When Mr. Phol asked Bangkok-based architecture studio TOUCH to design for him a private home in Thailand’s north-central province of Petchabun, the brief came with a challenge — the home would have to operate entirely off the grid. Set approximately 1,200 meters above sea level in a rural area, the remote property has no electricity, water supply or even other buildings nearby. As a result, the architects created TREE Sukkasem VILLA, a self-sustaining home that combines traditional Thai design and contemporary elements.

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a wood and concrete home with a rainwater collection system surrounded by trees

Completed in 2013, the TREE Sukkasem VILLA is a one-story bungalow-style home that spans 450 square meters with a wraparound deck. The three-bedroom, two-bath home also includes an L-shaped open-plan living area, dining room and kitchen oriented toward the south. Each room opens directly to the deck and views of the lush surroundings. The home’s open design takes advantage of cool mountain winds so that no air conditioning is needed. 

a landscape of green rolling hills with a home surrounded by trees in the middle

As the architects explained in a project statement, the “concept of this house is to live without public electricity and water but with the house itself sustainable. In order to create a “green” architecture, simple functions with clear design and easy to construct are the main point to design this villa, yet it still comfortable because of tropical-design was added into the process.”

Related: Low-impact Thai home uses modular design to harmonize with nature

a clean white bathroom with a claw-foot bathtub surrounded by walls of windows. a person behind the tub is opening one of the windows.

To take advantage of passive solar conditions, the architects elevated the building off the ground to promote passive cooling and as a preventative measure against snakes and other wild animals from entering the home. The reinforced concrete roof was also designed with deep overhangs to mitigate solar heat gain and is integrated with a rainwater collection system as well as solar panels. A diesel generator provides supplementary electricity. Locally sourced materials, such as wood and bamboo, were used throughout the home. 

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Images by Chalermwat Wongchompoo