- Architect In Charge: Tonkao Panin, Tanakarn Mokkhasmita
- Design Team: Tanasab Apiwanarat
- Client: Bunjong Thanapase, Phruet Thanapase
- Engineering: Yongyot Rotchaya, Bunyat Lertbussarakam
- Country: Thailand
Text description provided by the architects. Located among a tranquil landscape of Roi-Et, a province in the South-Eastern region of Thailand, the context already offers a sense of retreat that becomes the purpose of this residence. Conceived as a group of interrelated dwelling spaces, the owners intend for the place to be many things. Not only a house for two, a doctor and his mother, it also includes spaces that anticipate future extended family. Thus the house need to answer to diverse requirements of the Thanapase family that foresees three generations living in it.
As the South-Eastern region is known for its extreme dry weather and heat, the house need to first and foremost address these climatic condition. The first question the architect needed to answer was how to accommodate these requirements while retain the sense of privacy and tranquility that the context offer.
The decision was simple. To sustain both individual and familial needs, as well as embrace the tropical climate, the house is organized as four living quarters joined together by open veranda and layers of protective enclosures. These living quarters though joined by their linear organization, are also separated to let light and air in. Enveloped by “breathable” brick wall at the front and see-through steel mesh façade at the back, the views from within are always framed to give the inhabitants different sets of relationship with the landscape.
Layers of façade act as protective walls make the house at once enclosed and free. With these breathable envelopes, domestic activities are always framed by the presence of the surrounding landscape, which becomes a background for lives within the house.
The house is organized into four interconnected living quarters. All private spaces are joined by familial and communal areas. Yet some of the rooms are not defined by walls, but instead the perimeter of those rooms are left blur, allowing usages to emerge. This also occurs between the interior and exterior spaces of the house. Apertures are stratified in such a way that the owners’ relationship to the surrounding landscape can be adjusted or chosen, which creates a free play of light and darkness, the fresh air, the breeze as well as the views.
The house is designed with a unique sense of lightness, along with the sensitive stratifications of its enveloping enclosures that made the house welcoming while remain a private sanctuary. This is achieved by employing steel supporting structures that work together with both contrasting material such as brick blocks and harmonious elements such as steel mesh doors and windows. Brick blocks and their steel structure at the front lend the house its sharp simplicity that resonates with steel mesh enclosure at the back, thus turning the otherwise weighty materials into something light and airy.
Anticipating changes, the house has to be flexible enough to provide a framework for future transformation. Such simple balance is not easy to achieve. Had the design been so particular, the house will remain firmly fixed refusing any functional adjustments. Had the design been loose, each space may become unidentified lacking particularity that lends the sense of the place to it.
It is only through careful anticipation that the design achieves the balance of being both framed and free. Materials and elements are configured and assembled with the language pertinent to current usages, giving an ambient of something contemporary. It is a house conceived from a close connection between inner demands and outer context, creating a unified whole that belongs to both the owner and the place it is situated.