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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 (www.facebook.com/Jaibaan)

Building contractor: Banjerd Atelier

Woodwork artisan: Pongsakorn Yuennoi, aka Sala Kew


Visit the original Thai article…

“บ้านสวนอธิษฐาน” บ้านไม้พื้นถิ่นร่วมสมัย


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The Hiên House: A Wood and Concrete Home Full of Balcony and Terrace Ideas

The Hiên House: A Wood and Concrete Home Full of Balcony and Terrace Ideas

/ Da Nang, Vietnam /

/ Story: Kanamon Najaroen / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Quang Dam /

This Tropical style house is in Da Nang, a coastal city in central Vietnam famous for its gleaming sand beaches, Buddhist shrines and the Marble Mountains. The beautiful Han River runs through it. The home built of wood and concrete goes by the name of “The Hiên House” for its lively green façades, Hiên being Vietnamese for the semi-outdoor rooms along the outside of the building.

THE HIÊN HOUSE concrete home

The house’s external envelope is simple yet contemporary in style enhanced by verdant balconies and terraces symbolic of homes in the Tropics. Plus, there’s a unique Vietnamese flair to it. As the architects intended, it’s a layout that speaks volumes for a lifestyle that seeks reconnections with nature.

The concept is manifested in the way the ordinary balconies and terraces transform into the proverbial “breathing space” for nature to recover from disruptions. That said, it makes perfect sense to live more sustainably in this day and age.

THE HIÊN HOUSE concrete home


Wood and Concrete House

Situated away from a densely populated urban area, the wood and concrete house occupies the full extent of a long and narrow lot sandwiched between two roads. It’s home to three generations of a family highly skilled in traditional carpentry living in one household.

There are four stories of living spaces, excluding a rooftop deck. By design, the floor plans cater to the needs of different generations and hence vary in size and appearance from one level to the next. To celebrate the family’s distinguished career in carpentry, the architects made woodworking front-and-center concerns in house design and interior decoration.

During construction, the homeowners were also on hand to provide technical expertise at various stages in the process, especially where traditional Vietnamese woodworking skill was needed.

THE HIÊN HOUSE concrete home
The light and airy front entrance is visible from the driveway covered in stone pavers.

To help protect the environment, the design team at WINHOUSE Architecture, a design atelier headquartered in Da Nang, chose to use reclaimed wood instead of newly cut timber from the lumberyard. The recycled building materials used in this project included parts of the staircase, such as treads and risers taken from old homes that had been torn down previously.

Other parts were adapted from old decking, post sleeves, balusters and handrails as well as wooden fascia. They were made suitable for a new use or purpose. And, importantly, they were easy to transport and repair without using specialized tools.

Timber is durable even as it ages. It’s safe to handle and capable of withstanding heat and humidity in the air over a long period of time. Old and weathered wood has a natural appearance that’s beautiful and needs no preservative chemicals to prolong its lifecycle, which translates into big savings and convenience. Using reclaimed wood in combination with local knowledge and modern techniques add a new dimension to construction technology.

THE HIÊN HOUSE concrete home


Balconies and Terraces for Free Air Circulation

What sets the four-story house apart from the rest is its surprising room ideas and lively green balconies that fill up the entire front façade. They are integral to a design that brings natural light and fresh outdoor air into the home. At the same time, they help dissipate heat from the building keeping the interior cool during the daytime.

Elements of design common for Southeast Asian architecture, the roofed open-air platforms along the outside of the building, be it the balcony or the terrace, perform many useful functions. Among other things, they expand the living areas, protect against the elements, and provide space for sitting rooms and passages for walking along.

First Floor Plan / Courtesy of WINHOUSE Architecture
Second Floor Plan / Courtesy of WINHOUSE Architecture
Third Floor Plan / Courtesy of WINHOUSE Architecture
In cross section, a side elevation drawing shows space planning decorated with plants working in tandem with wall openings to admit natural light and fresh outdoor air into the home. / Courtesy of WINHOUSE Architecture
Isometric visuals show reclaimed building materials being adapted to suit new purposes on all four levels of the new home. The message is clear: save the Earth and cut costs. / Courtesy of WINHOUSE Architecture

As is often the case with most houses, the elements of design such as balconies and terraces are built on the outside of the house. But in this particular case, the architects think it wise to incorporate them in the interior as well, sort of like going in the reverse direction. First they put in an inner courtyard at the center of the ground floor plan.

