In a residential neighborhood in the center of Bangkok, this derelict 1970 house sat empty for five years. Then in 2018, Architectural Studio of Work – Aholic (ASWA), a local firm founded by Phuttipan Aswakool and Chotiros Techamongklapiwat, was tasked with transforming the abandoned home into a nature-infused restaurant called CLAY, which serves an Australian-Thai fusion menu.
The firm started by retaining the basic shell of the house, then peeled back layers of poor additions and dilapidated finishes to insert a new palette of plaster, wood, and terrazzo. The finishing touch is a wood-and-glass addition that hosts a dining room, letting eaters feel surrounded by the landscaping.
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First, the firm removed the remnants of previous additions, including aluminum canopies, a garage, storage room, and a maid house, none of which meshed with the existing architecture. "This house had been modified for additional functions that did not respect the beauty of the house," says Aswakool.
In the process, they drew attention to the pronounced roof eaves and retained key features, such as the wood windows on the front façade, which were stripped of white paint to reveal the wood grain beneath. "We like the old detail of the wood frame, and it is difficult to find nowadays," says Aswakool. The firm repeated that wood detailing in a new trellis at the entry, as well as in the framework for the glass addition.
"The restaurant has a main concept of ‘Crafted of Nature,’" says Aswakool. "All material selections have to be something that has a texture itself. We respect the beauty of a material and prefer to expose as much as we can." To that end, the firm inserted a streamlined palette of dark-stained wood, concrete plaster tinted gray, and terrazzo floors throughout.
Before: Glass Addition Exterior
After: Glass Addition Exterior
Before: Glass Addition Interior
After: Glass Addition Interior
The new addition reinforces the idea of the restaurant and building being "Crafted of Nature," as tall glass panels measuring between 2.4 to 2.8 meters (or 7.8 to over nine feet) look out on the landscaping, and make the dining room feel ensconced in nature. The darker terrazzo floors inside the main building segue into lighter terrazzo floors in the addition, to separate the spaces "into two atmospheres between light and dark," says the firm.
Interior Design: ASWA (Architectural Studio of Work-Aholic)