/ Story: Sarayut Sreetip-ard / Photograph: DOF Sky/Ground, architectural film and photography service /
Nong Ho Holiday Home is a gorgeous tropical home out in the country. An escape from the fast-paced city life, the tranquil abode is intended as a family holiday home during the winter months.
Nong Ho Holiday Home stands environed by the pleasant mountain base grounds at Nong Ho only a short drive from downtown Chiang Mai. Strictly speaking, green is the prime color of the surroundings, and the panorama of the mountain landscape is one of breathtaking beauty. Priceless!
Commenting on the design concept, Skarn Chaiyawat, architect and founder of his architectural firm and namesake, said:
“The 300-square-wah, rectangular site on which the house is built is exceptionally good. In the evening, lights blaze in the sky as the sun disappears over Doi Suthep that’s easily seen from a distance.
“It’s really a beautiful sight to see.”
It’s a piece of land with great potential so the main idea driving the design isn’t confined to the house alone. Rather it’s a layout that has the beauty of the natural environment at its core.
On the ground floor, open plan ideas come in handy covering a large area from the sitting room to dining room and pantry, plus a Thai style kitchen at the further end of the interior.
“After careful consideration, I chose the I-shaped house plan. The longer side of the rectangle overlooking the backyard lies facing west, thereby opening every room to the scenic beauty of a mountain landscape,” the architect explained.
The architect and the homeowners agreed that, to avoid looking harsh or too modern in appearance, it makes perfect sense to blend modern building materials with heritage products in the locality. The result is a modern vernacular home that boasts the richness of natural textures.
It’s built of reclaimed teakwood from old houses in the area and roofed over with clay tiles made the old-fashioned way by local artisans. House floors and parts of the walls are covered in glazed clay tiles made by Mae Rim Ceramics in Chiang Mai.
All told, it’s a beautifully semi-handcrafted home that’s original and unique in its own special way. Plus, it helps reduce impacts on the environment.
The more open the house plan, the more exposure it gets to sunlight and moisture. Here, the problem is corrected by constructing elegant extended eaves around the house.
Where appropriate, several arrays of retro-inspired bamboo louvres protect the house from the elements, meanwhile providing a delicate aperture to the delightful view.
Together they reduce the heat, allow in gentle breezes along the east and west facades, and offer the benefit of adding decorative privacy screens to the home.
Here’s what we found. A good home isn’t made for comfortable living alone. It must also be capable of promoting good physical and mental health.
Although it has a street frontage, the family’s right to privacy is jealously guarded. There’s a backyard swimming pool for exercise. Looking out the window, a spectacular mountain view can be seen from a distance. There’s plenty of room left to grow a vegetable garden, too.
In essence, it’s a way of creating an ecology of nature-human interactions.
The architect wrapped it up nicely:
“Even while indoors we can hear birds sing and gentle breezes rustle in the trees, plus the sweet smell of plants and rain in the yard. No need to turn on air conditioning all the time.
“It’s a beautiful natural setting that brings peace of mind. For us, that’s the definition of a holiday home.”
Have ideas for a new kind of treehouse? Here’s one beautifully crafted of wood – a revolutionary design that epitomizes the ultimate return to nature.
After only four months of construction time, Stilt Studios has unveiled the latest prototype of its treehouse design that was truly awesome. Known as “Treehouse C”, the preliminary model sits in the salubrious weather of Penestanan, a cozy Indonesian village just a stone’s throw from the town of Ubud on Bali.
Noted for its beauty and the richness of culture, Penestanan has been dubbed an artist village since the 1930’s. A 15-minute walk from the town center, the village is home to many go-to restaurants and bars sprouting up everywhere amid the green expanse of rice fields. Treehouse C itself sits high up in the leafy branches in a small community called Bukit Sari.
Strictly speaking, the home is raised high off the ground by a robust core element consisting of four vertical columns. Together they carry the weight of the entire dwelling. For strength and durability, the upright pillars are braced by a staircase and post-to-beam knee brackets for additional support.
