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Baan Suan Athisthan: A Contemporary Vernacular Home in Sync with Nature and Community Life

Baan Suan Athisthan: A Contemporary Vernacular Home in Sync with Nature and Community Life

/ Chiang Mai, Thailand /

/ Story: Samutcha Viraporn / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Rithirong Chanthongsuk / Styling: Salisa Viraporn /

A contemporary vernacular home aptly named “Baan Suan Athisthan” stands surrounded by lush green trees and bushes in Chiang Mai. The term “Baan Suan” is Thai for an orchard home. You got the idea. It’s a living space that merges traditional knowledge and skills with modern design principles, technology and materials. The result is a well-thought-out two story house plan filled with style and personality, plus useful features fitting perfectly in a coherent whole.

Vernacular Home Nature
A tree and lush vegetation add a light and pillowy texture to the front yard. The roof is covered with terracotta tiles sourced from neighboring Lamphun Province.

Located at Tambon Mae-Tha in the District of Mae-On, the house makes good use of indigenous knowledge systems and experiences unique to the locality, albeit adapted to suit new conditions and the look that belongs to the present. It’s part of a whole range of professional pursuits that homeowner and architect Supawut Boonmahathanakorn is engaging in.

He has worked at Mae-Tha for a long time, getting involved in all kinds of development efforts. It’s easy to get why he’s become a respected member of the community. We swung by Supawut’s beautiful vernacular home recently and loved every minute of it.

A Home That Blends into the Surroundings

Supawut came to Mae-Tha some eight years ago to work in community planning but ended up falling in love with it. Over time, a friendly, harmonious relationship with locals culminated in a decision to purchase a piece of land with the intention of building a home there.

What he had in mind was the kind of home that would fit, geographically and culturally, into the context of the rural vernacular habitat. And it climaxed with an impressive event in the form a thoughtfully devised wooden home with functionality and comfort fitting into a rural house plan.

Plus, correct building orientation protects it from inclement weather, creating a cozy and inviting living space that syncs with the rhythm of nature.

Vernacular Home Nature

It’s the product of design thinking that started out with the simple drawing of a wooden home plan. As might be expected, he wanted it built the old-fashioned way. The house is now complete.

The principal front of the home looks out over a rural road and, beyond it, a panorama of Doi Khun Tan, a scenic mountain range straddling the border between nearby Lumphun and Lampang provinces to the south.

To deal with intense sunlight coming from that direction, a tree is put in the front yard to provide shade and protect the home from harsh glare. In the meantime, a specious porch along the outside of the house performs a dual function as semi-outdoor sitting room and a layer of protection saving the interior living spaces from sun damage.

By design, it’s the cool front porch that makes the house stand out from other vernacular homes in the neighborhood.

Vernacular Home Nature
Bamboo poles alternating with barbed wires reduce the harshness of precast concrete fence posts. They provide a weather-beaten look that blends smoothly with the wooden home on the property.
Vernacular Home Nature
An array of awning windows allows natural daylight and fresh outdoor air into the home. Plus, they prove a perfect complement to clean line design on the building’s external envelope.

To blend in harmony with the community, the house is kept roughly the same size as its neighbors. Plus, it makes perfect sense to build a good rapport and avoid being seen as different from what is usual or expected.

To create a quiet and secluded living space, Supawut puts a tree in the front yard that’s still growing at the time of this report. At the same time, appropriate adaptations make the interior spaces cozy and comfortable. Among them, a “Tai Thun” or the open lower level space has since been enclosed by the walls for privacy and security since the homeowner doesn’t live here every day.

Combining Old and New

For strength and durability, the house is built on concrete foundations. The beams and joists supporting the house floor are crafted of steel to significantly speed up the overall construction process.

The floor itself is made of hardwood. The same applies to the beams and joists supporting the porch along the outside of the building. All types of timber used in this project are recycled from three old homes. They are chosen for their color and ability to suit different applications.

For good looks, teakwood is used as showpieces and wall panels, while the floor is crafted of solid hardwood in varying tones.

Vernacular Home Nature

Vernacular Home Nature
The front door opens to a vista of herb gardens and, beyond, a seemingly endless line of mountains.
Vernacular Home Nature
A roofed well casing made of concrete syncs with gardens filled with herbs indigenous to the Northern Region.

