Sala Visitor Centre / Soh Design Studio

© Courtesy of

Architects: Soh Design Studio
Location: Hua Hin Hills,
Client: Siam Winery
Collaborating Partner: OSS Architects and Engineers
Main Contractor: Effective Construction
Interior Contractor: Pure Thai Decoration
Project Area: 800 sqm
Project Year: 2007-2008
Photographs: Courtesy of Soh Design Studio

site plan

Design Brief

Our vision was to create a building to behold the impressive vineyard against backdrop of picturesque mountains. The design brief was to capture the beauty of traditional Thai architecture while remaining contemporary.

© Courtesy of Soh Design Studio

Design Process

There were two design impetus. Firstly, we were inspired by local building culture in terms of forms and materials. Secondly, we were driven by traditional passive cooling system which was widely practiced in the region.

We travelled around central and North Thailand observing modern and traditional architecture. The repeatedly seen sensual curvilinear roof on traditional houses and temples caught our attention. The strong and modern curve feature not only serves as a main passive cooling structure but it also reflects thai sensuality and elegance. During those visits, we also admired the use of natural materials such as clay bricks, bamboos, rattan and wood.

© Courtesy of Soh Design Studio

Building Layout and Passive Cooling Concept

Layout of the building is according to the rules of passive cooling system – large open walkways, platforms with openable doors and windows, high roofs, generous overhangs, elevated from the ground and plenty of in-between spaces for natural ventilation. Most critically, it responds to the local prevailing winds to encourage ventilation and positions the longest elevation away from the afternoon sun. In addition to that, all spaces have large openings cladded with glass windows for natural daylight. Through these tall glass windows, users always have the views of lush landscape around them. Wine storage room is purposefully sunken into the ground in order to achieve a natural cooling effect.

© Courtesy of Soh Design Studio

Design Features

The main architectural feature of Sala are three overlapping curve roofs made of Cedar shingles, visible from a distant against the mountainous backdrop. Each curve roof houses a main function – first and lowest curve houses a mini-exhibition to introduce the vineyard upon arrival, second curve presents the restaurant while the last and highest curve contains the ultimate designated experience – wine tasting. Curvilinearity is emphasized by expressing all elements that made up the roofs from cedar shingles to the strong bended steel purlins.

© Courtesy of Soh Design Studio

Another unique feature is a 3m high brick wall flowing through all main spaces in a linear way. The brick wall gives a human scale to the tall interior and it is laid with continuous horizontal grooves to further highlight linearity of the building. Each brick is different and the overall appearance is highly tactile and organic.

Similarly, bamboo is an organic material aging naturally with time. We used bamboos to clad main facades, sun shades as well as ceilings. It is a highly versatile material. Local bamboos are small in diameter and they make intricate bamboo walls.

Cite: "Sala Visitor Centre / Soh Design Studio" 08 Oct 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 29 Jul 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=80741>

3 comments

  1. Thumb up Thumb down 0

    It’s quite captivating how the building merges with nature. The mountain-like roof, choice of materials and the huge glass windows fits the landscape like the pieces of a puzzle.

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