On the rooftop, a series of steel cable stays extend radially from the top of each mast anchorage to connect with the roof framing and the floor plane below.
This results in the reduction of member cross-sections and building parts for the whole building.
From afar, it gives the impression that the home is hovering among the lush green treetops, a sight that can leave a memorable experience. Plus, its surprisingly lightweight appearance is further enhanced by slender façades decorated with wood frames and glass paneling designed to carry nothing else but its own weight.
The latest layout differs from the previous Treehouse C model at Buduk published in October 2020 in that the original open floor plan has been revised in favor of one divided into several rooms.
They include the kitchen with dining and nearby living room, plus the spacious bedroom with a cozy sitting area interconnected via the bathroom corridor. The 64-square-meter design is for 2 to 4 people to fit in easily.
And it offers a vista of the surrounding landscape and amazing sunrise views from Mount Agung.
As may be expected, the front yard is filled with edible gardens designed and executed by True Nature Nusantara, a Bali-based landscape consultancy specializing in natural regenerative processes.
Commenting on the role of permaculture in creating sustainable ecosystems, Bodhi Denton, the company’s director, said:
“The goal of developing these gardens is to create a delightful labyrinth of low-maintenance and colorful perennials and trees like they exist in the wild, plus a laid-back, inconspicuous area to sit and enjoy the view of nearby rice fields.”
It’s for this reason that the gardens are full of flowers, tropical ornamental plants, edible fruits and herbs. It even features a small pond at one of the corners. Besides its famous Tetra Pod homes, Stilt Studios also offers drawings of Treehouse A, B, and C models for purchase. In three simple steps, you can get access to the drawings and license to build your dream studio.
Here’s an intimate little wooden house on stilts amid the coconut groves of Damnoen Saduak, a country town famous for lush orchards and a vibrant floating market. Built on a budget, much of it is made of reclaimed timber in various styles. Oh, by the way there’s no need for air conditioning. It stands canopied by overhanging trees alongside water channels for crop irrigation, an ecosystem that drives natural ventilation to keep it cool all year round.
Since its heyday in the mid 1900s, Damnoen Saduak Canal had been a major route for water transport in this part of Ratchaburi. People’s houses were built mostly along the water’s edge, while properties that lay further inland were used for agriculture.
This 7-Rai (11,200 sq.m.) piece of land was home to thriving fruit orchards for several decades. The wooden house now in the hands of the family’s fourth generation was recently restored to all its former glory. In the process, parts of the water channels were filled to make room for a new contemporary home.
At first what they had in mind was a little house with one bedroom. But after having consulted the architectural firm Studio Miti, they were convinced that house-on-stilts design, something slightly bigger, was the way forward. It was a prudent thing to do since the area has experienced flooding in the past.
By using tall timber posts and beams, they were able to create a 112-sq-m home plan with high ceilings.
The wooden floor is elevated on concrete poles for stability and better ventilation, while the superstructure is crafted of weathered wood that gives the home rustic and contempory décor.
The exterior walls are built of a captivating mix of reclaimed timber, including Praduak (Pterocarpus soyauxii) that’s preferred for its bright orange red color, Mai Daeng or Ironwood (Xylia xylocarpa), and Mai Yang (Dipterocarpus alatus), which is light brown in color.
Where appropriate, shorter wall planks are used to add the warmth and charm to interior living spaces.
Taken as a whole, it’s an open concept house plan that’s just right for a small family’s lifestyle needs. There is no guest reception area that’s characteristic of the Western style home.
Instead, the center of family life is a good-sized wooden table in the middle of the room that’s fulfilling multiple functions as living area, dining room and space for relaxing and socializing.
The kitchen formerly at the rear of the house has been moved to the ground floor that’s made suitable for traditional Thai cooking. It’s a way to get rid of food smells fast.
Only a pantry with necessary food, dishes and utensils are kept upstairs, where the focus is more on making light meals, coffee and other beverages. It’s separated from the living area by roll-away shutters that open to circulate air and give a sense of cohesiveness.