In keeping with local traditions, the house’s external envelope is unsophisticated and easy to understand. Unlike traditional vernacular design, the roof eaves overhanging the exterior wall are left exposed, leaving the ends of roof rafters visible.

Neither is there a gable decoration, aka the “Ga-lae” that’s symbolic of homes in the Northern Region. But nevertheless, it’s a beautiful wooden house, one that’s easy on the eye and blending perfectly into countryside vernacular.

The house entry area boasts split-level design that provides a place to sit while putting on and taking off shoes upon entering. There is an element of surprise, though. The second floor is accessible via a spiral staircase made of steel, an unusual feature for the traditional style home of the Northern Region.

Vernacular Home Nature

Vernacular Home Nature
The dining room and kitchen that lies furthest in is well-lit by natural daylight streaming through side windows and the front porch. Directly overhead, exposed floor joists supporting the upstairs room are clearly visible.
Vernacular Home Nature
Double height ceiling ideas make the downstairs sitting room feel airy and comfortable. Sliding glass doors open for good ventilation and lighting.
Vernacular Home Nature
A nook with a small desk provides a flex workspace that’s airy, open and welcoming.

Vernacular Home Nature

Vernacular Home Nature
The downstairs bathroom is an extension of the house plan, accessible via a semi-outdoor room roofed over with corrugated translucent material for lighting, a clever hack to keep the bathroom clean and hygienic.

Vernacular Home Nature
The front porch roofed over with a translucent material performs a dual function as semi-outdoor sitting room and additional protection preventing sun, wind and water from entering the home.

Climb a flight of stairs, and you come to a “Tern” in the vernacular of the Northern Region meaning an indoor raised platform. In a way, it serves as window into the past. Supawut explained that traditionally in former times, the area was used as living room during the daytime, and sleeping space in the nighttime for unmarried sons.

For good lighting and ventilation, the room isn’t enclosed by the walls. In times past, all family members would be out tending rice in the paddy field all day. There was hardly anyone home. And by the time the sons matured into adulthood, they would be married off and started a family of their own. Since the daughters remained in the family, they were entitled to a room of their own.

Vernacular Home Nature
A window into Northern culture in times past, the raised platform or “Tern” in the dialect of the region provided space for a living room during the daytime, and sleeping space for unmarried sons at night. Like old times, it now serves as a sitting room with throw pillows and floor seat cushions for sitting and leaning on.

In keeping with traditions, the Tern in this contemporary home is without furniture, an evidence that sheds light on a culture in which people sit on the floor. For Supawut, it’s a quiet nook to lean back, chill out, enjoy the view of the surrounding landscape.

Double Height Ceilings for a Bright and Breezy Atmosphere

A void of space between the first and second floors further increases ventilation in the home. It serves as engine that drives cross-ventilation, drawing fresh outdoor air from downstairs and forcing it to exit through wall openings and vents upstairs.

By making appropriate adaptations to traditional house design, Supawut was able to create high ceilings that give the home a lively and cheerful atmosphere. The result of all this: a contemporary home that’s more cozy and comfortable than the original vernacular homes in former times.

Vernacular Home Nature
An upstairs awning window and a gable vent allow natural light and fresh outdoor air into the home.
Vernacular Home Nature
Timber conceals the steel framework supporting the roof, creating a harmonious look in the interior living space. The coverings are made of reclaimed hardwood in various shades of earth color. The wall on the right is crafted of cement boards with sand swirl texture painted a cool-toned white.
Vernacular Home Nature
A void of space between the first and second floors makes the house feel light and breezy, while windows open to bring the outdoors in.

Technically speaking, the house is an interesting amalgam of the modern and the traditional. The architect started out with ideas for a modern house plan, and then added vernacular features to it with the help and advice of local elders highly skilled in traditional carpentry and woodworking.

Ironically, the elders were reluctant to participate at first. But after working with Supawut for a period of time, they came to accept it as one of their proud achievements.

Vernacular Home Nature
The neat and tidy bedroom embraces simple living. Shelving and cupboards perform a dual function as storage space and double insulated walls.
The contemporary upstairs bathroom is small yet complete with modern conveniences. The wet and dry areas are clearly defined, while the bathtub and shower room in cool-toned whites match the toilet and nearby rectangular wash basin.

