Blog : Tropical House

Vacation House in Bali: a Harmonious Mix of Industrial Style and Local Architecture

Vacation House in Bali: a Harmonious Mix of Industrial Style and Local Architecture

Alexis Dornier is a German architect who nearly ten years ago moved to the village of Mas in Bali to build a vacation home. To properly house his furniture and art works gathered from all over the world, he combined modern building techniques with an ancient Javanese architectural style known as joglo. Based around four pillars supporting a tall roof, in olden times joglo architecture indicated the owner’s social status.

/// INDONESIA ///
Story: Patsiri Chotpongsun // Photography: Sitthisak Namkham 

Vacation House in Bali

“This house was primarily designed to showcase the ancient art of joglo wood construction. Functionality was figured in afterwards,” said Alexis. “A modern steel support framework in the middle of the house adds a new element to the architectural tone, providing added support and making the house unique, but the essential artistry of the joglo structure was unaffected and remains essentially unchanged.”

Vacation House in BaliVacation House in Bali

Joglo architecture lends its character to two prominent spots in the house while also supporting well defined modern functionality. The first is where the multipurpose room connects to the living room, showing off the joglo high ceiling. Next to that is a display spot for outstanding works of art, where a grand piano is set. Both spots are bordered by clear glass walls looking out on the incomparable verdant green of the surrounding jungle vegetation.

Vacation House in Bali Vacation House in Bali

As it opens into the spacious, high-ceilinged dining room, the kitchen also shows off the joglo architecture. Above is a unique and exciting mezzanine walkway of clear glass where skylights allow natural light to shine in below. A person walking here gets a close-up look at details of artistic work carved into the joglo wood, perhaps experiencing something of the past joy archaeologists have felt in making new and priceless discoveries.

Vacation House in Bali Vacation House in Bali Vacation House in Bali

“Hidden beneath this spacious living room, connected to it by a three-dimensional walkway with views in all directions (a spiral staircase reaching down from the mezzanine) you will find two large bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms, as well as another living room. On your journey up or down you’ll see beautiful art works and striking views inside and out.”

Vacation House in Bali Vacation House in Bali

Vacation House in Bali

Vernacular Houses around the ASEAN

Vernacular Houses around the ASEAN

If you are interested in design based on local needs, local materials, and local traditions, you will find vernacular building exhibitions well worth a visit.

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The expo area features 5 show pavilions designed by the design firms.

Five show pavilions are open now at Architect ’18, the ASEAN’s largest building technology exposition organized by the Association of Siamese Architects (ASA). It’s happening on May 1-6, 2018 at Impact, Muang Thong Thani.

Plastic crates filled with clay are readied for the show at Architect ’18.

Other attractions range from a photography display by Vernacular Built Environment and Cultural Heritage Studies Group, and exhibitions by various architectural firms, to retail businesses, and seminars featuring distinguished speakers from Thailand and abroad.

The expo’s must-see events include a show pavilion by Boon Design, which presents building techniques using materials readily available in a locality, such as plastic crates for fruit transportation filled with clay.

Inside one of the show pavilions dedicated to vernacular-style living
The dark exterior that is characteristic of the Boon Design show pavilion

Designer Boonlert Hemvijitraphan said: “Traditionally, earth has been a material of choice for home building while plastic crates come in handy as byproducts of the industry. The choice of materials is often dictated by availability in a particular area. Homes can be made of anything, whether it’s earth or wood, so long as they are adapted to suit local needs and requirements.” Like so, a vernacular house in Southeast Asia may appear dim on the inside because there are only a few openings. Lace fabrics on the windows tell stories of clever adaptations to suit local weather conditions.

Vernacular houses on the waterfront in Myanmar, Cambodia, and Thailand
photograph reflects local beliefs and customs around the Region.

The building techniques differ from country to country across Southeast Asia as illustrated by the photo exhibition by the Vernacular Built Environment and Cultural Heritage Studies Group. Its members include Isarachai Buranaut, Kullphut Seneevong Na Ayudhaya, Somchai Chuechuaychu, and Surapong Jamniyom.

 

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WOODEN THAI HOUSE IN THE LANNA TRADITION

Waterside Home

Waterside Home

This waterside tropical house brings back memories of Thai life as it was along Khlong Samsen in bygone times. From outside it looks straightforward and contemporary, but inside is a fascinating mix of antiques from the owners’ collections.