Then, by disposing the rooms around the courtyard, the areas with a faint light, such as the sitting room and workspaces, suddenly become well-lit and well-ventilated. It’s a clever hack to bring the outdoors into the home. The result is a comfortable living space filled with natural light and fresh air that contributes to feelings of relaxation.

THE HIÊN HOUSE concrete home
The kitchen in the farthest room is well-lit and well-ventilated.
THE HIÊN HOUSE concrete home
Going in the reverse direction, the terrace that in most cases lies along the outside of the house is put inside overlooking a lively green inner courtyard.

THE HIÊN HOUSE concrete home

Taking as a whole, the traffic patterns and space design make the long and narrow house plan feel roomy inside. Walk in the front door and you come to a hallway that’s light and airy, thanks to a rooftop skylight illuminating the stairs connected to a foot bridge over the nearby inner courtyard. There is no need to turn on electric lights during the daytime, which translates into big savings.

THE HIÊN HOUSE concrete home
Illuminated by a rooftop skylight, the staircase and foot bridge spanning the void over the inner courtyard make traffic flow easy and convenient.

THE HIÊN HOUSE concrete home
A well-lit foot bridge crafted of reclaimed timber connects the major living spaces in the home.

Climb a flight of stairs to the second floor, and surprise! It’s divided into two separate parts, the front room and the back room linked by a foot bridge that spans the void above the inner courtyard. The same space planning applies to the third floor, except for one thing. The next staircase leading to the fourth floor is positioned further toward the back of the building. The front part holds a bedroom with a balcony decorated with lush greenery.

 

Cross over the foot bridge, and you come to the back room containing a workspace and sitting room. The fourth floor contains a quiet, more secluded reading room with a bright and breezy small garden for relaxation. It’s a comfortable living space and the light is more diffuse under the canopy of trees.

THE HIÊN HOUSE concrete home
Plants growing luxuriantly make the house façade green and lively.

THE HIÊN HOUSE concrete home

THE HIÊN HOUSE concrete home
Local builders skilled in traditional carpentry reinforce wood beams and pillars for increased load capacities.

In conclusion, the wood and concrete home called “The Hiên House” lives up to its name. All the elements of good judgement in design go to work turning it into an oasis of calm. Everything works out as it should, from a well-lit, well-aired inner courtyard to the plants, trees and small gardens thriving luxuriantly on the balconies and terraces. Perhaps, one word describes it all, salubrious!


Architects: WINHOUSE Architecture

Structural Engineers: Bim City


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Supawut Boonmahathanakorn, Jai Baan Studio: Striking a Balance between Human Needs and Nature Conservation through Thoughtful Environmental Design

Supawut Boonmahathanakorn, Jai Baan Studio: Striking a Balance between Human Needs and Nature Conservation through Thoughtful Environmental Design

/ Chiang Mai, Thailand /

/ Story: Story: Lily J. / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Courtesy of Jai Baan Studio /

For Supawut Boonmahathanakorn of Jai Baan Studio, it’s easy to get why humans crave the touch of nature in their lives. It shows in what they’ve been doing all along — from ecotourism that combines travel with conservation, to an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city that happens from time to time. Why not? Out in the country the atmosphere is salubrious and the natural landscape pristine. Priceless!

But from the opposite point of view, what’s generally regarded as good also has the potential to inadvertently do harm to nature.

Not to mention the uncontrolled urban growth that can lead inexorably to unwelcome change in such a way as to impair the values and normal function of a rural community.

That’s where the designer group Jai Baan Studio led by Supawut Boonmahathanakorn, comes into play. Interestingly, they are determined to pursue a goal in creating designs that strike the right balance between satisfying basic human needs and protecting nature from harm, thereby adding to its ability to replenish.

To them, it’s a quality achievable through well-thought-out planning, a conception of design that prioritizes wisdom, prudence and function over form that brings aesthetic pleasure.

room and Living Asean have the honor of presenting Supawut Boonmahathanakorn of Jai Baan Studio. It’s a group of architects, planners and thinkers specialized in design that expresses our common humanity and the need to reconnect with the natural environment.

Mr. Supawut will be one of our guest speakers at the annual room X Living Asean Design Talk 2023. The event will take place on Sunday August 6 at the room Showcase zone inside Baan Lae Suan (Home and Garden) Fair Midyear 2023, BITEC Bangna, Bangkok, Thailand.