As for building material adaptations, the walls are built for the most part of cement boards painted a shade of earth tones reminiscent of vernacular homes in bygone times. A light hue is chosen to create a bright and optimistic appearance on the front porch and entry area. The second floor is built strong to give it the maximum ability to take loading, especially the wet area where the bathtub is located. There are multiple vents that allow warm air to exit, resulting in a well-lit, well-ventilated interior. In the meantime, the open-concept floor plan makes the home feel spacious and improves traffic flow.

The house sits on concrete foundations designed to protect against water damage. Post bases built of concrete keep timber frames and columns dry. The joists and beams supporting the house floor are made of steel to significantly reduce construction time and save money on timber costs. Where appropriate, the open ends of steel beams are boxed in using wood plugs for a neat appearance and keeping insects out.
For a neat appearance, wooden knobs conceal the pins that secure mortise and tenon joints in place, a preferred technique to build strong timber framing. The architect sought advice from an artisan/village elder skilled in traditional carpentry to do this. Reclaimed four-sided posts and round log beams fitting together like wooden toys add visual interest to the interior.
The roof over the front porch is covered with a corrugated translucent material that reduces the amounts of light passing through. The load-bearing posts, beams and joists are made of hardwood for durability. Rafter tails are cut at an angle for a lightweight look and maximize the drip-off distance from the building. Plus, it allows rain gardens to make the most of runoff water.

The new contemporary vernacular home is named Baan Suan Athisthan for a good reason. The word is Sanskrit for a resolute mind or strong will to find inner peace and happiness. Like so, Supawut created this awesome place to be a home of peace, one that seeks reconnections with the natural world and the community to which it belongs.

More than anything else, it’s a little humble abode that provides a learning environment for kids, plus a close and harmonious relationship with others in the neighborhood.

The homeowner and project architect, Supawut Boonmahathanakorn, of Jai Baan Studio.

Owner/Architect: Supawut Boonmahathanakorn of Jai Baan Studio (

Building contractor: Banjerd Atelier

Woodwork artisan: Pongsakorn Yuennoi, aka Sala Kew

Visit the original Thai article…

“บ้านสวนอธิษฐาน” บ้านไม้พื้นถิ่นร่วมสมัย

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The Thingamajiggy Coffee Roaster: Rice Granary Adapted for a New Use as Café amid the Rice Fields

The Thingamajiggy Coffee Roaster: Rice Granary Adapted for a New Use as Café amid the Rice Fields

/ Chiang Mai, Thailand/

/ Story: Ektida N. / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Rungkit Charoenwat /

Here is a café and roastery with an ear-grabbing name. The Thingamajiggy Coffee Roaster stands in the middle of the rice fields of Chiang Mai’s Mae Rim District. A metamorphosis of purpose, it’s performing a new function as café with panoramic views of the stunning mountain landscape. The brand may be hard to say, but it certainly holds the attention of listeners while its rustic appearance merges into the farmhouse vernacular symbolic of the Northern Region.

Chiang Mai Cafe Rice Fields Thingamajiggy Coffee Roaster

The room of this Chiang Mai café in itself has only 21 square meters of space. At the outset, that was a difficult situation that tested the ability of the design team at Yangnar Studio, a homegrown atelier based in Chiang Mai. But they stepped up to the challenge by creating a functional business space, in which everything on the premises was fused into a single entity.

And the result of all this? A piece of vernacular architecture worth remembering. It’s a wholesome destination for coffee lovers that fits right into its surrounding farmlands and the reality of simple life in the countryside.

Chiang Mai Cafe Rice Fields Thingamajiggy Coffee Roaster
Built by locals using local building materials, the small coffee shop merges beautifully into farmland vernacular.

To begin with, the project owner wanted an oasis of calm where customers could sit back and relax as they enjoyed a good cup of coffee with nothing to obscure the view of the landscape. The design team responded with a three-part plan, including a small coffee shop at the front, followed by a cozy sitting area under a bamboo pavilion, and a restroom building at the farthest end.

Here, a 360-degree-view that changes from season to season can be seen all year round. Like a wallpaper from nature, it’s a design that seeks to connect more closely with the natural world for lighting and ventilation. Hence, there’s no need for air conditioning, which translates into huge savings and contributing in its small way to a sustainable future.

Chiang Mai Cafe Rice Fields Thingamajiggy Coffee Roaster
Going in the reverse direction, slat wood wall paneling is installed on the inside while supporting vertical beams or columns are on the outside.

