Blog : box-shaped house

MAISON K: A Home Office Made Attractive by Façade of Shimmering Ceramics

MAISON K: A Home Office Made Attractive by Façade of Shimmering Ceramics

/ Binh Dinh, Vietnam /

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

/ Photographs: Tuan-Nghia NGUYEN /

An eco-friendly home office building named Maison K hovers above the ground, looking out over a traffic circle in the center of Quy Nhon, a coastal city in central Vietnam. The overall effect is out of this world, inspiring admiration for its well-thought-out design and build quality. The building’s double-skin façade gives off good vibes, thanks to air flowing through the intermediate cavity. At the same time, hanging and trailing vines add a lush appeal to the building’s principal front shimmering in the sunlight. Right next to it, another home office building with beautiful raw concrete finishes stands back to back on the same location. Albeit different characters, the interior is essentially the same.

Home Office vietnam MAISON K

Blending aesthetics with sustainable design, the building’s feature wall is covered with ceramic panels in subdued shades of orange that provide a buffer against the glare of the sun. Hinged on one side, they swing open like doors to regulate air and light streaming into the interior.

Together they merge into one coherent architectural feature that creates an indelible impression on people passing by.

Home Office vietnam MAISON K

Dubbed the home office for the future of work, it’s a design that makes decorating with plants an integral part of interior and exterior design. Every workspace is thoughtfully devised to best serve its designated purpose, while the wellness, peace and quiet of a home office atmosphere remain the front-and-center concerns.

It’s thanks to meticulous design that an oasis of calm is created despite being located in a busy downtown neighborhood.

Maison K is the brainchild of Nghia-Architect, a homegrown atelier admired for their imagination and skills, plus an excellent track record in architecture and knowledge of the geography in Vietnam. Their main forte includes a thorough understanding of climate variability since weather conditions can change significantly on the oceanfront, directly affecting how a building performs.

Home Office vietnam MAISON K

This is especially true in the case of Quy Nhon, which is subject to strong winds in the coastal area, plus hot and humid weather conditions happening from time to time.

As the architect puts it, Quy Nhon being warmer and more humid than other parts of the country, the knowledge and experience in choosing the right materials for the job is imperative, and hence standards be maintained every step of the way.

Understandably, concrete is the mainstay of the construction industry in this part of Vietnam. It’s preferred over other building materials and techniques for its strength and durability, plus it’s resistant to weather and salt damage.

Especially in the context of Quy Nhon, concrete containing broken gray stone is preferred for its wear and tear resistance, plus its pleasing color and texture are sought after in this region.

Home Office vietnam MAISON K
Green design keeps the covered parking area cool when the mercury rises. A triangular void of space curved into rounded form creates a double volume air space that allows a tree to grow through it reaching for the sky. For a look that’s easy on the eye, sharp interior angles are trimmed into curved corners to reduce the harshness of raw concrete finishes.

There’s an element of surprise. Maison K sits on land shaped like a piece of pie, a quarter of a circle, so to speak. That being the case, the architect thought it best to put in an L-shaped building with one side open to take in the beautiful view of a nearby lake.

Plus, it’s in compliance with the city ordinance in effect at present. To facilitate business operations, he put the office space downstairs and all the family living areas on the upper floors where it’s quiet and more private.

First floor plan. / Courtesy of Nghia Architect
Second floor plan. / Courtesy of Nghia Architect
Third floor plan. / Courtesy of Nghia Architect
Fourth floor plan. / Courtesy of Nghia Architect
House section. / Courtesy of Nghia Architect

For practical reason, the office and residential spaces each have separate entrances. The office itself is conveniently accessed from the covered parking area. Sliding doors glazed using clear glass make the business space warm and welcoming.

The residential entry area is made less visible by design. It’s an ordinary swing door tucked away in a quiet place. Upon entering, you find a flight of stairs leading to the second floor that’s the first step into the home.

The stairwell and upstairs sitting room are well-lit by shafts of sunlight streaming in through the rooftop and generous openings in the walls.

Overall, the home interior is simple and clean with the clearly defined order for space utilization. Where appropriate and legal, the architect put in generous openings in the exterior walls to connect the indoors with outdoor spaces. And the result of all this is a feature wall on the side overlooking the covered carport.

