“For me, the challenge for designing this house was that the owner didn’t have any special requirement, neither sizes nor architectural designs. This was the challenge and difficulty when designing HOUSE 362,” said Jun Sekino, the architect of the project.
If talking about the meaning of ‘simplicity,’ various definitions and scopes of meanings will surely be given. House 362 is a simple two-storey house named after the house number. It was built within the same area of the old house of the owners, Kittiphoom and Sansanee Phongsurapipat. Their design requirements were just to be simplest and plainest and to be a house where members know of each other no matters where in the house they are.
According to their lifestyles and preferences, the design of the house finally turned out to be a house with non-fancy patterns and straightforward design—a white-box house topped with a gable roof inspired by domestic houses in the upcountry. The ‘half roof, half concrete’ structure makes the house look contemporary, yet warm, and suitable for everyday life of the family.
(Exterior wood cladding for a refined warmer atmosphere.)
Jun added that, the exterior wood cladding was not included in the plan at the beginning. The primary design was just a white box house. The architect later suggested to add wood cladding details for warm hospitality and intimate look, and the owners agreed with the idea. They chose to use original wood as it would surely meet the requirements of simplicity. The owners also considered the changes through time of the original wood as a charm. Teak wood was chosen for the exterior cladding panels, while Tabaek wood was used for the terrace which extends onto the backyard. The wood has been through the coloring process to drop its tones, well matching it to the overall look of the house.
(Patterns and textures of original wood have created special feelings at every touch.)
(The shape of gable roof was reduced to make it look contemporary.)
(When all the openings are open, the terrace will interconnect with the internal double space area, offering a spacious co-working space.)
Talking about the internal function, the designer has picked double spaces at the common area to be a gimmick of the house. The space was designed to be an open plan, combining all functions. The benefits of facing to the East made them decide to use large floor-to-ceiling openings to allow natural light. Instead of turning on the air conditioning, all openings are usually opened during the day allowing the wind flows. Anyway, when there are guests visiting or some special occasions, like parties, the air conditioning will be used. This house is comfortably fresh throughout the day thanks to its locating direction and openings.
(No need of too many decorative items. Only one large movable furniture can complete the space.)
(Apart from allowing natural light, these large openings also offer mutual experience between members living in this house and the old house. Members can see what the others are doing regardless where they are. Though they may live in different houses, their feelings are still bonded.)
(The stairs are set behind the wall to be easy on the eye with storage space beneath.)
(The pantry and the dining room are the spaces which Sansanee likes most, as they are a location where the users can see every area of the house.)
From the landing of the stairs to the second floor, we can see the hallway that the designer intentionally created as a bridge providing functions for each member’s individual space placed on the left and right of the hallway, while remaining the area as part of the double spaces, featuring continuity in using space of the members. Besides, it also creates the sense of movement and bonding in the family with closeness and a feeling of being together.
(A large opening set at the landing of the stairs boasts views outside the house.)
Apart from double spaces that give an airy look to the house, the designer also used the benefits of vertical space with slope ceilings parallel with the gable roof frame, connecting the feeling of outside spaces to the inside. The extended area is also beneficial in terms of ventilation and reduction of heat as the heat is generally floating up in the air and leaving the house through these openings.
Because the owner wants the house to look neat, plain and clean as much as possible, most of the furniture used are built-ins blended in with the walls. There are also extra storage spaces hidden behind the built-in cabinets, and built-in designs for electronic appliances. The team has used movable furniture only where necessary.
The activity room is also another special composition of this house. It is the room where the eight-year-old son can do homework and play music instruments with his dad. Knowing that, the designer chose to install the same surrounding glass windows as those installed in the double space area set next to it. Many awning windows were placed one after another to create a plain, yet unique pattern. Any window can be either open or closed based on one’s needs for usage.
“Before finalizing to go with these glass windows, we first had thought about glass blocks. However, we’ve changed our mind because we want the house to be easy on the eye, but glass blocks sometimes cannot offer us such feature. Jun also suggested we invest for our home through quality materials like aluminum that should meet the standards for doors’ and windows’ frames. The problem of seepage is highly concerned, so we decided to do shopping with TOSTEM by ourselves and see how the system worked. When we were ensured that the brand met our standards and was also vulnerable to vibration forces produced by earthquakes, we chose it for our openings. After the installation, we were so much satisfied, because, apart from its strength, its thinness and patterns were also simple and matched the house in the way that we wanted it to be,” said Sansanee about the surrounding openings.
(Special lock handles only from TOSTEM)
(Special additional locks only from TOSTEM)
“Sometimes, concepts are not always the most significant matter, but the feelings when entering the house and the warmth fostered between the family members are. The owner can use every space of the house naturally with friendliness and hospitality in return,” added Jun Sekino.
From a simple residential place in the very beginning to the house that finally becomes special within a simplicity, the architectural designs convey distinctive stories to form a unique structure of the house and internal spaces that truly fulfill the requirements of the owners.
Owners: Kittiphoom-Sansanee Phongsurapipat
Architect: Junsekino Architect and Design
Photographer: Jinnawat Boriharkijanan
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