 

Supawut Boonmahathanakorn


Q: What’s the basic principle of Jai Baan Studio? In other words, what’s important in the course of action you’re pursuing?

A: We regard restoring nature as the most important endeavor of our time. In doing so, we make every effort to “rewild” of the environment, be it built or natural.

We look for effective ways to restore balance in nature, thereby bringing the ecosystems back to health. In essence, it’s not about designing just to satisfy basic human needs alone. There are other things worthy of consideration, too.

Supawut Boonmahathanakorn
Adishtan House / Here’s a thoughtful residential design that strikes the right balance with nature. It’s not devised as a response to homeowner needs alone. Rather, it’s a house plan that speaks volumes for everything that Jai Baan Studio stands for, an approach that takes the totality of the circumstances into consideration.

In the past, when people built something, they seemed to have a worldview that’s different from ours in this day and age. Back then, people didn’t separate things into different parts as is the case with works of architecture at the present time.

Their perspectives on life are evident in structures that conveyed a great deal about who they were and their relationship with the context of a place. Likewise, that’s what inspires us with a vision to pursue a wide range of contemporary design.

Among other things, we look at creating commercial spaces that are responsive to customer needs. At the same time, we look for design that strikes a balance between human needs and nature conservation. That’s important to us.

Supawut Boonmahathanakorn
Adishtan House

 

 

We feel that the world is at a crisis point in history, a period characterized by mass extinction events brought on by the loss of habitats across a wide geographic area. It’s a time of intense difficulty that we are facing.

Yet, we feel that architects, designers and thinkers have a role to play in bringing public attention to the danger in a more perceptible way.

 

This is because the Earth’s surface, as we know it, has undergone transformation in so many ways. At the same time, human impacts on the environment continue with no end in sight.

Intentionally or not, the spreading of urban developments has had tremendous negative effects on the surroundings, both urban and rural.

Supawut Boonmahathanakorn
Homjai House / By finding a balance between basic human needs and the context that forms the setting of a place, the architects at Jai Baan Studio are able to produce a home plan consistent with community values in society and the natural surroundings.

That said, it’s important for us to be able to speak on behalf of nature — living organisms, humans, animals, insects, plants, and let their voices be heard.

Mind you, the flora and fauna of the land have needs just like we all do. Hence, it’s good to do our share of the joint effort at restoring the balance of nature.

This brings us to the term “rewilding” the environment, which in essence is about restoring ecological systems to a stable equilibrium. That’s the message that we’re reaching out to communicate with our clients.

Homjai House

 

Q: How do you respond to the rise of urbanization and the consequences of land change in areas where you work?

A: Urbanization is a process that’s happening every day. We’re constantly making partial or minor changes to the city we live in.

Over time, it expands into outlying areas and small towns in the countryside. Even in the remote corners of the country, changes are taking place there, too.

Our office is located in Chiang Mai, but a sizeable proportion of the population is originally from Bangkok and other provinces across the country. They have come to call Chiang Mai home trying to fulfill their dreams of living in close touch with nature.

It’s an interesting phenomenon in which people feel a powerful desire to live a healthy lifestyle embraced by nature. They come in droves, and that’s what gives us architects new challenges.

Supawut Boonmahathanakorn
Nunienoi Wetland / For the architects, designers and thinkers at Jai Baan Studio, animal needs are just as important as those of humans. For this reason, this wetland in Chiang Dao District of Chiang Mai is “rewilded” to its natural uncultivated state. The area is home to birds and animals great and small that are indigenous to this region.

The solution to the problems lies in whether we can find a balance between the form and function that people want on the one hand, and sustainability and quality of life on the other.

Suddenly, it dawns on us that our work can no longer be confined to landscaping design alone. Rather, it has to encompass all aspects of residential planning, environment improvement, and interactions with nature.

Therefore, it’s important to reach out and create an awareness among the residents. In doing so, we are able to offer the kind of thoughtful planning that’s clear and easy for building contractors to follow.

It’s a gradual process. Meanwhile, we must allow nature time to take its course and regain the ability to replenish.

Nunienoi Wetland

Q: In your opinion, how can design or your role as architect help toward community development, and society as a whole?

A: Let me answer in two parts.

First of all, we play an important part in communicating with the public in a respectful and subtle manner.