/// Thailand ///

Story: Wuthikorn Suthiapa /// Photography: Sitthisak Namkham /// Design: Reserch Studio Panin by Associate Professor Dr. Tonkhao Panin & Thanakarn Mokkhasamit

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Outer stair, up from the pool to the second-floor balcony
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Perforated fence with wind baffles for good air circulation within the property
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Blocks with 1-inch spaces to control fresh air coming into the house
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Work room with a library design

To match the Thai climate, Associate Professor Dr. Tonkhao Panin designed this house in a tropical style. Although it has a contemporary look, the house contains a mix of antiques and collectibles belonging to owners Kajorn Tanaphaet and Eugene Kroon. A major design challenge for Dr. Tonkhao was to make old and new fit well together.

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Swimming pool, designed as to appear continuous with the khlong outside

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“My requirements are simply stated: 1. I don’t want luxury. 2. I want high ceilings, and 3. Air conditioning should be minimal. Tonkhao’s proportional design successfully connects the entire property: balcony, reception parlor, reading room, down through the kitchen and out to the swimming pool and pier. There are a lot of reasons I’m pleased with this location: it’s at the end of the soi, quiet and peaceful, one side opens onto Khlong Samsen, and there’s space in front for a nice garden. I bought the place some time before I ran across a house designed by Tonkhao in a book I was reading and managed to get him to come design this one. As you can see, the end result is a good-sized house with a great style,” says Kajorn.

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The design took 8 months, and construction an additional year. “We did it little by little, along the way discovering things we liked in the detail suggested by the word ‘house.’ Here is a mixture of many things: some sections come from me and Eugene, some from Tonkhao, and there are things the craftsmen suggested as we chatted during construction.”

Aside from the remarkable style and the great number of owner-collected antiques and collected artifacts, another point of interest is the unusual transverse placement of the house, set crosswise on the property. “Kajorn wanted to have the house right on the water,” explains Professor Tonkhao, “and orienting the house this way lets it catch the constant breeze from the lawn out to the khlong.”

So this house has permanent natural ventilation. “Even though the design is straightforward, we want it to create a feeling somewhere between being inside and outside, a tropical feeling. The house is designed so it can fully open up to the air from terrace and doorways, that all can be left open. At the same time, balconies and doors block direct sun from entering the building, creating differing levels of sunshine and shade inside and out.”

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Even in late afternoon, it’s still shady and cool. The patio has a long porch deck reminiscent of an “arcade,” the façade of a Sino-Portuguese-style house. There’s a balcony door which can be opened vertically as a sunshade, a similar design to a Thai-style “baan krathung” prop-up window. Features such as this help create an amazing sense of comfort for a Bangkok house.

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Beach House on a Paradise Island

Beach House on a Paradise Island

Many have dreamt of owning a beach house on a beautiful island. The owners of this property have made their dream come true with style and grace.

/// Thailand ///
Story: Wuthikorn Suthiapa /// Photography: Sitthisak Namkham

Beach House on a Paradise Island

Beach House on a Paradise Island

The pier at Koh Phangan is always bustling with activity as tourists keep coming in droves looking forward to party. But the island on the Gulf of Thailand is also known for its fine collection of tranquil beaches, especially the one on Hin Kong Bay, where this charming house is located.

The casually cool house sits embraced by a circle of trees that gives it a Tropical touch and camouflages it from the busy streets. Wide open design ensures every part of the stilt house is easily accessible wherever you may be, from the room at the rear to the front porch to the infinity pool that connects to the ocean beyond.

The house with a twist features a tree trunk that continues to grow through the floorboard. A clever design element, the tree had been there long before the owners decided to put in a home. Not wanting to cut it down, they built their home around the tree and let it keep on growing. They are just happy to live and let live despite having to adjust the floorboard and roofing from time to time.

The house with a twist features a tree trunk that continues to grow through the floorboard. A clever design element, the tree had been there long before the owners decided to put in a home. Not wanting to cut it down, they built their home around the tree and let it keep on growing. They are just happy to live and let live despite having to adjust the floorboard and roofing from time to time.

Beach House on a Paradise Island

Beach House on a Paradise Island

Beach House on a Paradise Island

Almost all the furniture in the house is made of wood, a personal preference that fits in well with the kind of home they live in. The interior living space is bedecked with ornaments and souvenirs from a lifetime of journeys as well as stunning found objects that were washed ashore.

Both the first and second floors feature long corridors that provide easy access to every part of the house. The owners have wanted their home to be a seaside resort designed for relaxation and good times with family and friends.

Both the first and second floors feature long corridors that provide easy access to every part of the house. The owners have wanted their home to be a seaside resort designed for relaxation and good times with family and friends.

“While I am here, every day is a holiday,” said the owner with a smile. “I love to just lie down in the living room and gaze out into the sea. Every now and then, friends come over for visit and we throw a barbeque party. My husband usually spends his time in the garden taking care plants and things.”

One last word. If you haven’t thought of owning a beach house before, this picturesque house on a paradise island will make you want to have one.

Beach House on a Paradise Island

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