When asked to design a vacation home near the Khao Yai National Park in Thailan, Chutayaves Sinthuphan, founder of Site-Specific Company Limited set out to redefine the traditional Thai home. While there were many elements of the Thai home that Sinthuphan wanted to retain, he wanted to modernize them and incorporate more sustainable strategies to reduce the home's impact. This three-story, 4-bedroom home stays true to the spirit of traditional Thai architecture while efficiently integrating natural ventilation, daylighting, and rainwater collection.
After exploring many traditional Thai homes, Sinthuphan came to the conclusion that the style was not so important as the spirit of the homes. He also found that the “Thai house is about living within its surroundings.” So he set out to create a home that retained traditional elements, but upgraded them in a modern and sustainable way. In most Thai homes, the bottom floor is open to the environment – this is where most people spend their days when it is hot. The second story holds private space for the bedrooms. In this home, the public areas such as the kitchen, living room, entrance, and dining area are enclosed in glass on the first floor. This creates a direct connection with the outdoors through the windows while maintaining privacy. The second floor still holds the bedrooms, and the top floor features an outdoor courtyard that is elevated to provide views of the site and the breezes.
In order to eliminate the need for air conditioning, the home utilizes on natural ventilation and the stack effect to move hot air up and out of the home, while drawing cool air in through the ground floor. A staircase in the back corner of the home acts as the stack through which air moves. Meanwhile, the exterior of the home makes use of efficient building techniques to minimize heat gain in the bedrooms. A double wall system with an air gap in the middle provides insulation to prevent heat from entering the living space. This hot air is naturally circulated away from the home and the exterior is coated with earth-colored plaster reminiscent of traditional wood siting. The house also includes a rain water collection system, an entry point water filtration system, and it’s set up to take advantage of solar and wind energy systems in the future.
According to Site-Specific Company, “In the end, we believe that we [are] starting to define the new definition of Thai architecture by simply looking into the spirit of Thai houses rather than just imitation of form. Also, we believe that we have succeeded in creating a simple eco-friendly home for the family.”
Images ©Site-Specific Company Ltd.