Blog : rural house

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

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

/ Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand /

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

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

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

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

Asked how all this was accomplished, the physician said: “Upon graduation from medical school, I taught medicine and operated a clinic in Bangkok for several years before coming out to Pak Chong District, Nakhon Ratchasima. At first, we opened a branch office in the city area just to get an idea about patient demands in the provinces.

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

“I was fortunate enough to receive help from a good, kind person senior to me. He wanted to help patients in the rural area gain access to medical care. So, he let us use a facility free of charge for the purpose of opening a clinic.

“After having done it for a while, we felt like we were overstaying the welcome. At the same time, we needed a facility that would be more relaxed and convenient for the patients – preferably a green space that’s well lighted, open and airy. I just didn’t want the patients to feel tense and unable to relax as was the case with a hospital visit in general.”

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

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

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

bamboo house

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

Why bamboo? The homeowner couple wanted their house in modern style to fuse into the pristine rural environment. Naturally, bamboo was the material of choice for it was easy to find the price reasonable.

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

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

[Left] A large awning window opens up to connect with the outdoors. / [Right] A sofa set in shades of indigo paired with earth tones on the walls and floor reduces a monotonous regularity in the interior living space.
Different kinds of bamboo were chosen to suit different construction needs. Pai Tong (scientific name: Dendrocalamus), and Pai Sang Mon (Dendrocalamus Sericeus), two Tropical species of giant clumping bamboos common to Southeast Asia, were used for house posts and other load bearing structures.

Other parts, such as roofing, walls, and ceilings were built using smaller farmed bamboos. They were adapted to fit in with modern building materials for durability and the conveniences of modern living.

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

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

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

bamboo house

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

bamboo house

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

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

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

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

Owner: Nopharat Pitchanthuk MD and Kanyapak Silawatanawongse

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