The wooden house has two bedrooms made especially relaxing by a monochromatic color scheme. A nexus between old world charm and a calm, clutter-free life, each room has a mattress on a wooden platform canopied by a fine net to keep mosquitoes away.
Both of them are so well ventilated that there’s no need for air conditioning.
Wood has its benefits as a building material. It doesn’t reflect or store heat very well, which results in hardwood floors not getting much hot in summer. This makes it comfortable to spend daylight hours in the shady space on the ground floor.
When evening comes, a gentle wind helps cool the home down. Otherwise, simple fans will do the trick. Outside, a canopy of overhanging trees and water channels make the home environment calm and peaceful.
In the rainy season, extended overhangs protect the interior from the elements.
As timber prices continue to rise, the cost of building a home also increases at an alarming rate. Here, the architect is able to overcome the limited budget and deliver on his promise.
The result is a beautiful contemporary design that relates to its intended function and purpose — an intimate little wooden house amid the enchantment of lush coconut groves.
Owner: Veerapus and Nuthapak Thamrongrojanabhat
Architect: Prakij Kanha (Studio Miti)
The cube shape and flat roof lend a modern air to this white house on the outskirts of Bangkok. Designed for a hot, humid climate, it is gently calming and comfortable to live without air conditioning. 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.
Amazing as it may seem, the cube shaped modern home sits on a narrow lot that’s only 5 meters wide. There’s a small waterway and public walk along the left side of the land. In such situation, the homeowner has to forfeit 3 meters of land along the waterfront to make room for public access as required by law.
The result is a piece of land with a narrow frontage to the street as it is now. And that’s where the design team 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 new house comes in handy to answer their specific lifestyle needs.
For the most part, wood is the building material of choice. Despite its ultramodern architecture, the house plan is the quintessence of the Thai way.
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 that helps keep the house cool during daylight hours. The outer shell 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.
By design, this modern home is 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 not only 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 former times.
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. Plus, it has a substantial impact on the wellbeing of humans in ways that tiles and concrete floors cannot.
Meantime, pieces of furniture from the old house 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 great 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.
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. It’s an oasis of calm on the outskirts of the city, thanks to additional green spaces along the fence line adorned with shrubs that thrive 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.
An intimate country hideaway affords a view of sugarcane fields and the lush forests of Khaoyai National Park. A country villa sits ensconced in the misty morning mountain landscape that “Pod” Thanachai Ujjin, lead singer/song writer of the Moderndog band, calls home. His favorite hangout is a platform on the outside of the house, where he likes to sit under moonlight at 2 in the morning. Precisely, nature is on his doorstep.
Characteristic of modern tropical architecture, the house is spacious, light and breezy. The homeowner likens it to the calm and peaceful Thai temple pavilion. The brainchild of Nattapak Phatanapromchai of Erix Design Concepts, the minimalist home is aptly named “Villa Sati”, literally “House of Consciousness”, to communicate the state of being awake and aware of one’s surroundings.
Touched by moonlight and the starry sky, it has a roofed platform along the outside of the house that’s perfect for walking meditation, which the artist and his Mom often do together as family.
Sharing his little piece of paradise, Pod said: “After moving out here, I feel as if there were more hours in the day. I rise early to go jogging, read, listen to music, and write songs.”
Their country retreat is made for a simple and peaceful life. Here, the artist and his Mom have plenty of time for their favorite pastimes – art making. The house plan is well thought out.
Gable roof design proves a perfect complement to the platforms along the outside, while gorgeous open floorplans increase natural light and bring the outdoors into the home.
Come in through the front door, and you find the stand-alone Butterfly Stool, a 1954 icon of Japanese industrial design by Sori Yanagi.
The bedroom that looks out over the field is on the right. Straight ahead is the kitchenette that connects to a living area that doubles as multipurpose room. Nearby, a set of stairs with dark clapboard siding leads to the attic that the artist has turned into a bedroom.
The farthest end of the house is open to let southeasterly winds enter, a great way to ventilate the entire home. From here, the rolling sugarcane fields and mountains beyond can be seen in full view.
