Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
SIAMESE BLOSSOM in Raminthra Road, Bangkok by Somdoon Architects Ltd
August 6th, 2013 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: Somdoon Architects Ltd
Siamese Blossom is a townhouse project on Raminthra Road, a suburb on the north of Bangkok. The scheme aims to create a living space within greenery, conveying a sense of community and to fix the common problems of townhouses. These include a lack of natural ventilation and a lack of natural light found in a long and narrow plot.
The townhouses are arranged to allow the narrow elevations facing East and West to gain minimum heat from the sun. In contrast, the long elevations entail openings facing the North and South to get natural ventilation. They become perpendicular with the main public road in the centre of the development. Plants walls and fences along the main public road provide a secure and controlled access the townhouses, whilst maintaining a friendly atmosphere. The townhouses are systematically designed to be 12m apart. The space in between becomes a shared garden and a key space for natural cross-ventilation between the two rows. In this respect the gardens become a community space as they are only accessible by the immediate townhouses.
Each row of townhouses consists of 7-8units with 3 different plot widths; 4.8m, 5.2m and 5.45m.
1 4.8m wide plot – 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms
2 5.2m wide plot – 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, with internal courtyard on 2nd floor next to bedrooms, allowing bedrooms to have cross ventilation and more natural light
3 5.45m wide plot – 3 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms, with internal courtyard on the 3rd floor and all living rooms in all units are detached from party walls
All townhouse units are organized vertically starting from parking, living on first floor, dining and kitchen at mezzanine and bedrooms at the upper floors. The first floor and mezzanine floor continue from front to back of the townhouse allowing natural cross ventilation. They are split to create 5m high double height ceiling for the living area facing the backyard. The staircase is located in the centre of the unit, operating as a continuous internal court with a sky light, letting in natural sun light. This internal court in conjunction with the louvered roof creates a stack effect for natural ventilation.
The living room and bedroom area are partially recessed from the party wall in all second to last units of each row. The recessed corner accommodates windows for natural light and a pocket garden space. It accentuates the connection between the inside and outside forming an idea of living in the garden. This is expressed through the living room and bedrooms adjacent to the pocket gardens.
The brick screens are the primary element of the townhouse façade. It is an inexpensive and common material in Thailand. Therefore it has a low carbon footprint and is better suited for the skills of the local construction labour. The gradation of brick density creates variation of solid and translucent quality which responds to the use of the space behind such as bathrooms or kitchen or air-condensing units. The brick screens have various functions such as acting as privacy screens, providing sun shading and covering of air-condensing units and downpipes.
We increased the variation within the units by simple methods to archive the sense of natural community and create better identity for each unit. This is achieved by mirroring units or increasing the 3rd floor height on random units. These taller units are highlighted by the red brick coloured façade leaving all other units coloured grey.
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