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Container Home amid an Enchanted Forest Garden

Container Home amid an Enchanted Forest Garden

BANGKOK / Who would have thought, even in the vibrant cosmopolitan neighborhood of Thonglor, that a shipping container home would have pride of place beautifully ensconced in the lush greenery of a midtown forest garden? The area bustled with activity and dominated by highrise condominiums is home to a health-giving tropical oasis. Here, large metal boxes once used for the transportation of goods transform into a charming ensemble and family life center capable of fulfilling several functions.

Container Home Amid an Enchanted Forest Garden

The rustic building in the garden originated as an add-on to the family’s existing home located a stone’s throw away. It was meant to be used for a limited period of time and hence a shady spot with trees thriving in the microclimate of the landscape. Later on, it was transformed into a new home for the family’s daughter engaged to be married at the time. That was when shipping containers were put in as a garden pavilion in the front yard, an art studio, and other components of the main building at the rear. The front pavilion has become the hub of family life when Mom and Dad drop in for a visit.

Container Home Amid an Enchanted Forest GardenContainer Home Amid an Enchanted Forest GardenContainer Home Amid an Enchanted Forest Garden

The container that serves as front yard pavilion is elevated at a distance above the ground. It’s connected to other functional spaces via a system of passages along the side of the house. The house itself is a steel frame building. The exterior wall on the second floor is made of corrugated sheet metal that blends with the exoskeletal shipping container framework. Crafted of teakwood, the house floor offers a pleasing visual combination that harmonizes with the lush foliage of the landscape. For durability, the balcony and outdoor passages are raised on a framework of steel. They are topped with steel reinforced concrete, while epoxy coatings enhance the beauty of the entire surface.

Container Home Amid an Enchanted Forest GardenContainer Home Amid an Enchanted Forest Garden

Open concept interior design comes in handy for a rectangular house plan. The sitting room at the front easily connects to a dining area and a kitchen that’s situated at the farthest end. The shaft in which a staircase is built allows plenty of natural daylight to illuminate the center of the home while serving as engine driving air circulation.

Container Home Amid an Enchanted Forest GardenContainer Home Amid an Enchanted Forest GardenContainer Home Amid an Enchanted Forest Garden

Into the open air, trees that had been planted some time ago were developing well. With years of landscaping experience, the architectural firm Walllasia was able to create a home and art studio that merged seamlessly with the surroundings. It’s now an ecosystem where everything is interconnected, from the sitting room up front to the balcony on the second floor, and beyond. The result is a gorgeous residence embraced by nature, one that evokes pleasant images of a home immersed among rosewood trees.

Container Home Amid an Enchanted Forest GardenContainer Home Amid an Enchanted Forest Garden Container Home Amid an Enchanted Forest Garden

To prepare the building site, low land was filled to bring it to road level while things that had aesthetic value remained intact. They included climbing plants that grew up arbors and trellises along the fence. Now they offer protection from the mid-afternoon sun and keep the backyard cool. Some of them even thrive on the roof and in the overhanging trees. Where necessary, steel building frames are made strong to provide nearby trees with a firm foundation. For a lightweight look, some outdoor rooms are canopied by high-tension canvas that blends with healthy green foliage.

Container Home Amid an Enchanted Forest GardenContainer Home Amid an Enchanted Forest Garden Container Home Amid an Enchanted Forest Garden

What’s worth mentioning is that the homeowners are avid pet lovers. Hence, the dwelling place made in a plain and simple fashion is aptly called “Mac and Ham House”, which refers to the two dogs who also live here. Unmistakably, the atmosphere is warm and welcoming. It’s happiness that comes from a bond of love and understanding. Currently, plans are afoot to open an in-house art gallery devoted to painted pictures of the beloved man’s best friends.

Container Home Amid an Enchanted Forest Garden
From left: Alaksh, Suriporn and their daughter Jirapa.

Text: Samutcha Viraporn
Photo: Sitthisak Namkham
Owner: Jirapa Phornprapha
Architectural / Interior Design: Suriya Umpansiriratana / Walllasia Ltd.
Landscape Design: Suriya Umpansiriratana, Prawit Poolkumlung / Walllasia Ltd.

Container House with a Tropical Garden View

Container House with a Tropical Garden View

Shipping containers are easy to build and build onto. The owner of this home located in the Canggu area on the Indonesian island of Bali began trying out this concept with the intention of building a temporary home and ended with a permanent family residence.

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Samutcha Viraporn /// Photography: Sitthisak Namkham 

 

Container House with a Tropical Garden View

Studio Tana’s designer architect Andika Japa Wibisana says the homeowner wanted to build a house and small office here, but the owner of the land wouldn’t sell, so he decided to build a container house in case he would have to move and build elsewhere. The designer envisioned possibilities, and came up with a house that answered the needs of all family members.

The design places smaller boxes inside a large box, the larger one a steel and glass frame, enabling creation of double walls that reduce sunlight and outside heat. The interior is composed of eighteen shipping containers, some opened up for a spacious, L-shaped central living area with a high ceiling.

“A lot of family members from Jakarta sometimes come to visit, so the living room opens out to connect with the garden, where some vegetable plots are set aside for children’s use,” said Andika.