It’s an architectural feature that’s easily noticeable and immediately appealing from a distance. Apart from adding visual interest to the building’s external envelope, it allows plenty of fresh air and natural light, creating a relaxed ambience in the indoor living spaces.

Home Office vietnam MAISON K

Home Office vietnam MAISON K

Pursuant to the city ordinances in effect at present, only two sides of the exterior overlooking the traffic circle and the street below are permitted to have openings in the walls. The other two sides adjacent to neighboring buildings do not enjoy the same privilege.

However, what is lacking due to limitations is nicely compensated for by rooftop skylights that illuminate the stairwell and other parts at the rear of the home. It’s a practical solution that helps reduce electricity costs and protect against humidity damage over a long period of time.

Home Office vietnam MAISON K
The third floor holds the family’s main living area.

Home Office vietnam MAISON K

Meanwhile, the other two sides have an unobstructed view of the roundabout and the street below. Climb another flight of stairs, and you come to the third floor holding the family’s main living area that’s protected by the feature wall of shimmering ceramic panels in muted shades of orange.

Together they provide a layer of insulation against heat and stress, protecting the gray concrete wall behind it. The ceramic panels that form the first line of defense are hinged on one side and swing open like doors to control light and winds passing through. The panels have grooves in them so as to drain stormwater fast in heavy rain.

Home Office vietnam MAISON K

Home Office vietnam MAISON K
The upper branching of a tree rises through the void of space on the second floor, creating an oasis of calm and a focal point in the upstairs courtyard.
Home Office vietnam MAISON K
An impressively geometric facade projects from the building. Its feature wall is covered in multiple ceramic panels in subdued shades of orange. Hinged on one side, they swing open like doors to control air and light streaming into the interior, an architectural feature designed to create an indelible impression on people passing by.

All things considered, it’s a revolutionary idea that integrates greenery as an integral part of architectural design. Green spaces offer multiple health benefits. Among other things, they give the building its character, provide shade and improve air quality.

From a distance, they add visual interest to the urban space around the traffic circle. More so than anything else, it’s the lively green and orange façade that creates a gently calming effect for people passing by.

Home Office vietnam MAISON K
Viewed from across the street in the nighttime, Maison K is a clean, well-lighted place created for health, comfort and security.

Architect: Nghia Architect (www.nghiaarchitect.com)

Lead Architect: Nguyen Tuan Nghia


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Envelope House: Big Family Makes a Modern Space Feel Cozy

Envelope House: Big Family Makes a Modern Space Feel Cozy

/ Singapore /

/ Story: Phattaraphon / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: KHOO Guo Jie /

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.

Modern space

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.

Modern space

Modern space

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.”

Modern space

Modern space

Modern space

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.

Modern space

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.

1st Floor Plan Courtesy of ASOLIDPLAN
2nd, 3rd, and Roof Floor Plan Courtesy of ASOLIDPLAN

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.

Conceptual Diagram Courtesy of ASOLIDPLAN

Modern space

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.


Architect: ASOLIDPLAN (asolidplan.sg)

Lead Architect: QUCK Zhong Yi


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A Modern Home That is Quintessentially Thai Quiet Interaction of Landscape Design and Architecture

A Box-shaped House in A Mid-City Garden by Vin Varavarn Architects 

A Box-shaped House in A Mid-City Garden by Vin Varavarn Architects 

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

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

/ Photographs: Soopakorn Srisakul /

To have more space for his three children, M.L. Varudh Varavarn (Vin) of Vin Varavarn Architects built this modern house amid a garden on a quarter-acre property in the heart of Bangkok’s Chidlom District.

Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects

 

“Children need a place with trees to run and play,” was Vin’s first thought in keeping all the original trees for the garden. Each room looks out on this great play area.

“When we built the place we’d just come back from living abroad in a town house. There wasn’t really enough space for the kids there, so we made this home more about the kids than ourselves,” he told LivingASEAN.

 

Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects

Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects
The house, the balcony, and the garden are simple components of a tropical house. Although porous from wood borer beetles, these folding doors are perfectly functional. The decorative garden stones were dug up from the property.

 

One primary building material was 20-year-old teakwood from Vin’s mother’s plantation in Kamphaeng Phet, much of which had been eaten hollow by wood boring beetles and couldn’t be sold to a lumber yard.