In terms of design, the coffee shop gets its inspiration from old rice granaries commonplace in this part of the country. The interior holds a coffee bar service/ordering area complete with an assortment of bakery goods. Nearby, a west-facing bakery room provides insulation against hot afternoon sun, thereby keeping the bar and customer seating area cool and comfortable.

Plus, double height ceilings add a light and airy atmosphere to the room. From the outside, what looks like a two-story building is in fact a cross ventilation system which relies on wind to blow cool outside air into the room through one side, while warm inside air is forced out through rooftop vents and outlets on the opposite side.

Chiang Mai Cafe Rice Fields Thingamajiggy Coffee Roaster
Extended eaves overhanging the exterior walls offer protection against too much sun and rain.
The building’s external envelope crafted of bamboo splits creates a more open and airy atmosphere in the room, plus it protects against humidity damage.

The little café amid the rice fields is built by artisans skilled in traditional carpentry using timber and other natural ingredients readily available in Chiang Mai, except for the load-bearing foundations that are made of poured cement or concrete to protect against soil moisture damage. As is the case with rice granary construction, slat wood wall paneling is installed on the inside while supporting vertical beams or columns are on the outside.

Apart from retaining much of its architectural heritage, the reverse exterior walls add visual interest that merges with a massive gable roof designed for sun and rain protection. In the fewest possible words, it’s a picture of modern countryside ideas blending together beautifully into one cohesive whole.

Chiang Mai Cafe Rice Fields Thingamajiggy Coffee Roaster

To make customers feel comfortable, this Chiang Mai café amid the rice fields has patio and outdoor furniture that can be set up anywhere under the bamboo pavilion canopy. It’s a relaxation room that conveys a great deal about the humble origins of mankind and their responsibility towards nature.

To reduce the chance of exposure to harmful substances, the bamboo shades and blinds are not chemically treated to extend their longevity of life cycle. It’s a design based on the belief that everything changes and everything will be replaced when the time comes.

A drawing of the floor plan shows functional spaces in relation to the trees and shrubbery thriving on the property.

The same applies to the method of construction that’s simple and straightforward. Take for example the bamboo pole footings that are wrapped in plastic bags for protection against humidity damage. Or the overhead black mesh rolls that create diffuse light and protect against the sun’s harmful UV rays. They, too, get changed from time to time to ensure customer comfort and satisfaction.

Chiang Mai Cafe Rice Fields Thingamajiggy Coffee Roaster
For a full view of the landscape, the three buildings are set in a direction parallel with the elongated plot of land.

Architect: Yangnar Studio (

Lead Architects: Dechophon Rattanasatchatham, Apiwat Chainarin

Construction Supervisors: Rungroj Tansukanun, Metee Moonmuang

Builder Team: Yangnar studio builder team, Yaiwood

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A Bamboo House and Medical Clinic Built into Nature in Pak Chong

A Bamboo House and Medical Clinic Built into Nature in Pak Chong

/ Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand /

/ Story: Napasorn Srithong / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs:  Nathawut Pengkamphoo, Anupong Chaisukkasem / Styling: Suanpuk Stylist /

Here’s a bamboo house with contemporary appeal immersed in nature. The home that’s also a medical clinic belongs to Dr. Nopharat Pitchanthuk and his wife Kanyapak Silawatanawongse. Without question, his interest in the natural therapeutic concept is expressed in the warm and welcoming ambience of the home office. The orthopedic doctor provides specialized care for the musculoskeletal system in the comfort of home amid the rustic charm of the countryside.

bamboo house
Dr. Nopharat and his wife Kanyapak are all smiles in front of their bamboo home and medical clinic.

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.

bamboo house
The attractive two-story bamboo house is evidence of streamlined design that fits into the natural surroundings.
bamboo house
Bamboo is the material of choice for traditional Thai style residential architecture. Here, a gable roof is pitched at an angle that drains storm water fast to prevent leaking.

“I was fortunate enough to receive help from a good, kind person senior to me. He wanted to help patients in the rural area gain 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 green space that’s well lighted, open and airy. I just didn’t want the patients to feel tense and unable to relax as was the case with a hospital visit in general.”

