallway light and airy. Lit by a trio of suspended fixtures, the area is clearly visible from the bedroom on the second floor. Vivid color ceramic tiles add interesting effects to the design scheme.
  • Breathing wall design

This Thai stilt house is all about creating one seamless transition from the inside to the outside. Indoors living spaces are light and airy thanks to an array of 26 windows that stand 3.6 meters tall. They open up to bring in the outdoors. The teak wood shutters are the work of master builders from the old capital Ayuthaya.

Meanwhile, walls are composed of air blocks. The so-called breathing walls not only promote good air ventilation but also add to the overall curb appeal.

The house’s other distinctive features include a large central terrace, steep roofs arching upwards, and lush green surroundings.

The wood terrace provides easy access to all functional areas. During the day, all 26 teak wood shutters that stand 3.6 meters tall open up to bring in the outdoors.
  • Central terrace

The central court is the largest open space that connects with and supplies fresh air to other parts of the house. A form of cooling strategies, it ensures the occupants are thermally comfortable all year round.

Utilizing natural light, the lofty stairway is big and tall by any standard. Even the platform half way to the top is large enough for a small art gallery.
[left] Natural light illuminates the second-floor bathroom through a skylight and sliding glass windows. The amount of light on the side is controlled by Venetian blinds. [right] Vanity lights illuminate the countertop area. For better vision, choose the right bulbs that emit near natural light.
  • Steep roofs design

The house boasts steeply sloping tile roofs that arch upwards about 40 degrees to allow for rapid rainwater run-off.

On the edges, the eaves from an overhang that not only protects the building from scorching midday sun but also throw storm water clear of the walls. The steep roof design also serves as a natural cooling strategy.

Roof shingles are made of kiln fired earth known for its ability to not only dissipate heat quickly, but also prevent radiation from reaching the interior living spaces.
  • Natural surroundings

Thanks to the creative design, the house blends well with the green surroundings. Nearby, mango, banana, and jackfruit trees thrive alongside other vegetation that provides a crisp, cool canopy keeping the occupants comfortable all year round.

In the backyard, a fruit orchard keeps the house well supplied all year round.

On the inside, ample living spaces boast Asian inspired décor. Airy rooms are decked out with classic Thai and Chinese furniture from years gone by. Old cabinets, tables, and a Chinese style daybed are carefully placed to ensure they don’t clash with new sofas and trendy modern shelves. There is a seamless transition from one area to another.

Modest design concepts also pull in the natural earth tones seen throughout the house, from wood to kiln fired ceramic tiles and the air blocks.

On the inside, old eco-friendly furniture adorns the ample living room. Traditional and Oriental elements add some cultural flair to a cozy atmosphere. The exterior walls are composed of air blocks for privacy and good ventilation.
Adding harmonious proportions of handicrafts to the decor brings a strong cultural element to the limelight. A stage is set for story telling.
[left] Floors made of ceramic tiles are ideal for keeping homes cool in hot climates. [right] Window shutters are crafted of teak wood known for durability. Some of the shutters are equipped with small awning windows. They are ideal for areas that need privacy, but still let some light and breeze into the room.

Architect: Bundit Kanisthakhon, Natee Suphavilai

Interior Designer: Sirirat Ketphol


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