BodinChapa Architects designed Pasang, a contemporary, prefab cafe built with modular elements near the verdant city of Chiang Rai, Thailand. Envisioned as a community space where visitors and locals can interact and learn about the region’s relationship with pineapple farming, the cafe references the landscape with its natural material palette. Fitted with operable wood and glass louvers, the building can also be opened up to cross breezes for natural ventilation.

exterior view of cafe

steel framed glazed doors

Located in a “sufficient economy village” and slightly hidden away from sight, the 90-square-meter Pasang takes its architectural cues from the country’s Lanna vernacular architecture, which used prefabrication in the construction of houses and temples. Constructed with a steel frame fitted with glass, the cafe was designed to embrace the surrounding landscape of fields, fruit orchards, stream and mountains beyond. To mitigate the region’s tropical climate and harsh solar gain, the architects partially wrapped the glass facade with screens of operable louvers. The glazed casement windows can also be opened to let in cooling breezes.

ground floor service area

upper level

“Designed to span the pillar every 1 meter with wood louvers and glass louvers between, the structure can serve as both the wall of the building and voids for natural ventilation,” explained the architects in a project statement. “By opening all the louvers, [one] can clearly see the form of the architecture and connection of the interior. The building has conveyed a locality in a contemporary style, which is a combination of traditional local wisdom and modern construction technology.”

upper floor with potted plant, two chairs, small table, and partially open wooden louvers

wooden roof covering the cafe entrance

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The cafe is topped with gabled roofs to echo the surrounding architecture. The light-filled interior is divided into split levels to allow for views and to avoid obstructing the flow of natural light and breezes indoors. The kitchen and main seating area are located on the ground floor, while the bathrooms are housed in a freestanding concrete structure. Additional seating can be found on the upper level.

+ BodinChapa Architects

Images by Rungkit Charoenwat

aerial view of cafe and surrounding neighborhood with some houses, greenery and mountains in the distance