Dr. Nopharat said: “For a while, we went searching for a location that would suit our specific needs. In the end, we came to a parcel of land that Kanyapak’s mother had bought some 20 years back. It was an area of woodland filled with dense shrubbery and other plants,

“We had the area cleared to make room for a grassy lawn and new trees planted. The house was ready in time for a wedding ceremony to take place. Needless to say we have grown emotionally attached to it from day one. The new home and the medical clinic now provides medical care for people in the rural area.”

bamboo house
A hanging fixture directs light to specific points in the main hallway. Ample glass windows and overhead transoms allow plenty of natural light during the daytime.

bamboo house

Brickwork alternating with timber in shades of warm earth tones adorns the dining area adjoining the kitchen.

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 the price reasonable.

Bamboo is also strong and can be used proportionally to the weight for which it’s intended. It’s fast growing and readily available as a building material. While it’s prone to be affected by moisture and insects, it can last a long time if well maintained.

bamboo house
High ceilings, big windows, and open floor plans combine to make the interior feel roomy, light and airy. There’s also a mezzanine that’s easily accessed from the living room.

[Left] A large awning window opens up to connect with the outdoors. / [Right] A sofa set in shades of indigo paired with earth tones on the walls and floor reduces a monotonous regularity in the interior living space.
Different kinds of bamboo were chosen to suit different construction needs. Pai Tong (scientific name: Dendrocalamus), and Pai Sang Mon (Dendrocalamus Sericeus), two Tropical species 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 built using smaller farmed bamboos. They were adapted to fit in with modern building materials for durability and the conveniences of modern living.

bamboo house
Where bamboo in brownish hues prove too much, whites come in handy to make the interior space look lightweight, spacious and airy.
bamboo house
A semi-outdoor room on the second floor has a traditional Thai-style chaise lounge with triangle pillow.
[Left] The roof comes in two layers to better protect the house from the elements. To blend with the environment, the top sheeting is made of asphalt shingles, while the underlayment is built of split bamboo paneling. / [Right] Giant bamboo poles, or Pai Tong (scientific name: Dendrocalamus) are chosen to give rafters and roof battens their strength and ability to shore up the weight.
Selected to suit specific applications, bamboo poles are not painted or dyed. They undergo treatment procedures to increase durability, which include a thin coat of protective oils. Light color oils enhance the appearance that blends well with the natural environment.

Bamboo isn’t the only thing that contributes to the house’s rustic appeal. It’s the feel and functionality that go into making it unique.

At the same time, house-on-stilts design protects it from humidity, and makes it suitable to build on uneven ground common to this area. The bamboo floor at plinth height serves as engine that drives natural air circulation, which results in indoor thermal comfort.

bamboo house

The clinic interior features an open floor plan with large windows designed to connect to the outdoors. Large transom windows and the roof opens up to allow plenty of natural daylight, which translates into big savings on electricity.

bamboo house

Designed to soak up the view of surrounding landscapes, Dr. Nopharat’s office takes stress and anxiety out of everyday work life.

As for the upper covering, a gable roof with long eaves unique to traditional Thai-style architecture protects the home from the elements. Inside, vertical bamboo paneling alternating with horizontal split bamboo sheets gives a sense of perspective, while plenty of windows and overhead transoms allow natural light into the room.

In a nutshell, it’s sustainable design that harmonizes with the natural world, a work of architecture based on traditional knowledge and the concept of a sufficiency economy. The bottom line is life is all about balance.

bamboo house
A parlor provides relaxed seating and waiting areas for families accompanying the patients. Overhead, the roof opens up to allow natural light into the room and shuts when not needed.

Owner: Nopharat Pitchanthuk MD and Kanyapak Silawatanawongse

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Box-Shaped Steel House Surrounded by Nature

Box-Shaped Steel House Surrounded by Nature

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

/ Story: Kor Lordkam / English version: Peter Montalbano /

/ Photographs: W Workspace /

This box-shaped steel house, hidden in shady green woods, has a cool, peaceful resort atmosphere. – hard to believe it’s right in the middle of a congested city!

Steel House
wide eaves, glass windows set 3 meters in for shade and rain protection
Steel House
paved driveway leading into the carport 5 meters from the street

Designing architect Boonlert Hemvijitraphan of Boon Design took up the challenge set by the owner: create a home on the limited plot that is neither cramped nor stuffy.

Boonlert said, “The challenge was to make that work within the urban context. Fortunately, the owner gave us a completely free hand; our job was simply to design a comfortable residence on a 360-square-meter (90-square-wah) property. The starting point was what we saw in the original landscaping here.”

