U House was designed for multi-generation, large scale families, with complexity of many different requirements and preferences.
The concept was to create a “home” where a large number of family members can live happily together, with well balanced levels of interaction and privacy in appropriate parts of the house. With unique personal life styles and requirements, each family would be placed in different parts of the house, and should be well connected to one another.
Landscape and Architecture blend into one another seamlessly. Since the building fills up most site area, landscape must be planned as part of built structure. The open space can be seen from most parts of the house. The space flows freely from upper landscape down to lower landscape. Water surface in swimming pool, flows continuously down to feature pond below, and the green wall brought the flow back up onto the second floor. Green area was maximized by vertical garden concept.
Although expressed in a contemporary and clean-lined language, U House was design based on strict tropical guidelines. The house has been proved to fit well within the climate of Bangkok. The overall form is composed by clusters of blocks, overhanging and recessing to form interesting visual effect, as well as providing overhang to shield away excessive sun light and rain. Solid and void was planned to benefit the most from natural light and ventilation.
Theo House, Kaoyai
Location \ Kaoyai, Nakornratchasrima
Client \ Mr.Sittiwat Sahawat
Completion \ 2009
Area \ 470 m2
The initial brief from client was to design a weekend home for a family of 2 generations near Khaoyai national park. The land was part of “The Creek” which was a full scaled real-estate property, complete with internal road, man-made rock formation and artificial creeks running into a lake in the development center and necessary utilities. Abandoned for decades, landscape plantations have become fully grown, giving an impression of a real forest.
This particular plot of land is quite flat, completely surrounded by mountains, giving a strong impression of horizontal spatial connections between unique existing landscape elements. The house was preliminarily named “Bridge House” as earlier concept was to separate all compounds into their own private environment, connected by walking paths or bridges, as extension of space in to different corners of the land.
At the early stage, we developed a composition of three horizontal solid, concrete slabs, with integrations of light, transparent glass boxes as a play on juxtaposition of solidity and transparency. Each slab was located into different part of the site, surrounded by its own private space and unique view, connected by long bridging walkways through different existing landscape elements. During this stage of design development, a grandchild has arrived in the family with major revision to the overall layout concept.
The name of the house is changed to “Theo House” following the grandson’s name. A swimming pool and pool deck has been added as a new requirement, and the all compounds were relocated and closing in around the pool. The overall feeling was suddenly reverted to a warm, family orientated atmosphere, where everybody is closely connected to one another. Rather to being a physical bridge, the cluster becomes a conceptual connecting agent between each family member.
Although the house is merely a composition of raw and rustic concrete, glass and steel, the direction of space, and proportion, the overall massing blends in seamlessly with natural surrounding by responding bluntly to tropical direction and positions of existing trees. There is one part of the house that has been recently carved away around a tree trunk because it has grown unexpectedly large in a few years after completion. The end result give a hint of imperfection but the blunt response to surrounding nature is perceived as a humble expression.
Roof top of the house is all flat and has been designed to be accessible, and become an upper lawn where family can have mountains for walls and stars for ceiling.
OPNBX design is about harmonizing Architecture and Landscape. In this case, similar to other houses within “The Creek” series, it is not just to create new architecture and new landscape on a piece of land. It is rather to read into, to understand, and to be able to define key elements from what is already there, adding a refining touch, and creating architecture to blend in and yet to enhance the experience of the existing natural landscape to be the best of what it can be.
Terrace House, Kaoyai
Location: Khaoyai, Nakhonratchasima, Thailand
Contractor: Thaweemongkol Construction
Area: 400 sqm
Photo Credit: Pruk Dejkamhaeng
TERRACE HOUSE is one of OPNBX weekend home design within The Creek Estate near Khaoyai national park. The property was previously developed, completed, and abandoned for decades until man-made landscape has fully grown to become a real forrest. The plot has a panoramic view of the lake. The layout is stretched along the length of the plot, so that all rooms are facing the lake.
The design brief is to design a four-bedrooms weekend home, to house five family members plus a live-in maid and a gardener, and occasional guests for small gathering, adding up to large amount of functional area. The brief also calls for large continuing, inside-out open space: starting from ground terraces from all three bedrooms on the 1st floor, a large balcony from upper master bedroom, and roof terrace. This concept obviously inspired the name TERRACE HOUSE.
To make the area efficient, the actual enclosed interior area with air-conditioning is kept to minimal, whileopen-air, ‘terrace’ space is maximised to allow functional spill-over in great weather.
Like all other The Creek weekend homes, most architectural details of TERRAC HOUSE are based on ‘solid architecture’ concept, to make the house durable and easy to maintain, next to the national park. The main structure, and most architectural features; floors, walls, and roofs are all in solid concrete or plastered brick walls. Most interior and exterior finishes are kept simple and minimal: floors and walls are mostly in polished concrete, with minimal paint surface.
While most solid surfaces are in natural concrete grey colour, the openings are mostly in fixed glass with minimal operable panels to provide enough cross ventilations. All window frames and all line elements are in black steel and aluminium. This create a great visual combination of concrete, steel & glass look that blends in well among surrounding trees and mountains in the background.
The landscape design compliments the house by a play of levels. The entrance raises drop-off to the main entrance door one floor above the entrance road. The level then drops down to the lower floor parkings. From the approaching road, garden landform hides the lower service area of the house, and creates the illusion of a single storey house. The landscape platform, then lower down towards the lake, allowing the ground floor bedrooms to feel closer to the water.
OPNBX design is about harmonizing Architecture and Landscape. Similar to other houses within “The Creek” series, TERRACE HOUSE is about reading, understanding, and defining key elements of existing, adding a refining touch, and creating architecture to blend in, and yet to enhance the experience of the existing natural landscape.
Hill Top House, Kaoyai
Location \ Khaoyai, Thailand
Owner \ Mr. Michael de Santiesteban
Area \ 250 sqm.
Lake House, Kaoyai
Location \ Khaoyai , Nakornratchasrima
Owner \ Mr.Anucha Sihanatthakatakul
Area \ 490 sqm.
Completion \ 2009
A concept of Separation has become a subtle technique that helped creating the "weekend home effect". Being away to a weekend home should feel different from the city home. All rooms were intentionally separated and could only be linked by semi outdoor walkway. This allowed users to experience the outdoor atmosphere while moving through different spaces within the compound.
"The best view of the lake" was another key that directed the layout. Setting out process had to be done on site, adjust and re-adjust. The final adjustment was a matter of 1-2 degree angle. However, the impression of best view was not just a single scene framed in the living room, contributed by the sequence of space leading up to it.
Arriving at Lake House was designed as a journey to re-discover the Lake. Approaching sequence was carefully outlined. From the entrance of the development, the road would curved around and enter the perimeter at the far end of the site. Then the internal road curved almost a full circle back, around natural landform, grass, shrubs, and trees. All little surrounding elements gradually uncovered the arrival, court with an existing center tree, surrounded by a panoramic valley view, but not a sight of the lake at this point.
All walls facing lake view were mainly glass panels, for unobstructed view frontage. The extra wide overhang helped to protect the glass panels from rain and excessive sun light. Being able to keep all windows open in full daylight throughout the day, and during heavy rain was quite a tropical luxury. Despite an obvious simplified, contemporary look, Lake House was a true tropical house in a unique way.
A Weekend home would usually be built in a great place far away from everyday environment. It is an architectural shell that provides protection, containment, and at the same time, helps to enhance the connection between users and surrounding atmosphere. Every great place requires unique design solution, like the Lake House that is there for the lake, and vice versa.