“We figured wood like this might give an interesting look. Talking with The Jam Factory contractor Subhashok gave us some ideas.

“We wanted something that didn’t look too slick, but had unique character and was durable. Wood, concrete, and steel were our main building materials.”

With porous teak, it’s best to cut the wood into narrow boards, sort out the more porous ones, then use the different types in different parts of the house.

Wood with no holes is used for flooring. Even though you can see into the sapwood on some, porous wood panels can be used for latticework, folding doors/windows, and ceilings, which are not usually touched by people, and they can be patched where called for.

 

Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects
The wall separating the stairwell from the living room displays a rough concrete surface.
Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects
By the stair to the 2nd floor, natural light shines into the front hall indoor courtyard. The living room is behind the wall on the right.

 

This steel-frame box-shaped house uses cement walls as artifice: for instance, the wall of rough concrete next to the parking area creates a vertical play of light and shadow on garden stone surfaces.

Meantime, the living room’s big brick walls are surfaced with concrete poured in different concentrations, creating gray stripes in gentle contrast to the rough harshness of the concrete itself.

The house plan visually connects interior and outdoor spaces in a number of places: coming in the door, we first encounter an interior court with a tree, then walk around into the living area, dining space, and large open-plan pantry flanked on both sides by gardens, seeming to switch character back and forth between being indoors and outdoors.

By the tree court is a latticed staircase of wood and steel leading to the 2nd floor, where we find a living area, children’s activity room, and all the bedrooms.

 

Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects
The living room with a big sofa for family socializing. To save building expense the steel frame is light as possible, which also gives the house a light, open look.
Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects
Folding doors filter light and give security and privacy. Adding to the green, plants grow along the wall by the neighboring house.
Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects
Close by the open living area is a dining table where Vin does a little work most mornings. Furthest in is a long, narrow pantry-style kitchen also used for informal eating.
Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects
On the 2nd floor is a children’s activity room, the surrounding glass adding openness and drawing natural light from both the interior court and the side facing the house next door.
Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects
On the 2nd floor is a children’s activity room, the surrounding glass adding openness and drawing natural light from both the interior court and the side facing the house next door.

Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects

“The kids have been happy here, and feel more like staying at home, so we’ve achieved a nice level of success,” added M.L. Varudh. Before the evening came we got to see all 3 of Vin’s children as they got back from school to run, play, climb, and have fun, laughing and smiling, sometimes in the children’s activity room.

Box-shaped House Vin Varavarn Architects


Architect: M.L. Varudh Varavarn of Vin Varavarn Architects


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MODERN TROPICAL HOME IN INDONESIA

A Modern Home Where Traditions Make Comfortable

A Modern Home Where Traditions Make Comfortable

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

/ Story: Patsiri Chotpongsun / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Anupong Chaisukkasem /

This contemporary Thai house is hemmed in by factories, but its clever design leaves one feeling unconfined, almost as if outdoors, with landscaping inserted right into the house interior and its sporty swimming pool. Mitigation of unpleasant outside sounds and scents is an even higher priority than the outward appearance of the house.

Contemporary Thai House Enhanced with Local Tradition

Advanced ideas and innovations from the West work best in Asian countries when adapted to localities and geographic conditions, so those innovations take on unique personalities of their own.

Vernacular architecture usually speaks directly to comfort and realities of local ways of life. In a traditional Thai house, for instance, one central concept is to have an open interior space, often with a high-ceilinged open thai thun area below the house that blocks the sun and catches the seasonal breeze.

Contemporary Thai House Enhanced with Local Tradition

Speaking to architect Surat Pongsupan of Greenbox Design, Ms. Aim, the owner of this house said:

“I want comfortable living Thai-style, with an open tai thun and such good ventilation that air conditioning is hardly needed.”

Contemporary Thai House Enhanced with Local Tradition

The owner’s close connection to the factory business and her desire for a short commute resulted in this closed-in location, where the architect’s ingenuity resulted in a truly striking design.

To counter the closed-in feeling, the house has entryways on two sides, one the drive into the front from the factory buildings, the second a walkway across the canal in back.

