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From Theploy Thanavattnakul
Located in a rapidly expanding zone of Bangkok city, this mixed-use building is a mere solution to what it means by the contemporary tropical urban living. Within a 320 square-meter compound, the obsolete existing house structure was leveled and a new 4-storey building was planned to suit new multi functional purposes – an architectural design office on the lower floor, a house for a small family on the upper floors, and an art collection space on the top floor.
From the start, the architect, who is also the owner, has come up with the concept “The Art of Living with Time.” Such an idea is to have the inhabitants joyfully grow old with the building and be inspired by the tropical environment so that the building has to have strong relationships with “time and trees.” Consequently, the concept of time is conceived by how the architect can express the qualities of available local materials when they perpetually interact with the hot-humid climate in Bangkok. The 40% of the plot is dedicated to trees and the green space. This will, of course, lead to the part of joyful living, meaning that the layout and the space planning of each floor are specifically designed to provide the constant cross ventilation in order to create the thermal comfort, which would anticipate the reduction of energy consumption.
The building has a simple rectangular form, which has the wide elevations oriented on the axis of North-South and the narrow elevations on East-West. With the height of 15-meter above the ground, the building outlook is composed by planar elements on 4 sides. However on the northern side, the plane is pushed out to create a double-layered façade for the fact that the interior space can open up to the constant day light, yet still has a shade to protect the rain. Then the form is intentionally carved into different void types that allow the natural lighting to poetically penetrate into the interior spaces.
Instead of using the smooth and clean surfaces from the conventional cement plaster and paint for the exteriors, the architect chooses the rough and raw texture of the exposed cement block walls in order to anticipate stains to take place over time because that can create a unique harmony with the greenery. Moreover from the technical point of view, the use of the cement block walls is done by the double-layered implementation - the concrete block for the outer and the lightweight brick for the inner with air cavity in the middle – in which the walls are active as the heat insulation during the day and to keep the cool during the night.
On the ground level a compact tropical garden is set to be the humidity generator of the site as well as to give a pleasant visual effect. Also on the other upper levels, there are several pocket gardens at different terrace spots along with climbing trees vertically situated on a few facades. So the sum of all green areas can make refreshing visual relationships not just for the interiors and exteriors, but also for the lower level to the upper ones.
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Area: 490 sq.m.
Architect: INchan atelier
Principal architect: Intanon Chantip
Contractor: Pigad Consultant co., ltd.
Year of completion: 2016
Photographs: Peerapat Wimolrungkarat