Ensconced in a coconut grove by the sea, Baan Somjai is both a vacation destination and private residence located on beautiful Pha-ngan Island. Time goes by slowly on this part of the island, so slow that it feels like time is standing still.
The holiday destination is the brainchild of Nattawut Piriyaprakob of NPDA, who is the designer and son of property owners Banjob and Somjai Piriyaprakob. The land is a heritage from Nattawut’s grandmother. Nattawut traveled back and forth to the property often. Back in the days it was nothing but coconut trees.
Nowadays travel to Pha-Ngan has become more convenient. It’s reason enough for Nattawut and family to put in a home here. As he puts it: “Mom and Dad used to work in other provinces. They decided to return to Pha-ngan after retirement and started out here with a homestay called Coconut and Noom Resort.”
The homestay had welcomed all kinds of tourists from backpackers in the Full Moon Party to European families, which inspired Banjob and Somjai to build a permanent home here. They enjoyed getting to know new people every day.
Nattawut designed the buildings based on his memories and knowledge of indigenous materials. “It’s the combination of local materials and local builder expertise that culminates in this house design. Bamboo paneling is easy to find. Walls are crafted of red brick and flooring is made of polished concrete finishes.”
The designer intentionally added vivid colors into the work “As you can see, I chose bold colors for the building, such as, bright exterior walls. Shadow cast from coconut trees make the landscape even more interesting.”
Benefiting from the sea breeze, every room is well ventilated. Opaque walls on the west shield the building from the afternoon sun, while the pond helps disperse the heat. Altogether, the design cools the house down even when the weather is hot.
With generous hospitality and good design, Baan Somjai seaside Resort is not only a home to the Piriyaprakob family, but also a dream destination for travelers from across the globe.
A designer couple built their dream home in Vietnam countryside.
/// Vietnam ///
Architect and Interior Design: My an Pham Thi and Michael Charruault /// Story : Ajchara Jeenkram /// Photos : Nantiya Busabong, Damrong Leewairoj
My An Pham Thi, a vietnamese interior designer together with Michael Charrualt, her French husband, who is also a 3D graphic designer built their dream home office utilizing natural materials and distinctive techniques.
The design emphasizes greatly on sustainability to minimize the impact on the environment. The couple mixed local materials and clever designing strategy to create an elegant yet eclectic appearance to the house.
The fence was constructed of raw concrete and bamboo detailing. The wooden gate gives an Asian chic atmosphere while protecting the house from the outside. The exterior walls features rough plaster finish, which adds an interesting look to it. Hollow bricks filled in between intervals, forming a good natural ventilation system. The bricks along with palm leaf roofing adds an indigenous flair to this warm and cozy house.
The inspiration behind this design was their lifestyles, the couple love to live lives both indoor and outdoor. The house was then designed to serve the purpose. On the ground floor, sits a connecting living space with chinoiserie furniture and a spacious dining room with a garden view. The second floor works as a home office with a snug bedroom. The master bedroom lies on the third floor where decoration was set to a minimal tone.
The couple weren’t in a hurry. So, the house was gradually built through slow-pacing experiments with different natural materials. When facing with an obstacle or a problem, the took turn to resolve it one by one. As a result, the eco-friendly dream home was finally built with love and care.
The place called “Desa House” belongs to 49-year-old artist Leon Leong. Located in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur, the building clearly stands out from the rest in a neighborhood characterized by ubiquitous town-homes.
/// Malaysia ///
Architect: WHBC Architects, by Wen Hsia /// Story : Panchat Changchan /// Photos : Rithirong Chanthongsuk
The most eye-catching feature is the lush sky garden that extends outward from the second floor. The structure also doubles as carport roof. Green foliage adorns the front façade and functions as a privacy curtain. The striking feature reminds us that we have reached our destination.
The bedroom and the studio are lit by natural light through sliding glass that slides open to access the greenery. The same applies to the rear portion of the house, which opens to a backyard. In the front and back, green foliage forms privacy curtains that effectively set the interior spaces apart from the hustle and bustle of city life.
The home’s aesthetic is achieved by putting in an add-on and other details to the existing structure. Like other townhomes in the neighborhood, there is a central court that the occupants use for relaxation. But architect Wen Hsia of the WHBC Architects group has a better idea. She transforms this centerpiece into something different. What used to be a seating area now becomes a lush landscape, where tall trees cast shadows on surrounding walls and much of the first floor. It brings in the outdoor, and the atmosphere comes alive every time leaves blow in the wind. All day the light and sound show gives the artist homeowner the inspirations that he needs.
Leon needs plenty of light to create works of art, and he gets it all in the home studio. To bring in natural light, the architect has tiled roofing replaced by lattice skylight, creating beautiful special effects. Concrete lattice casts striking shadow patterns everywhere. It is cheaper, longer lasting, and easier to maintain than that made of wood. As night falls, the studio is aglow by electric light. Interestingly the studio light alone is enough to illuminate the entire home.
