Horizontal House by AAd

This luxurious vacation house located in Khao Yai, Thailand, has been designed in 2019 by AAd.

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The Thai well-known architecture firm Ayutt and Associates design (AAd) designs a latest modern vacation house at Khao Yai, Nakhon Ratchasima province, Thailand in the gated-residential community. The site is surrounded by national forest and heritage mountain, Where the natural curtain of lush tropical trees surrounds the site, whilst its slightly slopping terrain offers an ideal location for the house itself. The owner bought this 6 standard plots of land which is almost 10,000sq.m. of site area. This gated community is nothing new, just like the standard community in Thailand. All the standard houses are designed in the same way by copy and paste with bad ventilation, bad taking view and similar look for all the house types. Thus, the owner asked AAd to design their dream vacation house instead of buying the standard house from the developer.

The briefs that AAd received from the owner is for the vacation house with the big space for private gallery, paintings, art works and super car garage. However the shape and main look of the house has to similar to other houses in this community, and the construction area of the house also has to be limited as the regulation control. Since the requirements of this house is bigger than 9,000 sq.m., the house has to be separated into 3 phases and divided into 3 main functions to avoid the exceed area according to the regulation. All Phases are designed to connect each other by the underground walk way and on ground landscape. Phase 1 is the private residences and recreation areas, Phase 2 is Private gallery and Phase 3 is super car garages and lady club area.

AAd creates the program of phase 1 (private residence) by dividing the function between day-time area and night-time area. The day-time area is on the lower floor, Living zones, with full connection to the outside, the garden, swimming pool and mountain view. Most of living areas are directly connected to the garden with big clear sliding partitions allow the air flow through into the double height space to reduce the heat for tropical climate. The night-time area is on the second floor, to provide privacy and safety. This main night-time area is for master bedroom and kid bedrooms. The layout is designed in response to the tropical orientation. The significant function like master bedroom and private working room, has the high ceiling for ventilation and slightly shifted a mass forward to create the cantilever balcony and horizontal canopy, this also functions as eaves for rain and sun protection for all building surface. This house’s lines are predominantly horizontal, contrast to the verticality of the mountain background. These climate protection concepts are applied from the traditional trace of Thai architecture which is the most suitable for rain and tropical condition in Thailand and South East Asia. AAd also designs the house by maximising the opened space design, That opens up the whole space to the large surrounding outdoor landscape. All interior space is bright and open, and at the same time, have rooms that naturally flowed into each other and the outdoors.The architectural placement of the house allows for the viewing of the trees and mountain from all of the main spaces, from either of its two storeys right down to the basement.

The main living spaces are housed on ground level, allowing the spaces to transit seamlessly out into the garden and accompanying 50m. length swimming pool. There is the feature spiral staircase next to the pool terrace and sunken dining area, leading to the second floor terrace, gives the outdoor living area a visual center whilst also promoting outside vertical circulation. The axis of the entrance is adjacent to one of the plot’s longer sides. A main black granite feature wall at the entrance creates a privacy that subtly shield the garden from full view whilst maintaining a welcoming atmosphere. Full height glass window on the pool-facing side dramatically open up the house to the outside. AAd’s intention is to allow the greenery of the exterior landscape and the borrowed view of the background mountain into the refined spaces of the house’s interior. Next to the living and dining space, The big outdoor terrace also provides access to the swimming pool, that has an amazing view of the landscape and mountains in the distance. The service areas, maid cluster and Asian kitchen are tucked deep inside at the back of the house by separating the entrance. The driveway leads to the main parking space of the house where the on ground garage and basement garage elevator are located, discreetly screening it from the outside.

On the second floor sits a cosy family area flanked by bedrooms on either side. The main circulation pathways on this second floor are integrated as the private gallery showing the local of art collections and paintings. The master bedroom’s spacious interiors allow it to accommodate a working room as well as a big walk-in closet that can be expanded by drawing back the partition separating it from the bathroom. The master bedroom’s roof terrace is accessed via a black steel sheet spiral staircase from the pool terrace below, to allow the owner to access the swimming directly from their own room. The master bathroom is also have its own private stone garden where the owner can convert to outdoor onsen in the feature. The kid’s rooms sit on the opposite side of the floor. The master kid room is cantilevered above the swimming pool below and taking the panoramic view of the aforementioned landscape and mountain.

By making good use of the site’s sloping typography, the basement was designed such that it opens up into a lower section of the landscape, thus making it feel almost like being on ground level. This floor is dedicated to entertainment and relaxation, private multi-purpose hall, lady working room, kid study room and zen garden. This basement is designed with natural sunlight and ventilation by providing the rectangular open space throughout the stair hall and stone garden. Sensibly placed skylights also help to bring ample sunlight into the spaces and brighten up the basement naturally. Interestingly, these skylights also provide a spectacularly clear view of the mountain through the main stair hall. Additional special areas are super car garage housed directly below the on-ground living space in a naturally-ventilated basement. The garage is also designed specially by mechanical engineering for each specific cars, heat, moisture, sound proof and car lift.

One main sustainable characteristic of the house is the use of horizontal cantilevering slabs to shield the internal spaces from direct sunlight, whilst also providing a substantial degree of natural illumination. A cross ventilation strategy is applied throughout the house to ensure that the house has adequate wind circulation to cool the various spaces naturally. The small modern pocket stone gardens on each floor are also additional sources of internal court feature, natural light and ventilation. As a result, electrical energy consumption is reduced without compromising on the optimal conditions for thermal comfort. The façade is composed of a selection of local materials, such as plaster and painted wall, rough stone slab, teak timber and large glass window.

Photography by Soopakorn Srisakul and Ayutt Mah

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- by Matt Watts