Just strolling through the house is pleasant. The architect explained:

“I designed a semi-open space where the landscaping actually reaches into the pool and the house itself. Bedrooms, closets, and service areas, generally not use in the middle of the day, are positioned to block the house’s common areas from the factory environment.

“This was a first priority, and the appearance of the house followed from that.”

Contemporary Thai House Enhanced with Local Tradition

House orientation takes into consideration the directions and force of sun and wind in the humid tropical climate.

Walls to the west and south are opaque; There are two levels of roofing with a gap between facilitating heat insulation and ventilation. The four-sided, gable-free roof is lighter, slighter, and more open than usual, and skylights are used to bring morning light into bedrooms, a nod to the early-rise lifestyle of the owner.

“The general house plan puts the living room in front, with a high ceiling. I placed the living room next to the garden and pool, with a full sliding glass wall opening up a horizontal view and drawing fresh air in,” the architect continued.

“Ceilings in the kitchen and dining room are high and open, giving the feeling of the traditional tai thun, as these rooms are used for every meal and common family activities. These rooms also open out onto the garden and swimming pool.”

Contemporary Thai House Enhanced with Local Tradition

Contemporary Thai House Enhanced with Local Tradition

Contemporary Thai House Enhanced with Local Tradition

Upstairs, a clear glass wall offers a view all around the house. The corridor connecting bedrooms shades the pool below, making for comfortable midday swimming.

There is an overall impression of harmony. Primary colors are gray-white and a soft, warm natural wood color. Indoors get a lot of sunlight, but trees give it a fresh green tint, especially the brush cherry tree planted in the middle of the house.

Contemporary Thai House Enhanced with Local Tradition

Contemporary Thai House Enhanced with Local Tradition

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The owner concluded, “We like being contemporary, but also being Thai. The openness of kitchen and pool is great. The soft sound of running water is sweet.

“My husband likes to listen to songs, and has speakers all over the house, making for a relaxing atmosphere. It’s good for the kids to become accustomed to living with nature, which is why we emphasize the value of these common areas so much .”

We call our home “Viva House,” with the hope that all living here will have long and happy lives.


Architect: Surat Pongsupan of Greenbox Design (www.facebook.com/greenboxdesignbkk)


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A Beautiful White Cube-Shaped Home Made for the Good Life

A Beautiful White Cube-Shaped Home Made for the Good Life

/ Chonburi, Thailand /

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

/ Photographs: Sitthisak Namkham /

It’s everyone’s dreams to have a beautiful home. And it takes a special kind of knowledge, skills and wisdom on the part of the architect to create one that’s both gorgeous and great to live in. This box-shaped house in cool-toned whites belonging to Thanaphong and Thinan Nakaprasit has what is needed for comfortable living.

Initially, construction was delayed for a period of time for Dr. Tonkao Panin, a professor at Silpakorn University, and Tanakarn Mokkhasmita, of the Research Studio Panin to properly develop a plan to build the house around a tree.

White Box-shaped HouseWhite Box-shaped House

“Our old house had a high “tai thun” (the lower open space at ground level) and a tree that’s the focal point on the property,” explained Thanaphong. “We loved this place, but we wanted to change a few things. To put in a carport in the tai thun, the house had to be raised a bit higher to create more headroom. Our first house plan had a half courtyard with the tree only partially surrounded.”

White Box-shaped House

Thanaphong and Thinan had seen the results of Dr. Tonkao’s design work in the past. They grew familiar with her lines of thought that stressed using simple geometric shapes to bring out hidden character and warmth. Especially for Thanaphong, it gave him further insights into the concept of utilizing proportions, a code to unlock the geometric secrets in classic designs, and a sense of security that’s a design challenge in architecture.

White Box-shaped House

Having lived in a house with glass walls, privacy and security were important to Thanaphong and Thinan: they wanted more containment. Creating secure viewpoints for looking both out of and into the house posed a challenge for the architects. Solutions began with placement of a large tree as the focal point of the house plan. The rooms are disposed around the tree in the center courtyard and have views for monitoring the exterior of the house. People inside can hardly be seen from outside, while the addition of steel panels adds more security.

The security steel panels were originally designed to be of Exmet (expanded metal), but Thanaphong consulted with the architects and decided instead on perforated steel, adding a charming polka dot pattern to the latticework blocking off the long walkway behind the house by the canal.