Finally, the result of all solutions is very contented. The architect can bring the new life to the old building and change it to characteristic artist house.
With bamboo as its main material, the architect has integrated the modern tropical design to the nature.
/// Malaysia ///
Architect: Design Unit Sdn Bhd /// Story: Ekkarach Laksanasamlich /// Photo: Soopakorn Srisakul
The house is located in Selangor state, Malaysia. The design was responsible by John G N Bulcock of Design Unit. 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, the functions. And I like it the way it is.”
Fung Kai Jin, the homeowner gave Bulcock freedom to design. The only request was to feature bamboo into the work, although the material has some flaws of its own. “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 worths the effort. After all, you get to spend time in the house that you love every day.”
Bullock 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.”
The three-storey house was set on a slope. So, Bullock placed a carport and a main entrance on the second floor for a practical use. The floor consists of a dining room, a kitchen, a TV room and a wide balcony overlooking a swimming pool. The lower floor includes a home office, a living room, a storage room and a maid’s quarter. Private area is reserved on the third floor.
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 sunshine in.
There are also gaps between the main roof and nearby rooms to promote a good ventilation system. Fresh air circulates throughout the day through passageway and gaps in bamboo lattice. Courtesy to the tropical weather, there is no need for an air-conditioning machine.
“As it rains, a fine spray of water descends upon bamboo lattice. When the owner chose this kind of material, he accepts that wet weather is normal. 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,” Bullock said
All things considered, this modern tropical house is a good example of what living close to nature should look like.
This property belongs to Assoc.Prof.Tonkao Panin Ph.D, a teacher at Faculty of Architecture, Silpakorn University. She revived an old abandoned building into an airy, well-ventilated house.
Flanked by a canal, the long-term problem arises. Floods tend to happen often, this was the main reason to tear the old thing down to start anew.
“We have full-grown trees in the land, which we intended to keep. So, the architects designed the building around them. Because of some limitations, traces from the old connecting building is still remain. The space where tall trees is standing now was made into an atrium.”
“I want a home that is open and airy – a house that breathes. The new design calls for wide corridors and ample spaces underneath the house. The low land is now filled up to street level to create a semi-outdoor multi-purpose area.”
Tonkao chose steel for the main structure. Because they reduced construction periods and enable a flexible construction schedule.
The two-story, L-shaped home splits into two wings located on either side of the warm and lively center court. The canopy of tall trees keeps the entire living spaces cool and comfortable all day long. Exterior walls are made of hollow bricks to block the sun while leaving a space for the wind to flow in. Long overhangs protect the house from heat waves, while stilt floor improves ventilation.
“We sleep soundly in a compact bedroom. A wide corridor helps when we walk pass one another. Semi-outdoor walkways keep us informed of current weather conditions and we don’t need any air-conditioning machine.” Tonkao mentioned her home with content.
Courtesy of the energy efficient home, residents are able co-live happily with the nature.
“Sekeping Tenggiri” searching on the Internet, you can see the amazing place. It is where Malaysians love to shoot their pre-wedding photographs. A part of it is remade into a guesthouse for those to stay. The house belongs to Ng Sek San, founder of the landscaping and architecture firm Seksan Design.
Located in Jalan Tenggiri district of Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur, the part of the small plot of land. Nonetheless, the owner effectively incorporates plenty of natural features in this architecture. The owner tells us that remake from what used to be two adjacent houses. He obviously made a clean sweep. Ng is also an art collector. That explains why one side of it is devoted to enviable art collections, which are public open. No admission charge.
The two-story home has a full array of functional areas, from the sitting room, dining room and kitchen to a swimming pool and seven bedrooms. The owner is a landscape architect. Working on this house, he starts small from a humble garden and gradually makes inroads into bigger projects on the interiors. To him a garden is a room and his exterior design spaces more look like an extension of the interiors too.
A good example of Modern Tropical style, the house is designed to reduce heat and prevent problems due to moisture. As long overhangs and awnings, which protect against scorching sunlight. Exposed roof sections and plain floors make a simple seeing. The materials used are quite commonplace, such as concrete masonry, bricks, wood, and steel. The main structure is steel-reinforced concrete. Other details allow the nature to participate. To a comfy living space. Upstairs bedrooms are mode cool by air circulation resulting from raising the floorboard 40 centimeters from concrete floors. Opaque walls are out, while glass Louvre windows are in, resulting in light and airy interiors. Parts of the roof are made of transparent materials to allow for more sunlight, especially over the swimming pool.
This concrete house has plenty of passageways that promote air circulation. For example the air passages between wooden floorboards, along the corridors and exterior walls. They also make the house appear uncluttered and incredibly relaxed.
What kind of design suits hot and humid weather? Many concrete houses are the ones to answer this region’s common question.
/// Thailand / Vietnam / Japan ///
The raw concrete home-office house has truly interpreted the meaning of ‘everyone’s home’. With its unique design, each family member has also taken part in adapting their lifestyle to the home design while intervening the multi-purpose space for everyone.