Steel House
[left] The dark of the steel house and bamboo blinds contrasts with the surrounding greenery. [right]: Open space carport leads up into the house.
Steel House
The main door from the carport into the living room

Steel House

The property was not large, and its location right in the center of a capital city was seriously limiting

How to build a comfortable residence here? The garden/orchard greenery was used as a tool to create a sense of spaciousness.

Instead of the house spreading outwards toward the fence, it rose vertically as a 2½-storey home with open space beneath the house used as a carport and multipurpose area, the rest of the property becoming a relaxing, park-like space.

Steel House

High-ceilinged living room, naturally bright and airy, with a great view of outside greenery.

The large garden was set up to the south to get the best breeze and the best shade from plants and trees.

The garden is planted on soil raised 1.2 meters higher than before to be level with the 3-meter height of the living room.

The living room connects with the dining area beneath the mezzanine, with the kitchen behind the glass door
The metal bookshelf reaching almost to the mezzanine also acts as weight-bearing support for the staircase behind it.

The first floor has a high “double volume” ceiling for more natural light and ventilation. A steel staircase rises from the living room to the mezzanine, which holds a workroom and guest bedroom, and up to the second floor, the owner’s private space.

The single staircase up from the carport connects everything from the ground to the top floor.

Mezzanine walkway with banister and protective grating steel is the primary building material, but natural materials such as bamboo are also important.

Bamboo shades cover the house façade, filtering sunlight, protecting against rain, giving privacy from outside view, yet still allowing good ventilation.

“We used steel not because we especially wanted to use steel, but because it was light, and we wanted that quality,” explained Boonlert.

“Each material has its own particular value. Coming up with a principle means coming up with the quality we want. Design is a value in itself.”

The architecture of this house reflects modern times. It’s surrounded by the natural environment people long for, so no matter chaotic and confused the outside world, in this home there’s a mood of relaxation and contentment: it’s just a great place to live.

Elevated porch connecting to the garden.

Architect: Boonlert Hemvijitraphan of Boon Design (

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A Concrete House with Bamboo Interior Decoration

A Concrete House with Bamboo Interior Decoration

/ Chiang Rai, Thailand /

/ Story: Otto Otto / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Sungwan Phratep /

Introducing a plain and simple concrete home that captures the essence of the cultures of Southeast Asia. Like an unforgettable journey back in time, it uses bamboo design for interior decoration. Step inside and be enthralled by a bewildering array of items made of bamboo and craftworks showcasing a passion and individuality.

The homeowner is a nationally renowned painter. When his old house was receiving more visitors and friends than it could handle, he decided to build a new one right next to it. The result is a living space handcrafted with grace and sustainable elegance.

The first floor holds a trendy open-concept living room with dining space done in the loft style. It houses a collection of paintings that dominate bare concrete walls.

If visitors should feel like spending the night here, guest accommodation is only a flight of cantilever stairs away.

Loft House with Entrancing Bamboo Design

Loft House with Entrancing Bamboo Design

There is a touch of the exotic in the bedroom designed by award-winning designer/carpenter Yutthana Bumrungkit. He thinks this modern building needs a bit of craftworks to create a delightful local ambiance.

Ceiling treatments are fashioned from cleaved bamboo paneling, while the walls are covered in flattened bamboo poles arranged horizontally to highlight a naturally split pattern and nodes in rustic amber color.

Even the doorknob is crafted of a bamboo gnarl.
Even the doorknob is crafted of a bamboo gnarl.
Light switches are hidden in plain sight behind knotted bamboo sticks put together in a miniature lattice.
Light switches are hidden in plain sight behind knotted bamboo sticks put together in a miniature lattice.
Rustic handrail is crafted of a giant bamboo pole, part of the designer’s rare collectibles.
The rustic handrail is crafted of a giant bamboo pole, part of the designer’s rare collectibles.

Ceiling treatments combine strand woven paneling with braid design, ideal bathroom décor of bamboo aficionados.
Ceiling treatments combine strand woven paneling with braid design, ideal bathroom décor of bamboo aficionados.
An ultramodern chandelier fashioned from sheets of mulberry paper fills the interior with an orchestra of electric lights.

The raw look of lofts and warmth that comes with bamboo design combine to give this house modern rustic appeal while showcasing the owner’s passion and individuality.