We don’t just tell people without explanation what good canal design should be and whatnot. Rather, we approach the task from a wider perspective, raising the issue of water pollution and how best to protect and restore the environment to health.

The same applies to other issues that involve public participation to resolve — from problems in the local economy, to impacts on ecosystems, to culture.

It’s about reaching out and talking to people, a role comparable to that of a diplomat, except we speak on behalf of nature. We wear two hats: humans who see things as humans do; and ambassadors of the environment that’s negatively impacted by change brought on by urbanization.

Done right, we can make our community a better place to live, together.

Supawut Boonmahathanakorn
Mae Kha Canal / The Mae Kha Canal, a tributary that flows into the Ping River in Chiang Mai, is restored to a clean and pleasant condition. It’s a welcome change that bespeaks the resilience of nature and a joint effort at improving riparian ecosystems that shape the health the community.

Secondly, in helping toward community development, we collaborate with people from different walks of life.

Unlike old times, today’s architects often find themselves working jointly with people from different fields. Together, we look for an excellent, well-thought-out plan with help from a variety of knowledgeable sources.

It’s a conducive work environment, in which everyone is treated as equal regardless of economic backgrounds or points of view. Good design comes from a nexus of ideas that all parties bring to the table.

Above and beyond anything else, it’s about bringing people together and making success happen.

Supawut Boonmahathanakorn
Mae Kha Canal

 

Supawut Boonmahathanakorn is one of our guest speakers at the annual room X Living Asean Design Talk 2023. He will touch upon the topic of a balance between human needs and nature conservation. Plus, it’s an opportunity to keep abreast of the latest developments in design, architecture and landscaping. The event will take place on Sunday August 6 at the room Showcase zone inside BaanLaeSuan Fair Midyear 2023 at BITEC Bang Na, Bangkok.

This year’s Design Talk is on the theme of “URBAN FUSION / RURAL FLOURISH: Interweaving Urban and Rural Designs.” Admission is free. Just a friendly reminder, seats are limited. Advance registration is recommended.

For more details: https://livingasean.com/special-scoop/room-x-living-asean-design-talk-2023-urban-fusion-rural-flourish-interweaving-urban-and-rural-designs/

Register to attend at: https://amarinfair.com/booking/room-x-living-asean-design-talk/


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A House in Quang Yen: Massive Roof Design Celebrates Vietnam’s Climate and Culture

A House in Quang Yen: Massive Roof Design Celebrates Vietnam’s Climate and Culture

/ Quang Yen, Vietnam /

/ Story: Kor Lordkam / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Hoang Le, Duc Ngo /

A big roof two-story house in Quang Yen is designed for a large family. Located in Quan Yen, a town in Quang Ninh Province in Vietnam’s Northeast, it’s a collaboration between two design studios, ra.atelier (Gia Thang Pham) and ngo + pasierbinski (Piotr Pasierbinski and Duc Ngo). They were tasked with preserving the existing landscape with a water pond and Tropical garden on it and, at the same time, catering to the lifestyle needs of the homeowners in post-retirement age. The result is a 121-square-meter home that observes the beautiful culture and Tropical climate of Vietnam.

House in Quangyen
Photograph: Hoang Le

Precisely that translated into maintaining the outdoor space in the state that was in existence at the time as much as they possibly could. This included the outdoor room for planting trees and a flower garden plus spaces for vegetable gardening and a flexible piece of ground for entertaining several houseguests and relatives.

House in Quangyen
Photograph: Hoang Le

House in Quangyen
Photograph: Hoang Le

House in Quangyen
Photograph: Hoang Le

House in Quangyen
Photograph: Duc Ngo

The house is situated on 735 square meters of land (roughly 0.2 acres), shaped like an elongated rectangle with a narrow frontage to the street.

The face of the building stands facing south, overlooking a small semicircle body of water. Nearby a miniature mountain garden décor separates the front yard filled with flowers and bonsai from the backyard that’s reserved for vegetable gardening.

According to the architect, the new house was built exactly where the old house once stood. It’s set slightly toward the back so as to create more room for a veranda projecting in front of the building.

Illustration: Courtesy of ra.atelier and ngo + pasierbinski
Illustration: Courtesy of ra.atelier and ngo + pasierbinski

Illustration: Courtesy of ra.atelier and ngo + pasierbinski

Illustration: Courtesy of ra.atelier and ngo + pasierbinski

The layout of the house is primarily related to its intended functions. In the big picture, the building has the approximate shape of a cube, the front part of which is reserved for general purposes such as giving lessons to kids in the neighborhood, a common activity for people in post-retirement age.