White Box-shaped House

“Environmentally, this is a great location: water and mountains are behind us, so we need practically no gardening of our own,” explained Thanaphong. Instead of being near the road, the house is set deep in the back of the .4-acre property. Besides the tree between buildings, the living room has a beautiful view of the natural forest on the other bank of the canal.

For easy maintenance, the property is landscaped primarily with grass lawn or paved with stones and large rocks, which are used especially for the shady, peaceful “tai thun” space (the lower open space), which gets no direct sunlight.

White Box-shaped House White Box-shaped House White Box-shaped House

For movable furniture, Thanaphong especially wanted to bring some Modernformblack Iceland” items from their old house, which required some expansion of the kitchen. Other furniture is mostly from IKEA, with light color tones and light, simple shapes.

White Box-shaped House White Box-shaped House White Box-shaped House White Box-shaped House

“The longer we’ve lived here, the more charm we’ve found in this house, its great functionality, and the open areas, the deck and the tai thun. This is a very special design. Completely separate from other benefits, just the view as we drive in lets us see past the buildings to the mountains, water, a panorama of nature. I love it,” the owner wrapped up beautifully.


Visit the original Thai article…

สวยพอเหมาะพอดีใน บ้านทรงกล่องสีขาว

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Renovation Brings Comfort into a Modern Home

Renovation Brings Comfort into a Modern Home

Renovation Brings Comfort into a Modern Home

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

/ Story: Patsiri Chotpongsun / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Sitthisak Namkham /

The family’s firstborn son is married and household members have increased. For the past 40 years, the old house located on a residential estate has gone through various stages of repair and expansion. The time for further improvements has come, and the Sattayavinij family thought it wise to renovate the dated, tired-looking home, turning it into a modern home that’s warm, livable, and in sync with the present time.

Woranol Sattayavinij, the firstborn, is an architect at the reputable company Architects 49 Limited. And the responsibility to remake this modern home rested with him.

Earlier on, the family had entertained the idea of tearing down the old house to make room for a new one set on 96 square wahs (384 square meters) of land.

Fully aware of the family’s lifestyle needs, the kind of place they wanted, and the limited budget they had, he had a change of mind and went for a renovation project instead.

Modern Home
Tall aluminum latticework that makes the front façade protects the west-facing home from harsh sunlight. It provides a buffer against solar heat gain building up in the interior. On the street, black iron lattice fencing promotes natural air circulation and doubles as a privacy screen.

“I made a walkway connecting to the courtyard that has become our sitting room.  Using my stock of lumber and wood recycled from the old house, I mixed teak with Makha wood (Afzelia xylocarpa), and gave it a fresh layer of paint,” explained Woranol.

“It was a mix-match since the boards came in different sizes, but nothing serious.  Now mom and her sister seem really pleased  that it’s a nice spot to sit and catch the cool breezes.”

A flight of garden steps leading to the house interior is canopied by overhanging trees thriving along the fence line. The corridor offers enough room to stroll around in the privacy of home.
A flight of garden steps leading to the house interior is canopied by overhanging trees thriving along the fence line. The corridor offers enough room to stroll around in the privacy of home.

The question is: How can I go about it coming up with design that’s open, bright and well-ventilated?” he added.

“First, the land itself isn’t oriented in a direction that can avoid getting direct sunlight or minimize solar heat gain. Besides, it’s a modest home. There isn’t much room for the long roof overhangs needed to protect it from the elements.

“So I solve the problem by putting a courtyard at the center of the home plan to make the interior light, airy and very comfortable.”

The unroofed area between the buildings becomes a small courtyard garden. At the further end, the architect puts in a long seat for people to relax under the shade.
The unroofed area between the buildings becomes a small courtyard garden. At the further end, the architect puts in a long seat for people to relax under the shade.
An empty space between buildings looks stunning from the architectural perspective.
An empty space between buildings looks stunning from the architectural perspective.

That said, Woranol chose box-shaped design featuring twin rectangular buildings that run parallel to each other with a courtyard in between.

The little oasis that’s open to the sky contains a small garden with a wood deck made for sitting and catching some fresh air. It serves as engine that drives natural air circulation all day. This creates a comfortable atmosphere in the entrance hall.