In a nutshell, the giant woody grass of Southeast Asia still has plenty of room to grow in the world of modern design.

Designer: Chan Sippasattra, Yutthana Bumrungkit

Visit the house on YouTube…


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A Bamboo House Embraced by Nature in Pak Chong

A Well-Ventilated Modern Bamboo House in Malaysia

Airy Bamboo House with a Modern Flair in Malaysia

Airy Bamboo House with a Modern Flair in Malaysia

/ Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia /

/ Story: Ekkarach Laksanasamrich / English version: Peter Montalbano /

/ Photographs: Soopakorn Srisakul /

With bamboo as its main material, the architect has integrated the modern Tropical design into nature. This well-ventilated house in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is the brainchild of John G. N. Bulcock of Design Unit Architects Sdn. Bhd. Though the theme is modern Tropical, Bulcock preferred not to limit his idea only to the word. “Actually, I’m not interested in defining it. I’m more curious to look into the floor plan, the atmosphere, and the functions. And I like it the way it is,” said the architect.

Bamboo House in Malaysia
A concrete roof spanning 15 meters across provides protection for the sitting room, dining room, and bedrooms.

Fung Kai Jin, the owner of this bamboo house in Malaysia, gave Bulcock freedom to design. The only request was to feature bamboo in the work, although the material has some flaws of its own.

Bamboo House in Malaysia
[left] The swimming pool and terraces lie at the low end of sloping ground surrounded by full-grown trees. [right] The door is especially made to open wide from one end to the other. So, the view is not blocked.
“Bamboo is a gift from nature,” said Fung. “It is strong and durable to a certain extent. But it has some weaknesses. It doesn’t last as long as other kinds of wood, or steel and concrete masonry, and it requires more maintenance than other materials.

“But for those who have a penchant for bamboo, I think it’s worth the effort. After all, you get to spend time in the house that you love every day.”

Bamboo House in Malaysia
The sitting room has high ceilings. The upstairs TV room is protected from the sunlight by a bamboo lattice.
Bamboo House in Malaysia
Spaces between the walls promote good air circulation.

Bulcock then decided the house has to be an integrated one. “The main idea is to make the house an integral part of the nature,” he recalled. “Meaning, it has to blend well with the land features and trees around it. So the plan calls for plenty of open spaces and undisturbed materials, such as plain concrete finishes, glass, and bamboo.”

Bamboo House in Malaysia
Imitating nature with a rain garden, the architects put in a nice little green al fresco oasis on the second floor.
Bamboo House in Malaysia
A semi-outdoor area stays cool and comfortable all day, thanks to leafy plants and underground vapors.

The three-story house was set on a slope. So, Bullock placed a carport and a main entrance on the second floor for practical use. The floor consists of a dining room, kitchen, TV room and a wide balcony overlooking a swimming pool. The lower floor includes a home office, living room, storage room and a maid’s quarter. The private area is reserved on the third floor.

The bedroom is adorned with simple decoration. Plain concrete walls and white ceilings spice up the atmosphere. The floorboard is made of hardwood for durability and a stress-free environment.

The house is kept small and uncluttered by dividing into rooms connecting through a roofed hallway that spans over 15 meters across the area. A small interval between the roof and the building is allowed for the rain and the sun shining in.

There are also gaps between the main roof and nearby rooms to promote good ventilation. Fresh air circulates throughout the day through passageways and gaps in the bamboo lattice. Courtesy of the Tropical weather, there is no need for an air-conditioning machine for this bamboo house in Malaysia.

Bamboo House in Malaysia
The architects install bamboo lattice in the interiors as well to create visual continuity.
Fixed windows at the top edge of dining room walls allow light to shine through, while effectively keeping the heat out.

“As it rains, a fine spray of water descends upon bamboo lattice. When the owner chose this kind of material, he accepted that wet weather is normal,” Bulcock said

“Call it living close to nature. We need to plan which part can be exposed to the rain and vice versa to avoid damage to the structure over time.”

Bamboo House in Malaysia
Large windows in the son’s bedroom make the interior very light and airy. The swimming pool below can be seen in full view from here.

All things considered, this bamboo house in Malaysia is a good example of what living close to nature should look like.

For maximum exposure to the natural surroundings, stair railings are crafted of glass panels.

Owner: Fung Kai Jin

Architect: John G. N. Bulcock of Design Unit Architects Sdn. Bhd.

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