The back part of the house is quiet and a little more private, with room for a kitchen and bedrooms. Halfway in between lies an uncluttered center hallway made attractive by double-height ceiling design.

Climb a flight of stairs and you come to a more personal center hallway connecting to two bedrooms and an ancestral worship room. It’s a long-established custom in Vietnam to offer veneration to ancestors from whom the family is descended.

House in Quangyen
Photograph: Duc Ngo

House in Quangyen
Photograph: Hoang Le

House in Quangyen
Photograph: Hoang Le

All of the above parts work together to form a coherent house plan that’s perfectly oriented to maximize all aspects of the surroundings. In terms of the aesthetic appeal, the water pond is the focal point of the front yard landscape.

There’s a sense of physical and spiritual relationship among all things. Arranged in a straight line, the miniature mountain décor and the pond can be seen through the round, compelling window of the worship room at the center of the house plan.

The water pond, as the architect puts it, represents the essential part of the original landscape that had long been there before the old house was torn down and replaced by a new one. In a nutshell, the main idea is to keep everything where it belongs.

House in Quangyen
Photograph: Duc Ngo

House in Quangyen
Photograph: Hoang Le

House in Quangyen
Photograph: Duc Ngo

Apart from a set of traditional beliefs and sociocultural values, other important factors are also taken into account in creating a design that best fits the natural surroundings and climate of the region.

This is manifested in visual continuity that extends from inside the worship room to the miniature mountain garden décor in the front yard. Plus, the open floor plan design allows natural daylight and fresh, clean air to enter and circulate inside the home. In essence, it’s a trinity of complementing factors – the water pond, the building, and the surrounding landscape.

The architect wraps it up nicely. “It’s a design based on the relationship between common spaces, worship room, and the landscape.” There is apparent continuity starting with the entryway that boasts the spaciousness of double height ceiling design all the way to the second floor of the house. This allows all usable spaces and functions to conveniently link up with one another.

Meanwhile, doors and windows are in the right proportion in relation to the size, shape and position resulting in well-ventilated interior living spaces that are not too bright, not too warm, not too dark or not too cold.

House in Quangyen
Photograph: Hoang Le

Photograph: Hoang Le

On the outside, the house overlooks the front yard with a water pond that lies to the south. It’s perfectly oriented to coincide with seasonal winds that carry atmospheric moisture into the home, thereby keeping it cool all year round.

At the same time, the extremely large roof covered in orange tiles shelters the home from severe weather and blends harmoniously with like-color roofs in the surroundings.

Overall, it’s a design well suited to the warm and humid climate of Vietnam. Although the roof is enormous by any standard, the interior is well-lit by natural daylight thanks to large perimeter windows and doors. The result is a breezy, visually stimulating environment for house occupants.

House in Quangyen
Photograph: Hoang Le

House in Quangyen
Photograph: Hoang Le

House in Quangyen
Photograph: Hoang Le

Finally, the interior living spaces are plain and uncluttered by design. In all parts of the house, white walls prove a perfect complement to the floors covered in gray color tiles. What makes the interior pleasing to the senses is the furniture, as well as windows and doorframes made of wood.

More importantly, it’s the ordinary interior that speaks volumes for the simple lifestyle characteristic of this area. That’s precisely the quality that gives this house a feeling of warmth, comfort and relaxation. Nothing describes the relationship and the atmosphere here better than the architect’s saying, “The house is an extension of the garden, and the garden is an extension of the house.”


Architect: ra.atelier (Gia Thang Pham) and ngo + pasierbinski (Duc Ngo, Piotr Pasierbinski)


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A Minimalist House with the Elegance of Wood and Great Greenery Outdoors

A Minimalist House with the Elegance of Wood and Great Greenery Outdoors

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

/ Story: Patsiri / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Soopakorn Srisakul / Styling: Worawat /

Here’s a warm wood house that’s an embodiment of superb craftsmanship in the indoors and cool refreshing greenery outdoors. Precisely, it is  the simple design with the deliberate use of texture and clean lines that gives it a sense of youthful exuberance — a minimalist home that blends perfectly with nature.

