Total Floor Area
A few years ago, Jotisakulratana family acquired a piece of land in a quiet Bangkok housing compound, surrounded by luscious greenery. Every piece of land here is faced by both a quiet front road and an 8 meters wide green belt at its back. Living here simply means that one will always look out onto a garden that shields and offers a sense of tranquility hard to find in the bustles of Bangkok.
As their piece of land is right next to that of their close relatives who also planned to build a house, the two families decided to “share” something. They had a vision that their houses would answer to each of their specific needs, allowing them to lead separate lives yet forming a harmonious whole that occasionally brings them together. “We have a fluid vision of the spaces and felt that the house can be transformed to accommodate our changing needs. We foresee something voluminous and airy,” the owner stated.
Conceived as two houses in a continuous landscape, spaces of both houses are organized around a central courtyard that both divides and reunites them. It is only underneath the seemingly harmonious envelopes that both houses acquire their own spatial characteristics. Jotisakulratana’s house is uniquely distinguished from its twin sister in terms of internal spatial organization which is translated into different living patterns and spatial sequences. Shared spaces are vertically connected, penetrated and pieced through to give light and natural ventilation. Private areas can be both individually closed-off and interconnected to accommodate specific life styles of the inhabitants.
On the ground level, spaces are continuous to allow better flow of light, air as well as sight. On the upper levels, family library, photography studio, common spaces and bedrooms were organized and configured to create a sense of relationship that is at once private and public.
Relationships to both the courtyard and the green belt were taken into account. The house is also a result from the action of surrounding environment such as light and air, which variously saturates the spaces with fluctuating qualities. Thus homogeneous walls enveloping the house were given specific performances and tasks, resulting in subtly differing appearances throughout the house.
Exterior and interior elements are now working together to create an ensemble of spaces that answer the owners’ needs. The real character of the house does not rest in signs of identity added onto its exterior surfaces. The house does not work for “everyone,” but responds to specific habits and rituals of its residents. Their visions became guiding principles that led the design to its realizations. In many ways, essential efforts within the design process came from the owners whose input and spatial requirements became the pretext for the design. The life of this house begins as its construction ends. It is to be shaped and reshaped by the owners’ transforming lives, as put in their words “it answers our callings, and allow us to transform.”