Floating furniture is an easy hack to establish zones in open spaces and create traffic flow in the room. Modular storage cabinets from USM have the most prominent position alongside wall-mounted abstract art by Tae Pavit and a few painted pictures by Pod’s Mom.
Commenting on design details, architect Nattapak said the platforms along the outside of the house afford beautiful panoramic views of the lush mountain landscape.
Large openings in the walls allow fresh air to enter, creating air flow and bringing down ambient temperature to the point there’s no need for air conditioning.
Meantime, the gable roof with long overhangs protects the platforms along the outside from the elements.
The architect did away with the fascia, wooden boards covering the ends of rafters, to highlight the framework supporting the roof as was the case with the Thai style of residential architecture.
Roof shingles are reminiscent of ancient tiles made beautiful by special paint for a real custom effect, while cement board deck or sheathing is installed underneath to protect against leaks.
House framing for the most part consists of wood, while framed glass wall systems stand tall from the threshold to the tie beam supporting the roof. The secret to a neat and tidy house plan lies in the side posts of every doorway and glass wall frame aligning with gable-end studs both when the door is open and shut.
The result is a beautiful country house with clean design in the midst of scenic surroundings.
The house superstructure is built of Ta-khian timber, scientific name: Hopea odorata, a species of large trees native to Southeast Asia. Elevated 1.80 meters above ground level, the floorboard rests on steel reinforced concrete framing that’s a load-bearing foundation.
The stilt house design that’s ubiquitous in tropical climates provides ventilation under the floor, a brilliant way to keep the home cool all year round.
By and large, it’s a perfect example of traditional Thai house design, one that’s easy to look at and comfortable to live in.
The homeowner wrapped it up nicely. “I like the relative smallness of the house and surrounding open spaces. They’ve had a significant impact on human minds. For me, it gives vitality and enthusiasm.
“It fills my life with laughter and inspires exciting new ideas. It just so happens. Once I have an idea that I think has real potential, the rest is easy.
“Lyrics for a number of songs were written right here in this humble abode.
“The wide open spaces of the countryside are hugely rewarding for me as an artist.”
Here is a modern one-story house with a charming interior courtyard, plus ample and airy multipurpose spaces. The gentle slope of hip roof design shields it from too much sun and rain, the prevailing climate in Thailand.
Small house, surprisingly spacious
The old house that had stood on this plot of land for 40 years was pulled down to make room for a new home. The new floor plan takes up almost the entire 64 square wahs (256 sq.m.) in extent.
Albeit small, it’s fully equipped to suit the lifestyle needs of Pacharanan Marittida and her lovely canine companion. Sharing his design inspiration, architect Nuttapol Techopitch said:
“In the beginning, the old wooden house belonged to Grandma and Grandpa. The time has come for a decision to be made, so we thought it wise to go for a bright and airy home plan.
“The owner had many relatives living nearby and needed extra room to get together with family. Plus, she wanted a studio to give piano lessons. As a music teacher, she played the piano at home a lot.”
After site inspections, Nuttapol proposed an interesting alternative – building a new home. It would save her money.
The reason was obvious. The old two-story house sat on low land that was prone to groundwater flooding. There were no easy solutions. If the ground floor was raised even slightly to protect against water damage, there wouldn’t be enough headroom.
The architect responded with light and airy designs for single-level, two-level, and split-level homes to choose from. The homeowner picked the one-story design raised above the flood level that measured 190 square meters.
The new house feels surprisingly spacious, bright and well-ventilated, while indoor and outdoor rooms are well-connected.
There’s an open-roofed area in the middle of the hip roof design that’s used for planting trees. It’s a layout that places great emphasis on having ample space.
High ceilings that are consistent with hip roof design make it suitable for hot and humid weather. The central courtyard that lies in the open air complements a look that’s stylish and very relaxed. Plus, it provides good air circulation.