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Khagee Ketjumpol, the homeowner, said he bought this house about ten years ago having been attracted to an orange jasmine tree (Murraya paniculata) gracing the front yard. After that, he decided to restore it to a good state of repair that was more up to date in style.

It was a home makeover project designed for better living conditions of everyone in the family. A professional builder with more than 30 years of experience, Khagee knew exactly what he wanted to do and how.

The result was a complete renovation that struck the right balance between comfort and a distinctive appearance with the great greenery outdoors.

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The remodeled house plan offers three stories of living spaces with an abundance of natural light canopied by overhanging trees.

The homeowner couple live on the top floor that’s decorated penthouse style, while their daughter occupies the second. The ground floor consists of common areas designed to encourage social interaction and spaces for a range of activities, including home to three pet dogs.

Outside, a Siamese rosewood tree (Dalbergia cochinchinensis) standing three stories tall among the greenery outdoors adds a peaceful detail to the front yard.

A Minimalist House with the Warm Elegance of Wood A Minimalist House with the Warm Elegance of Wood

To establish the ideal room temperature for comfortable living, tall-growing trees are preserved and integrated into the house plan and landscape design.

Where appropriate, parts of the ground floor are left unfilled and overhead windows are created to allow the upper branching of trees to thrive.

The result is a spacious, well-lit, and well-ventilated home built around shade trees that provide sun protection all year long.

A Minimalist House with the Warm Elegance of Wood

As Khagee puts it:

“I like plants for they offer shelter from direct sunlight, increase oxygen, and filter dust that poses a serious threat to environmental quality, plus they help keep the house cool. In line with the minimalist style, open floor plans create a living space that’s pleasant to look at and easy to keep clean.”

A Minimalist House with the Warm Elegance of WoodA Minimalist House with the Warm Elegance of Wood A Minimalist House with the Warm Elegance of Wood

The family’s love of nature and everything about wood is clearly seen in home interior design. Much of it is made of reclaimed timber that once served a different function.

Here, Khagee was able to recycle used items from his collection to fit new needs as floor panels, wall coverings, even ceiling planks.

Where possible, steel framing and glass panels are also used.

A Minimalist House with the Warm Elegance of Wood A Minimalist House with the Warm Elegance of Wood A Minimalist House with the Warm Elegance of Wood

“I like the touch of wood. Throughout my career as builder, I have collected many used building materials and reclaimed wood.

“Much of it that went into renovating this home was more than 30 years old and imported from Laos. To me, house building is an investment, much like buying land or gold.

“This way, we’ve come to appreciate the value of wood. It’s the natural vibes of wood that bring positive energy into our home,” said Khagee.

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A few pieces of house furniture are used on an as-needed basis true to the idea of minimalism.

For a spacious interior, even large pieces like the bed and the sofa are made of steel framing that gives them a lightweight look. Because of this, they appear to hover just above the floor.

The light and airy atmosphere is further enhanced by recessed lighting, a nice little collab between the homeowner and a team of architects from the Unknown Surface Studio.

A Minimalist House with the Warm Elegance of Wood

After many years of building houses for other people, the time is ripe for Khagee to make one for himself and his family.

Not only is it a dream come true, but it’s also a beautiful wooden home ensconced by greenery outdoors.

It’s no surprise that he aptly calls it “Little Paradise”, a home made for the happiness of his loved ones.


Owner/Architect: Khagee Ketjumpol

Lighting design: Unknown Surface Studio


Shipping Container House amid an Enchanted Forest Garden

Shipping Container House amid an Enchanted Forest Garden

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

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

/ Photographs: Sitthisak Namkham /

Who would have thought, even in the vibrant cosmopolitan neighborhood of Thonglor, that a shipping container house 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 the 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 shipping container 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 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-plan 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 an 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 Phornprapha.


Owner: Jirapa Phornprapha

Architectural and Interior Designer: Suriya Umpansiriratana / Walllasia Ltd.

Landscape Designer: Suriya Umpansiriratana, Prawit Poolkumlung / Walllasia Ltd.


The Secrets of a Quintessentially Thai Modern Home

The Secrets of a Quintessentially Thai Modern Home

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

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

/ Photographs: Anupong, Hatairat Deenuanpanao / Styling: Worawat /

The cube shape and flat roof gives an air of modern comfort and calmness to this white home on the outskirts of Bangkok. Designed for a hot, humid climate, it is thoughtfully devised to provide physical ease and relaxation without air conditioning.