As for the A/C, who needs it anyway?

Modern Home
While lattice screens go to work protecting the home from the outside world, large opening glass walls connect the interior room to a lush courtyard garden thrown in between buildings. Diffused light and winds passing through the permeable shell keep the entrance hall cool all day without the A/C. No wonder it’s the family’s favorite hangout.

The forward part of this modern home has a carport that’s separated from the street by wrought iron fencing. The black on the fence contrasts with the silver on aluminum latticework protecting the building.

From the outside looking in, it’s clear that privacy protection is high on the list of priorities. It’s achievable without sacrificing the desire to live in close touch with nature.

Modern Home
Adjacent to the sofa set, the dining room is well lit and made comfortable by fresh air blowing in from the nearby courtyard garden.
The raised passageway around the courtyard is built of old wood worn by long exposure to the weather. Concrete steps provide easy access to the garden floor. It’s a place to sit with your legs hanging down, enjoy a patch of greenery, and shoot the breeze on a lazy afternoon.
The raised passageway around the courtyard is built of old wood worn by long exposure to the weather. Concrete steps provide easy access to the garden floor. It’s a place to sit with your legs hanging down, enjoy a patch of greenery, and shoot the breeze on a lazy afternoon.

Evergreen Korean banyan trees (Ficus annulata) lining the fence and the house exterior reduce the harshness of concrete construction and make the home appear more environmentally friendly.

The modern home with 450 square meters of usable space boasts a bright and airy interior, thanks to open floor plans that emphasize interconnectedness throughout.

Modern glass room dividers promote visibility and warm social interactions within the family. Steel construction saves time and makes the interior living space appear spacious and lightweight.

In the end it’s all about feeling good and living better.

An Indian cork tree (Millingtonia hortensis), the courtyard’s main attraction, develops a healthy crown near the studio and the bedroom on the upper floor.
An Indian cork tree (Millingtonia hortensis), the courtyard’s main attraction, develops a healthy crown near the studio and the bedroom on the upper floor.
While they allow natural light and fresh air to pass into the courtyard, metal lattice panels also double as privacy screens and safety precautions against intruders.
While they allow natural light and fresh air to pass into the courtyard, metal lattice panels also double as privacy screens and safety precautions against intruders.

Woranol further explained, “I made a walkway connecting to the courtyard that has become our sitting room.”

“Using my stock of lumber and wood recycled from the old house, I mixed teak with Makha wood (Afzelia xylocarpa), and gave it a fresh layer of paint.

“It was a mix-match since the boards came in different sizes, but nothing serious. Now mom and her sister seem really pleased that it’s a nice spot to sit and catch the cool breezes.”

Modern Home
The room upstairs can be used for work or pleasure. Open the door to see what happens below, and take in the view of the lush courtyard garden. Some fresh air really will do you good. After all, it’s about bringing nature into the home.

“For security purposes, iron latticework is preferred over solid walls. To keep the sun out, the perforate shell is lined with trees. There is an Indian cork tree (Millingtonia hortensis) that has grown tall to shade the interior and give sweet-smelling white flower,” added Woranol.

“We also put in a Common Tembusa tree (Fagraea fragrans) which grows slowly, and a Brazilian rosewood (Jacaranda obtusifolia) which is loved for its beautiful purple flowers.

“The courtyard floor is covered by a container garden intended to make cleaning easy after seasonal heavy rains. It’s OK to get wet sometimes, but it’s better than being enclosed by solid walls.”

Modern Home
Rustling leaves in the Indian cork tree make a sound that has a relaxing effect, especially for the home office and the bedroom located across the yard.

His choice of furniture speaks to the minimalist style of interior design. The idea of less-is-more translates into an interior living space that’s open, easy on the eye, and conducive to natural ventilation.

It’s easy to get why everyone likes to hang out together in the hallway downstairs that connects to the lush courtyard garden. The natural environment helps them feel relaxed all day every day in this modern home.