On the north side, the open-roofed area is bordered by a wooden lattice that enables interior spaces to benefit from natural light, fresh air and sunshine. The interlaced structure also keeps the floor devoted for service spaces concealed from the view.
The heart of a happy home
Roof overhangs offer many benefits. For this modern one-story home, they give protection against too much sun and prying eyes. A living room that’s the heart of a happy home lies hidden from view and can only be seen upon entering the carport. The interior is decorated with an L-shaped, charcoal gray sectional sofa.
The slanted ceilings are made of wood for its adaptability to a variety of designs while the rooms are surrounded by glass walls, thereby reducing the need for artificial lighting.
The open floor plan concept, also in the shape of the letter L, provides a way to move through space unhindered from the sitting room to the dining area.
Looking out the window, the center courtyard dominated by a lettuce tree (Pisonia grandis R. Br.) can be seen from every direction. The tree that has been in the family for a long time was dug up and replanted here to keep the yard lush green.
As the architect put it:
“To make the atmosphere relaxed and airy, we avoid putting in too much furniture. Where appropriate, wood accents add warmth to the interior space and create dimension.
“Wood is also great for the piano room. At first, the homeowner intended to put a grand piano there, but later changed her mind and went for a digital piano to optimize small room acoustics. To give it a natural look, a mix of artificial and real Tabaek wood (Lagerstroemia floribunda) is used on parts of the exterior and wood lattice that borders the courtyard.
“Plus, color harmony between indoor and outdoor spaces makes the house even more appealing. Meanwhile, floor tiles in marble design give the impression of ample space.”
Warm, ingenious design for pure enjoyment every day
The interior is quite impressive. It even has a space devoted to “Khamin”, the beautiful golden retriever who comes and goes freely between this and the other house on the property.
There’s also a special doggie nook in the carport with a sloped floor. It’s pet friendly and ideal for hyper dogs, thanks to seamless wash pebble finishes.
“The dog runs and plays everywhere inside and outside. We have to towel dry the hair and vacuum the floor often. Hence, non-carpeted floors make perfect sense, while special leather upholstery on the sofa is scratch resistant.
“This has made it possible for humans and dogs to share living spaces. Plus, there is plenty of room to lounge about when relatives visit. On the whole, the atmosphere is warm and welcoming, which makes every day feel like a vacation.
“The only thing missing is the seaside view. By night, it feels more like Khao Yai (The National Park) to sit in the living room and peer into the courtyard aglow under twinkle electric lights. The scenery is inspiring for songwriting.”
Taking everything into account, it’s well worth it. The house with an inner courtyard and hip roof design is small, yet beautifully organized and made for pure enjoyment every day.
/ Bali, Indonesia / / Story: Patsiri Chotpongsun / English version: Bob Pitakwong / Photographs: Sitthisak Namkham /
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
“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 artworks and striking views inside and out.”
This Chiang Mai house sits on a plot surrounded by fields of rice in Mae Rim District. The upper floor, all bedrooms, is of wood. Downstairs the many open walls give the sense of the Thai traditional tai thun below-the-house spaciousness, and it serves as living room, dining room, and coffee nook, with a natural breeze providing cool comfort all day long.
/// THAILAND /// Story: Patsiri Chot /// Photography: Sitthisak Namkham /// Architect: Studio Miti, by Prakij Kanha /// Owner: Anisaa Wangtragul and Apichai Wangtragul
Prakij Kanha from Studio Miti designed this house, which stretches lengthwise along the long side of an L-shaped property, with frame, walls, and post construction primarily of wood taken from 5 old houses in locations all over Chiang Mai.
A 3.5 meter dimension in the original house design was expanded to 4 meters, and the porch was widened for a more comfortable experience of relaxed viewing of nature. Limitations on the amount of wood meant the few downstairs walls were mortared. Where boards were too short, steel was used. The roof was done with Onduline, which is made of strong natural fibers, quite light, and insulates with no need for a ceiling: it is closed off with OSB (oriented strandboard). The west wall gets strong sunlight, and is overlaid with white gypsum board, another insulation that reduces interior heat.