Modern Home

The home’s contemporary style belies the traditional Thai way of life that’s central to its existence and character. Plus, it shows great attention to detail that makes the house feel warm and welcoming.

Modern Home

Amazing as it may seem, the cube-shaped modern home is built on a piece of land with a small waterway and public walk along the left side of it. In such situation, the homeowner has to forfeit three meters of land along the waterfront to make room for public access as required by law.

The result is a property with narrow frontage abutting on the street. And that’s where the design team from Office Architect9Kampanad came in to create a place that’s light and airy yet relying little on air conditioning. The homeowner lives with her elderly mother; hence the design must be capable of answering their specific lifestyle needs.

For the most part, wood is the building material of choice. Despite its ultramodern architecture, the house plan is the most perfect example of the Thai way of life in former times.

Modern Home

The side of the house that looks out over the public walk gets plenty of fresh air and natural daylight. But it’s also facing west, which means the afternoon sun is much harsher and brighter.

To solve this problem, the design team puts in a perforated metal façade that doubles as an outer shell keeping the house cool during the daytime. The external envelope crafted of steel is painted white to harmonize in color and texture with the nearby boundary fence. It’s a simple yet effective way to overcome a challenge on site.

Modern Home

By design, the home is well-lighted and well-ventilated thanks to open-concept floor plans both in front and at the rear of the building. There’s nothing to block the winds from the north or the south.

Wood stairs with no risers between the treads allow fresh air to enter and circulate in the interior. They also illuminate the stairwell and nearby areas with natural daylight.

The structure is a hybrid of steel beams and joists supported by concrete piles and arranged in an orderly way like traditional Thai architecture in times past. Plus, solid hardwood flooring looks very nice and makes the interior cooler in the summer.

To create warm, beautiful environments, the house floor is made of hardwood on all three levels. As a natural building material, wood evokes positive responses. It also has a substantial impact on the wellbeing of humans in ways that tiles and concrete floors cannot.

Meantime, pieces of furniture from the old family home are given a new lease on life. They are adapted for use in a different purpose and given a fresh coat of paint that proves a perfect complement to white home decorating ideas.

Showing attention to detail, the design team ensures the house plan is right for the elderly mother who lives here. To make it easy for her to walk up a flight of stairs, each riser is reduced to just 15 cm from the average 17 to 18 cm.

As a precaution against slip and fall accidents, each stair tread is made deeper than average, thanks to angled risers that provide extra space.

thai house

Modern Home

The house fence is made of air bricks painted white. They have holes in them to create an air flow between the property and the public walkway on the other side. The masonry wall has no see-through gaps in it, which offers privacy and protection from unwanted prying eyes.

Taken as a whole, it’s an oasis of calm on the outskirts of the city thanks to additional green spaces along the fence line adorned with shrubbery that thrives in the understory of tall trees.

The farthest end leads to a vegetable garden where Mom spends most of her free time preparing the soil, planting a crop, and nurturing the plants. Backyard vegetable gardening is an ingenious way to live a salubrious life. It not only puts fresh food on the table, but also speaks volumes for their determination to preserve the Thai way of life in this modern home.

Modern Home

Modern Home


Owner: Nopphamas Houbjaruen

Designer: Chalermpon Sombutyanuchit (Office Architect9Kampanad)


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The Synergy between Architecture and Landscape Design

The Synergy between Architecture and Landscape Design

/ Bangkok, Thailand /

/ Story: Kor Lordkam / English version: Bob Pitakwong /

/ Photographs: Soopakorn, Nantiya /

Attaporn Kobkongsanti, his wife Romanee and their young son Phumi have moved into their new house with a delightful landscape. The project took six years in the making. Now it’s a picture perfect place of warmth and comfort with lofty white walls rising above its inspired design and meticulous construction.

Here’s a modern contemporary house that epitomizes the integration of architecture and landscape design. It’s all about connection. The site has been tastefully landscaped to link indoor and outdoor spaces.

“As an architect myself, I imagined a courtyard here. Having worked with Boonlert, I felt our styles were really in sync. And after having given it some thought, we settled on our fourth design, which is what you’re seeing now,” said Attaporn Kobkongsanti, the owner of this beautiful house and the landscape architectural design studio TROP: Terrains + Open Space. Boonlert Hemvijitraphan of Boondesign Co., Ltd., is his design partner in this project.

trop landscape design

Boonlert Hemvijitraphan added, “The relationship between the house and nature is always at the core of our design work. And the owner’s imagination is what makes this one unique.