Owner/Architect: Woranol Sattayavinij


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Surrounded by Warmth and Happiness
Surrounded by Warmth and Happiness

ReGEN House: Modern Home, Thai Concept, Great for Family Members of All Ages

ReGEN House: Modern Home, Thai Concept, Great for Family Members of All Ages

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

/ Story: foryeah! / English version: Peter Montalbano /

/ Photographs: Chalermwat Wongchompoo /

ReGEN House,” Pankwan Hudthagosol’s home, was designed as a modern residence for a multigenerational family. Built on the same property as his father’s house, its concept echoes his father’s belief that the gift of warmth and closeness can show us how to think and live, and both welcomes and provides a foundation in life for young Mena, the newest family member. It began with a great design from EKAR Architects.

Modern Home ReGEN House Ekar Architects
The four-storey building on about ¼ acre of land has an interior space of 1600 meters. Its L-shaped layout opens on a green courtyard facing the forest-like garden at “Grandpa’s” house, connecting views for the people of three generations.

Modern Home ReGEN House Ekar Architects

Modern Home ReGEN House Ekar Architects

Modern Home ReGEN House Ekar Architects

The first floor holds a carport, maid’s bedroom, and rooms for swimming pool equipment and other services.

The heart of the house is the second storey, where a wide balcony/deck taking up a full half of the floor space is used for family recreational activities.

This floor is designed to give the sense of being at ground level, as it reaches out to a “green roof” planted with ground cover seemingly floating atop a gazebo rising from the garden below, and with a swimming pool right there giving the feeling of an old-time streamside home.

Modern Home ReGEN House Ekar Architects

Modern Home ReGEN House Ekar Architects

Modern Home ReGEN House Ekar Architects

Modern Home ReGEN House Ekar Architects

The third floor includes a bedroom and workroom with large glass windows offering a panoramic view of Grandpa’s house and the big garden. The fourth floor is all about young Mena and her bright future.

The 4-storey height of the building gave the designers the opportunity to show differing siding materials on each floor, which they did using synthetic wood, stone, tile with stone designs, and glass.

Modern Home ReGEN House Ekar Architects

Modern Home ReGEN House Ekar Architects

Modern Home ReGEN House Ekar Architects

Modern Home ReGEN House Ekar Architects

If we look from the outside at the way the floors overlap, we get the impression of being a moderately sized house set inside a large one. Each floor has a self-contained design similar to a penthouse, including bedroom, bathroom, living room, and kitchen of its own, so the whole house is a bit like a four-storey apartment building.

To give a sense of spaciousness, doors and windows were put in only where necessary, but they can be conveniently opened and shut to give privacy.

Modern Home ReGEN House Ekar Architects

Modern Home ReGEN House Ekar Architects

This house shows how modern design can be used to catch the spirit of the traditional Thai family residence of earlier days where many generations lived together, as modern architecture directly inserted into an urban environment manages to beautifully preserve a truly Thai way of life.


Owner: Pankwan Hudthagosol

Architect: EKAR

Interior Architect: Define Studio

Landscape Architect: Grounds play Studio

Structural Engineer: Sommuek Apiraksa


Visit the original Thai version.

REGEN HOUSE บ้านดีไซน์โมเดิร์น แต่แนวคิดไทย อยู่ได้ทุกวัยในครอบครัว


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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 (www.boondesign.co.th)


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MODERN STYLE IN A NEWLY RENOVATED HOUSE
BRICK HOUSE FOR A TROPICAL CLIMATE
Minimal-style Boxlike House

Minimal-style Boxlike House

Box-shaped, minimalist, skillfully utilitarian, the interior is open and spacious:  everywhere is visible from everywhere else.

/// Thailand ///
Story: Patsiri Chotpongsun /// Photography: Tanakitt Khum-on /// Design: Mr.Somphon Sangkerd

This very cool-looking cubic house design really stands out in this more than thirty-year-old subdivision. Quiet, simple lines, authentic surfaces. Minimal decoration, just the few furniture pieces necessary.

“Since Mom is in the house more than anyone else, things are designed mainly for her walking around, in and out of the kitchen, dining room, and bedroom – which is on the ground floor for her convenience. Maintenance is easy: no cracks and crevices, simpler for an older person to work with,” Suphot Saengkeut, her youngest son, tells us.

To make the concept a reality, the Saengkeut family demolished and completely did away with the old house to build something entirely new on the 300-square-meter property. They made the kitchen spacious and, Thai-style, open to natural light and air flow, with primarily tile surfaces. In the front are storage cabinets with easy-to-clean surfaces of frosted glass, and vertically set boxes for electrical and water systems, accessible from the outside for maintenance and repair.

