Total Floor Area
Whether we see architecture as an object within space or understand it as an ensemble of setting that transcends the limit of its physical body, we cannot deny that each object or setting must inherently relate to someone, something and somewhere. None of them is ever autonomous.
Conceived simultaneously, the 6x6 and 5x25 houses belong to cousins of similar age that have also been best friends for as long as they could remember. When in need of their own houses, which would be built on adjacent pieces of land they inherited, the first question that came to their minds was; together or separate? While Itt Rommaneeyangkoon would share the house with his mother, Roeng-ek Warnaprux is starting his new family. Both men attune to certain types of privacy and publicity that are both similar and distinct. And with both pieces of land being surrounded by other familial neighbors, the first task of the architect is thus to understand not only the physical requirements but also socio-cultural specificities within the micro scale of the family in order to translate both the individual and collective needs into spatial configuration.
Seen as one, both houses share certain stylistic appearance. Yet at a closer look, each house contains contrarily different spatial configuration as well as façade dialogues. While the planning of the 5x25 is more open and free, the 6x6 is more traditionally “enclosed” or defined, resulting from diverse requirements in terms of habits, rituals as well as personal preferences. Yet, despite this essential difference, the two houses have aspects that are displayed similarly, thus make them an essentially integrated setting, rather than two separate objects. In both houses, different activities are simply translated into different enclosures; walls as well as apertures, creating diverse settings for lives and activities that occur within.
Despite being two “buildings”, both must be seen as a compound of relationship. This does not mean that the diverse situations by which the houses are lived need to manifest themselves in the same material, nor be spatially continuous, nor given the same profile. The seemingly cold black steel veil was born along with the warm wooden skin, while the bright magenta plays with the much more somber gray. Design, in this sense, depends on insight into situational similarities as well as differences, establishing the ground for analogical relationships rather than to concentrate on the shape or form of the objects.
With both houses “facing” and embracing familial neighbors on all sides, the private can be as open as the public. To design the two houses together is to develop vocabularies that will demonstrate how settings that are distant and distinct from one another can also interconnected, how they can remain apart and be joined. In this case the buildings, the place and the activities can be joined only if they are distinct, interlocked only if separate, for only when they are different can they perform their roles respectively and only then that the energies of the daily activities animate the houses.