“We began with a set of high walls with the separate spaces between them assigned to different uses. We call it “the series of walls” concept.”

landscape design

Technically, the series of walls idea is expressed through architectural language. In this particular case, it’s the image and presence of a building with four very tall walls set in parallel that establish the frame of this three-story house.

The walls are set between 2.5 and 5 meters apart, protruding from the main body of the house, with varied height and length according to functionality of the spaces between.

The first floor holds living room, dining area, and kitchen. The husband and wife have a workroom on the second floor, and bedrooms are on the third.

The personalities of interior landscaping differ from room to room. In the east entry area, there’s a mixture of kitchen vegetables and ornamental plants that they call the “Moon Garden” since a moonrise is especially gorgeous from there. Special attention is paid to its beauty, as it is the first greenery we see when getting out of the car and the last before leaving.

Next, there’s a triangular courtyard inserted in the living room! It’s an architectural artifice to bring light into a darker area. It opens the living room right out on the swimming pool, at the same time creating an intriguing space facing both inward and outward.

landscape design

Overall, the floor plans and functions assigned to them give a perfect example of design that, as the architect puts it, “makes people feel comfortable in the in-between spaces.” The usable areas are rectangular, enclosed lengthwise between the walls.

The front and rear of the house are all floor-to-ceiling clear glass with a specific purpose — create the light and airy feeling. It’s a clever hack to let the natural world outside shine through into the home. In the meantime, where appropriate the solid walls are thick, effectively blocking the sun’s heat from the north and south.

Correct building orientation plays a big role in indoor comfort. For this reason, the glass sides are positioned to bring in enough natural light as the sun moves from east to west, keeping the house bright and cheerful all day.

landscape design TROP Landscape Architects,landscape design

Sunlight casts shadows on the walls creating an inviting inner courtyard that’s part and parcel of the interior living space. It’s a clever hack to bring the outside garden into the home, thanks to the homeowner’s experience in combining landscape design with modern house plans.

“This wasn’t easy,” said Attaporn. “We wanted it all, here, there, everywhere, but when you did it you always worried it might be too much! So we went back and forth, and in the end we chose the most orderly form.”

landscape design Attaporn Kobkongsantilandscape design

In the kitchen there is yet another large courtyard. This one helps draw light and clean air into the various rooms from the topmost down to the ground floor and connects with a forest garden to the west. Between the house and the fence lies a copse of trees that filters the afternoon sun, a space used just to relax, or perhaps for a party.

Nearby, an L-shaped swimming pool with neat wooden decks fits perfectly with the tall trees the homeowner has planted all around. The landscape design also connects to the living room through a large clear glass door.

landscape designAttaporn Kobkongsanti Attaporn Kobkongsanti

From inside, the glass walls open to delightful views of leaves on trees rustling in the wind. The landscape architect compares it to an abstract painting by nature, one that takes away any need for hanging pictures on the walls. He likens it to a white canvas waiting for nature as the single artist to paint it with light.


Owner: Attaporn Kobkongsanti

Architect: Boondesign Co., Ltd.

Landscape Architect: TROP : Terrains + Open Space


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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Inspiring Container Home with a Tropical Garden View

Inspiring Container Home with a Tropical Garden View

/ Bali, Indonesia /

/ Story: Samutcha Viraporn / English version: Peter Montalbano /

/ Photographs: Sitthisak Namkham /

The owner of this container house in Canggu, a resort town on the Indonesian island of Bali, began trying out a design concept with the intention of building a temporary home but, as luck would have it, he ended with a permanent family residence.

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

Container House with a Tropical Garden View

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.

“Family members from Jakarta come to visit sometimes, 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 this container house about a half-story lower than street level, with the garden behind it 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 it. 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 has lost the industrial look: ceiling and walls are surfaced white, with real wood taking away the rawness of the steel.

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 story lies under a sharply sloping steel roof that forms an eave for protection against too much sun and rain. 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 the big 18- container home. Together they create convenience and comfort, 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. The 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 is in a container on the second floor, with a structural dividing post in the middle.


Architect: Studio Tana by Andika Japa Wibisana


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