Tucked into the green hills of Chiang Mai, Thailand, Hill Lodge was originally built as a private home for a nature-loving family. But the new owners wanted something new, so they commissioned Bangkok-based SOOK Architects to convert the wooden bungalows into a guest lodge. The team completed the luxury renovation using locally-sourced materials and craftsmanship, ensuring ample opportunities to spot the local wildlife.
The complex, comprised of three bungalows and a hut, was originally designed for family use, but due to its popularity among visitors, the family decided to revamp the complex into a resort. The project began with a reorganization of the layout, converting the main timber hut into a restaurant, lobby, and office space. The remaining buildings have been designated as four bungalow suites, a large three-bedroom bungalow, and 2-3 houses for employees and their families. All of the guests have access to a cantilevered elephant lookout.
Although most of the complex was completely updated, the architects stayed true to the traditional Siamese vernacular architecture found in the original design. The redesign also focused on creating a strategic layout in order to provide views from almost every angle, all while respecting the site’s existing natural landscape.
During the construction process, the architects worked with local carpenters to complete the renovation, which, due to the sloping topography, was quite complicated. The materials had to be shaped just precisely to enable easy and quick transportation through the dense forest. To facilitate transportation, steel was chosen to frame the buildings. This also enabled the architects to create the extended timber-clad volumes and cantilevered forms. On the interior, all of the bungalows have wooden walls, flooring, and roof shingles, all made by local craftsman.
Photographs via Spaceshift Studio