“Here, form follows function: whatever use the space lends itself to, that’s how it’s used,” says Somphon, the middle son. The architect adds, “Starting from the car park area out front and lining up the ground floor rooms with the upstairs bedrooms, the necessary simplicity of the form became obvious, with no functional need to change. The rectangular shape opens out towards the entrance, for people to better enjoy the natural world outside.”

The house faces east, with a latticework metal fence and a carport, keeping the sun from reaching into the indoor living space. The kitchen is separated off by an opaque wall. The dining room opens out with a glass wall set in a metal lattice frame, and outside is a fence of synthetic wood that blocks the sun and adds privacy. To the north is an open courtyard in the center of the house with tree jasmine, a place to relax or exercise, and a spiral stair which leads up to the bedroom of Somphop, the oldest son, without going back into the house.

Somphon installed solar slab panels with a gap between them and the concrete roof for good ventilation, also helped by air channels with metal caps  releasing hot air from within. The panels shade the roof, which also has foam heat insulation beneath it.

Suphot leaves us with some final thoughts: “The house is really well set up for individual privacy. The living room is used the least, but a lot of mornings, evenings, and holidays we hang out together in the dining room. And if I’m upstairs working, there’s an open wall, and I can keep an eye on Mom downstairs. It’s a good feeling to know she’s safe, and we’re right there for her.”

 

 

 

A Rectangular Brick Home For a Tropical Climate

A Rectangular Brick Home For a Tropical Climate

/ Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam /

/ Story: Wuthikorn Suthiapa / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Tanakitt Khum-on /

This rectangular brick home in Ho Chi Minh City is designed for a “hot and humid” climate. It’s open to natural light with cool air currents constantly streaming in and out through the brick walls. The homeowners Mr. Tung Do and Mrs. Lien Dinh are newlyweds who wanted a small house with straightforward design for pleasant living. They have found the home of their dreams.

Brick doesn’t retain heat, but insulates against it, and its porosity helps retain early morning moisture which evaporates to cool at midday.
Work corner next to the food preparation section is screened off for privacy.

The owner had seen Tropical Space’s “Termitary House,” which won, among others, a 2016 Brick Award, and admired its form and design so much that – even with their limited budget – they engaged the Company to design and build their own home.

Ms. Tran Thi Ngu Ngon and Mr. Nguyen Hai Long of Tropical Space said:

“We want to build living spaces that connect people with nature, natural spaces that are easy to understand. The beauty of nature can reach deep into a person’s spirit to improve life in ways they would not have imagined before.”

Mr. Nguyen tells us he grew up in a house of brick and never forgot his childhood vision of sunbeams flowing through open spaces between bricks to throw patterns of light and shadow on the light dust in the air, and how beautiful it was.

Little phenomena such as this connect people with their surroundings, and support the choice of brick as a building material.

The brick wall both gives privacy and provides channels for air and light to pass through.

Stair frame of rebar saves space and adds structural definition.

Most of Tropical Space’s design work makes use of brick, partly because the form has a certain beauty, but deeper than that, brick is an inherently Vietnamese material, indigenous to the area.

The designer pays attention to its true characteristics and searches out new ways of using and arranging it, creating channels for wind and light and taking advantage of its moisture-retaining quality.

Seen from outside, the home is a rectangular block that itself resembles one humongous brick. It faces north because of sun, wind, and rain directions, and without being too hot it gets good light all day long.

The ground floor living room features a wall of bricks alternating with open spaces, lighting and cooling at the same time during the day.

Outside, a little distance from the house to the east and west are walls that keep sunlight from directly hitting it, instead reflecting light through the perforated brick wall and into every inside area.

These outside walls also create channels that guide the wind in and out. Trees are planted there, too, which cool the house with their shade.

The house may look a bit severe, but in this tropical climate its architecture aligns beautifully with nature to provide an amazingly comfortable residence built on a moderate budget.

Openings above and on the sides for natural light to enter during the day.

 


Architect: Tropical Space by Ms.Tran Thi Ngu Ngon and Mr.Nguyen Hai Long


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