There is a mix of tall windows and glass walls, and a central walkway throughout that connects every corner and provides an air circulation channel. Even the bathroom looks out on nature. The master bedroom has views of both Doi Saket and morning mists over the Ping River. On the opposite side, night after night you can watch the moon wax and wane. Interior décor is a mix of furniture and antiques almost entirely taken from the original house.
Public electricity doesn’t reach out this far, so solar cells are used, and per-day energy use has to be carefully figured. There is no air conditioning, but the natural breezes here are deeply cooling. If you’d like to switch out of your digs to get the peace and quiet of a beautiful wood house set in spacious rice fields and see how totally dark and quiet it can be at night, you can reserve a room by contacting Good Old Days Chiang Mai.
This wooden home in San Sai District, Chiang Mai Province connects 2 buildings with a high, wide open tai thun (open lower floor) featuring a long dining table and “living room” spot that gets a cool breeze the whole day.
Ae (Nuttawut) and May (Sutthida) Saylahom had scheduled ten months to build their new home, but it took more than a year to finish, until after their second son was born. Along the way a few alterations were made: a planned swimming pool, for instance, became instead a grass lawn where their young Kiri would be able to run and play with his new little brother.
Ae worked as both architect and laborer here in combining an old Lanna rice granary with the original wooden house next to it. Construction began by disassembling the old buildings: original components and materials were removed and set aside for use in new functionality envisioned in the new design. The granary’s primary structure remains: 8 large wooden pillars, with 4 pillars angled inwards for weight-bearing purposes. There is a tall main column reaching all the way through to the tie beam – a primary roof component – and another post up to the roof for ridgepole support, all set in a foundation of poured concrete to protect against moisture and ground-nesting termites.
A wooden frame was designed to form a single house from the two buildings, creating a wooden balcony that functions as a connecting walkway. Leftover wood was used to build a garage in front roofed with tiles from the old structure and using old porch railings for walls. Trees were planted all around to block the line of sight, functioning as a natural fence.
Out of the edge of a sun hemp field rises what looks to be a traditional huean isaan (Northeastern Thai house). But this home, set in a shady, woodsy atmosphere, fragrant with the aromas of a Thai house and the fun-filled rhythms of Thai family ways, is fully adapted to contemporary ways of life.
After Sakda and Orapin Sreesangkom had lived 20 years in a condo, they designed this eco-friendly house to find an adaptation of Thai family life that could suit the modern age, and to build environmental awareness in themselves and their children.
The ground floor design echoes the traditional tai thun lower space found beneath Thai houses. A porch reaches outwards to fill the usual roles: entertaining guests, socializing. Up close you’ll see it’s more like 3 houses connected by one deck, each one with wide eaves blocking sun and rain, but with a twist: the underside insulation is “rammed earth,” La Terre’s innovative cooling solution that rapidly absorbs and diffuses heat and is made from organic, renewable materials. Sakda and designers Arsomsilp Community and Environmental Architects shared the same vision.
The huean isaan takes over in spirit, though, with its outward image evoking a cultural memory reflected in the playfulness of the three boys, Chris, Gav, and Guy, bringing cheer to every corner of the house: playing in the attic, sliding down polished planks beside the stairway, and everyone’s favorite: the sky deck, accessible from anywhere in the house.
The heart of the home is the living room: it’s spacious, with bar counter, dining area, and sofas for relaxing, sized 7 X 11 meters, and with no support pillars blocking the view within. It was designed to mirror the look and function of the tai thun, a space that brings everyone together to do whatever they like to do best, as individuals or a group.
The building foundation supports a raised deck all around the house. This keeps slithering things and garden creepy-crawlies from coming into the house, at the same time creating good ventilation below. The extra area for sitting, stretching the legs, or walking out into the garden is one more bonus.
Sakda’s deep attachment to the traditional huean isaan it what brought this all about. That, and the family’s courage in leaving the convenience of condo life behind them to design, build and live in a completely different way, growing their own garden, and creating a new home that could be passed down to the next generations.
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