The property is lower than the road in front, making the house about a half-storey lower than street level, with the garden behind gradually sloping further down. Looking up from the garden, the house appears to be set on a hill of fresh green grass. This beautiful atmosphere is enhanced by the gurgling of a nearby small stream.

The building’s left section holds an office and stairway, with that spacious open-plan living room to the right and service areas behind. Above, the shipping container near the garden projects outward for a better view of the green space: here is the master bedroom. Another section divides containers into kitchen and dining room. Interior décor here loses the industrial look: ceiling and walls are surfaced white, with real wood taking away the rawness of the steel.

The kitchen/pantry in a container on the second storey, with a structural dividing post in the middle.
The kitchen/pantry in a container on the second storey, with a structural dividing post in the middle.

Plants grow by the glass wall  as protection against heat. On the other wing the second floor holds two more bedrooms, one container used for one room. The entire second storey has a sharply sloping steel roof that forms an eave. Beneath is a balcony with a long walkway connecting to the building’s outer porch, all of exmet (expanded metal grating) for an attractive play of light and shadow below.

Even though some steel houses have a harsh look, this one is designed in response to a tropical lifestyle, with industrial materials combined in a way that gives an oriental look to this big 18-container home, creating convenience and comfort and meshing perfectly with the beautiful garden.

The front door divides the house left and right. Right is the office section, blocked off by a ridged container wall.
The front door divides the house left and right. Right is the office section, blocked off by a ridged container wall.
Large, spacious living room within a steel and glass frame that lets the sun in only in the morning. The tall ceiling helps reduce the heat. Evenings here are great for socializing.
Large, spacious living room within a steel and glass frame that lets the sun in only in the morning. The tall ceiling helps reduce the heat. Evenings here are great for socializing.
Another living room wall. On the ground floor is a washing area and bathroom. Clearly visible above is an arrangement of containers within the large steel frame.
Another living room wall. On the ground floor is a washing area and bathroom. Clearly visible above is an arrangement of containers within the large steel frame.
Container House with a Tropical Garden View
Spacious interior open area. Upstairs is a kitchen/pantry, dining area, and living space. Interior décor is in earth tones.
In the bedroom where the designer’s intent is to reduce the harshness of the steel with woodwork the walls and ceiling are white, as in an ordinary house. Utility systems are hidden in the pipe-like ceiling divider: the entire ceiling is not lowered, because of the height limitation of shipping containers.
In the bedroom where the designer’s intent is to reduce the harshness of the steel with woodwork the walls and ceiling are white, as in an ordinary house. Utility systems are hidden in the pipe-like ceiling divider: the entire ceiling is not lowered, because of the height limitation of shipping containers.
The kitchen/pantry in a container on the second storey, with a structural dividing post in the middle.
The kitchen/pantry in a container on the second storey, with a structural dividing post in the middle.
Container House for a Family Full of Different Characters

Container House for a Family Full of Different Characters

Starting with the idea of building a temporary residence from commercial containers, Charnwit Ananwattanakul of Wish Architect Design Studio had to analyze the different characters of the family members who would live there. In the end, this temporary project became a permanent house made from 15 containers.

/// THAILAND ///
Story: Samutcha Viraporn /// Photography: Sitthisak Namkham /// Design: Charnwit Ananwattanakul of Wish Architect Design Studio /// Owner: Non and Chutiporn Som Chobkhai

Container House

The house has 2 wings, one used for the living area. The master bedroom is on the second floor. An open wood-floored multipurpose space runs longitudinally through the house as a sort of inner courtyard, enabling family interaction and serving as a channel for heat release and air circulation from front to back. Similar decks in front and back follow the width of the house and set it back a distance to reduce heat entering the container elements of the house. Trees planted in front add another level of protection from the western sun.

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Blocking partitions behind the house create a wind channel to reduce any late-morning heat from eastwards. To minimize heat and humidity, bathrooms are placed on the south side, some containing plants suggestive of old-time country houses where bathing was done outside, pouring from water jars. Another important feature is the sprayed-in roof insulation.

Container House Container House

The living room is done in a spacious “open plan” style, connecting it to the large food preparation area/pantry with facilities such as a coffee brewer, an island with a gas range, and storage shelves for kitchenware with a large protective screen to keep the space more orderly. The second-floor verandah has a gap cut where netting is placed for people to sit, lie back, and chill; this also helps release heat and brings natural light into the central area, as well as giving it depth.

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To avoid a busy look, white was chosen as the primary color for interior décor. Because of the limitations of working utility systems, a lot of them necessarily show inside the house. Some metal posts had to be added to container walls and ceilings to accommodate electrical systems without further lowering the already rather low container ceilings. A steel framework was constructed to meet the proportions of container walls, as well. The wood of the inner “courtyard” and decks gives a warm feeling.

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In front of the house that feeling is a little diminished, as real stone is used in the staircase area to give the atmosphere of a modern-design garden, playing off the boxlike shape of the container house. The fence also features a play of vertical and horizontal lines, using the language of design to simultaneously create a look of transparency and a sense of privacy.

Each area is designed to suit the behavior of the family members living there, and this links the family and strengthens relationships all the more.

 

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