Design-Decorate: Peradech and Kittitaj Norasethakorn
It’s vital to build your weekend home, harmonizing with nature. Although the house style is modern, but you can let all materials show the raw texture without any decoration. Blending with the natural environment.
Now, the new concrete house space design is developed from the Thai-traditional house planning which plants the tree in the center court of a house and encircles with porch and four corners. This design will adapt to the comfortable concrete home style along with every detail of Thai house that was given the new perception of contemporary style.
Design: Warunyu Mokarapirom and Santhad Srisang
This compact concrete house makes us feel the essence of Thai house, but it is free from any types of roof. The only thing they need from building this house is to live in this humid climate atmosphere without using air-conditions or turning the lights on.
Now, the architect can create the new modern loft concrete house by adapting traditional house’s platform in both upstairs and downstairs. The downstairs can connect with the living room when opening the sliding glass doors that can help extend another useful space, while the upstairs also use the window with the Thai-style awning.
Design: Vorapong Teerakawongsakul, M.O.L. studio Co.,Ltd.
A box concrete house with simple and modern style can harmoniously contain every detail of Japanese way. The architect invented new formula of white concrete to enhance its unique minimal style.
Design: Waro Kishi + K.ASSOCIATES/Architects
The tiny concrete house called ‘Mancave’ separates from the big house. The owner intends to have all the facilities for as same as the big one to serve his works and hobbies.
Design: Kamron Suthi, Eco Architect Co.,Ltd.
The white concrete house in box-shape, Sukhumvit area has given the simple and stunning look among many ordinary houses. With its smart concept, this house can prove the modern style that can respond to our needs and friendly to all of everyone.
Design: Tidtang Studio
Concrete block house, the modern design for the owner’s parents. They can do a lot of activities with their children in this cozy space. Design the wide green open space in the center of a house for every family’s member usages.
Design: Dang Huy Cuong, i.House Architecture and Construction
The couple incorporated traditional Thai wisdom with the best in modern design to create this modern Thai delightful home. The 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.
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, the 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.
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.
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.
Breathing wall design
This Thai style home 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
The homeowner, Suthiphong Pongpawasuit said I was kind of speechless for a bit when I heard him express his feelings about the house. It could be that I was expecting the most beautiful replies like always. No offense intended. It was the most honest and unpretentious of feelings.
“I could feel a warm and friendly atmosphere, and appreciate the meaning of “home” as he defined it. I have come to one that reflected the true personality of its owners.” The two houses are surrounded by pleasant grounds made the two brothers happy in their own way. The two buildings brought out differences in their lifestyles and their preferences.
The first building belongs to Suthiphong. It is concrete chic based on a straightforward design. The walls are fabricated of unornamented concrete finishes and an interesting mix of textures and materials. Floating systems of electrical conduits conjure up images of an urban industrial loft apartment. The interior features gorgeous living spaces. During the day natural light shines through large overhead windows with wrought iron detailing, creating an amazing shadow play. There is a sense of visual continuity that connects seamlessly with the exterior as soon as the large door slides open. On the outside, peaceful lush landscaping under a tree canopy can be seen in full view. On the inside, different furniture styles add a hint of interest in a subtle way.
Obviously, the house is designed for the local climate. Oftentimes we complain of too much sun, winds, and rain. But since we call this country home, why not make the most of the extreme weather conditions? They are the natural appeal of this Region. That is why we see all natural elements being incorporated into the design scheme. Here, the sun, the winds, and rain are all taken into account in framing the house within a beautiful botanical border. That makes living here a life fulfilling experience.
The second building belongs to Suthiphong’s brother, Kittiwat Pongpawasuit. Unlike the first house, it comes in a mix of white, cream, and gray tones, which together give it to a strikingly handsome appearance. The design is light and airy and emphasizes a warm and peaceful atmosphere. Brick walls are painted white to minimize any alteration of natural light and color reflecting on the surfaces. The home, especially its living spaces, is all about enhancing a seamless indoor-outdoor relationship. Crisp, clean landscaping can be seen all the way to the swimming pool, thanks to large single-paned glass doors that slide open and neatly disappear into the walls. The living room gets nice cool breezes from the swimming pool and is set facing north to avoid the harshest of the afternoon sun.
The two designs may contrast in personality, but architect Kraipol Jayanetra of Alkhemist Architects found a relationship between them by opting for like materials, textures, and mutual décor ideas. By this was meant the use of naked, unornamented concrete finishes, industrial-style electrical conduits, wood furniture, and a plenty of accent pieces.
“I started out with something small but interesting, and worked my way up until I arrived at a complete unit,” said Kraipol.
That being said, every part the buildings, be it vertical or horizontal spaces performs the functions it is intended. Overall, a great mix of patterns and textures make the two houses appear in perfect harmony with each other. The difference is in the details.
This has been a story of two youthful homes that coexist to complement each other. One is overflowing with life. The other is tranquil and handsome it its own way. They enhance and improve each other’s curb appeal, and set the stage for a simple fulfilling lifestyle.