Minimalist Bangkok House Design Makes Perfect Private Home

How do you create an open, spacious home, which is great for having get-togethers yet also preserves your family’s privacy? This was the crux of the design challenge IDIN Architects faced with PA House, a residential home in Bangkok, Thailand.


IDIN Architects is a Thai firm, and has won numerous international awards for its hotels, resorts, public buildings, and residential buildings. It approaches each project with its philosophy Integrating Design Into Nature (IDIN), and has done so since being founded in 2004 by Jeravej Hongsakul.


PA House’s exterior has a luxury, minimalist feel. The theme continues inside, between the 5 bedrooms and communal living spaces. White stone walls are met with light-coloured wood panels and a swimming pool.


We interviewed the team’s lead architect, Jeravej.

THE PLUS: How did you approach the design for PA House?
Jeravej Hongsakul:
I started by studying the site’s context. One constraint was that it was in unpleasant surroundings. Also, the owner had a special requirement for privacy, but also asked for the house to be roomy and clear at the same time. These conditions led me to design the architectural elements, the wall planes, which when composed solved both problems simultaneously. The wall planes are created for screening out the outside-in view, opening the inside-out view and creating an internal space at the same time.


TP: Why did you go with all white for the exterior?
I tried to make it as simple and clean as possible in order to serve the owner, who likes minimalism and bright tones. I wanted to make the upper plane appear to float, as though it just merely touches the lower level. The material and colour are applied differently to separate the upper level and lower level but still go with the bright and clean tone.


TP: The light-coloured wood blends very well with the design. How did you choose it?
Due to the fact that the owner really loves stone material, the predominant material this house is stone. Because of the design concept that the house is composed of many planes to control opening for view and closing for privacy, the exterior materials continue into interior space harmoniously. Some stone planes get into the interior space. We selected the wood colour to match the stone colour. Also, we wanted to make interior space soft and warm so we needed it to be wood. But the colour of wood needed to relate to the stone to keep the overall mood and tone consistent.


TP: This home has a more minimalist feel compared with some of your others. Why did you go with this?
Normally, all IDIN’s projects are always resolved in different ways depend on requirements, contexts and constraints. For private house projects, I usually focus on the owner’s character and try to translate it into architectural design as much as possible. Every house designed by IDIN reflects the character of the owner, not designer. Similarly, PA House appears to reflect a young couple with a new generation’s lifestyle.

TP: Is the client happy with their new family home?
They seem to be very happy with this house. Although the function area became slightly smaller than their original living style, since they’ve just had a baby! And they got another car when the house was almost complete.


TP: What do you enjoy most about designing for residential projects?
As each person has their own characteristic and style, the characteristic of the owner creates uniqueness in the house. Interpreting the characteristics of the owner and translating it into an architectural project is the most enjoyable process. I love to brainstorm with the team and see how far we can go with it.

TP: What is it like being an architect in Bangkok?
In the past 10 years, it was quite discouraged because many people did not really understand that architect is necessary and prefer buying developed houses instead. Now, people still prefer buying developed housing, but interest in art is increasing. Middle-income people tend to use architectural services more and more, rather than just the rich as it was in the past. People are becoming more interested in uniqueness and different lifestyles, so there are many new firms that being set up in Bangkok.


TP: Your philosophy, “Integrating Design Into Nature”, suggests a hierarchy in which nature dominates design. Do you think design will ever dominate nature?
Although we always design by integrating both tangible and intangible context but sometimes architecture may lead the nature or user behaviour as well. For example, a passive design architecture which is designed conforming to the site context, it then may affect to the surrounding ecology overtime. It is often the case that some space which is designed on a certain user behaviour, but this in turn affects or creates a new behaviour as well as relationship in the same time. It is an interesting phenomenon that nature dominates design, then design dominates nature. It makes me think about the quote of Winston Churchill: ”We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us”.


Floor Plan