Text description provided by the architects. Sala Canal House is located alongside of an old canal surrounded by a garden with various local grown fruits in Bangkok, Thailand. Not far from this site, there is an old floating water market open daily, where the local residents come shopping for fresh food. You can still feel, smell, and experience the traditional Thai way of living around this area.
Sala (ศาลา), is a Thai language which means, “building or open pavilion used as a meeting and relaxing place for people”. You can find Sala in any parts of Thailand such as, schools, temples, old villages. This house was built with the concept of the shades of Sala. We wanted a place for the owner and their family and friends to absorb the local atmosphere by feeling the canal breeze, watching the traditional boats passing by, chatting and relaxing in a calm peaceful mind.
The main requirement from the owner was to design a house for two generations, but to maintain a privacy for both family. We have designed complex for each family on a different level, connected by a terrace. The two structure looks like a one big house visually but actually are separate and have absolute seclusion. All the rooms have the canal view. Some functions and facility such as the kitchen, main terrace and the swimming pool are shared by both families.
The Kitchen area, which is in between the two complex and under the connecting terrace, acts like a Sala and is the key area for this project. The ceiling are double floor height and spaciously designed. The two family enjoys cooking together, so it functions as a place for gathering and having conversations with a view of the canal.
This house is also made to adapt to the tropical humid weather of Thailand. By lifting the first floor up, it allows wind to flow in from many directions easily like a natural ventilation system. It is how the traditional Thai houses are made when there were no air-conditioning. Also, we placed a long cantilever shading to protect the excessive sunlight since the house was facing south, which usually is a direction avoided in Thai buildings because of the extreme heat.
As for the material, we used simple material such as teak wood and concreate and steel, which is easy to construct and maintain in the humid area. It is locally available and cheaper than imported products.
Sala Canal House belongs uniquely to this specific site and has used the wisdom of the old Thai technique to establish harmony with the modern way of building a house.