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Nowadays, houses were usually built with solid wall construction to foster privacy, resulting in no interaction with the community, to the extent that Bangkokians sometimes become more isolated and stressed.
For this reason, architects from AAd – Ayutt and Associates design opted to design the Veil House to share the green space within the house with the surrounding neighborhood without sacrificing privacy for the people inside. Let’s explore the concept of this house together.
Constantly surrounded by traffic
This house is located on Sukhumvit 101 road, a shortcut path from Srinakarin road and Pattanakarn roads where people pass by all the time. This alley’s constraint is that there are no footpaths, and most houses feature high fences to ensure as much privacy as possible.
Easy-care box-shaped house and gardens
According to the owner, the challenge is to design a modern house that offers privacy, allows the owner to see the garden from within the house, features a boundary wall gate, and does not want the neighbors to observe the activities or people living inside the house.
“In a typical design, the answer to this challenge is to surround the house with a courtyard, which, of course, it had been done in many of our house designs. However, the method did not satisfy the total needs of living. Hence, we have to move beyond the traditional pattern of designing the courtyard surrounding the house.”
Inspired by modern condominiums
It is important to make a home garden as private as possible when it comes to function. Disagreed by the architect, he came up with the idea of sharing a private garden with communities, road users, or passers-by. As a result, this home concentrates on the garden and uses a modern white house to compliment the landscape.
“Most of the time, housing designs are constantly being developed. Instead, we observe that the garden in the house has never been continuously developed. As a result, we took inspiration from modern condominiums that employ gardens as space barriers and shared some gardens with the community, making the Bangkok region greener. If we can design ten of these dwellings, we will be able to restore the additional green area to Bangkok.”
The façades divide the landscape into three distinct areas.
In the plot of approximately 450 Square Wah, the architect filled the earth for 1.50 meters to retain the eye level above the road. People outside can only see the tops of the trees and are unable to see the activities inside the house. It also helps in noise reduction from outside the house. The two-story house is built on part of the land while the landscape took over the other half, surrounded by steel plate facades that block the light and the eyesight yet allow wind to flow into the house and pass to the neighbors. The facades divide the landscape into three parts: Public Garden, Semi-Private Garden, and Private Garden.
A landscape shared with neighbors
From the diagram, the blue arrows illustrate the directions that the residents could see their neighbors’ treetops. Vice versa, the red arrows indicate the areas where the neighbors can see the treetops of this house which are aligned with the neighbor’s windows. However, with privacy in mind, the architect creates barriers to the courtyard and conceals the view of the house by using the facades. A brick wall façade is used at the entrance. A Steel Plate Façade is used as a fence with a height of almost five meters when combined with the soil filling level that acts as a barrier for the Semi-private Garden. The Aluminum Strip Façade is used to conceal the private areas of the house.
“When there is a construction for a new house, people living nearby are usually concerned about the style and the appearance of the house, as well as the new neighbors’ friendliness. Our landscape design that shared the view with neighbors can contribute to the development of positive relationships. This one house’s design allows it to share a landscape with up to seven households.”
For the entrance of the house, shrubs are planted along the fence line. A large tree is placed to highlight the entrance while allowing passersby to view and listen to the sounds of birds at the same time. Next to the right side, the parking lot has featured a ramp for the elderly. It is also a resting area for people walking or jogging in the morning since there are no sidewalks in this alley. At night, the light from the parking area also illuminates the alley.
Next, the garden on the left is the Semi-Private Garden that is accessible to the neighbors and allows them to glimpse into the Private Garden view. However, the section is veiled in the Steel Plate Façade restricting views to the inside. The last and most private area is on the right side between the dining area and the living area, as well as the top floor between the office and the housekeeper’s room. When the residents slide all the windows open, the gardens in all four directions become one with the house. It also makes the house appear larger.
All gardens are designed to be hilly to increase vertical green space. When people come in, they feel that there is more space. At the same time, the elderly can sit down comfortably during their walking workout. The large trees on the hill also help block the view from outside while giving the people outside the view of the treetop as well.
Open Plan Function Layout
For the interior, the function is arranged as an Open Plan, with a living area, a dining area, and a kitchen lined up next to each other. The staircase is designed to resemble a sculpture with a glass balustrade to mirror the garden. In addition to strolling up and down, residents can sit down and talk to people in the kitchen. Under the stairs, there is also a seating area where the residents can sit or lie down to see the garden throughout the day.
Another intriguing feature is that the second floor is the most private area as it is a master bedroom. The architect extended the Aluminum Strip Façade, allowing the tree from downstairs to reach its treetop on the second floor. Although the façade has been extended, its vertical voids still allow the neighbors to glimpse the treetop. Curtains are unnecessary in the bedroom since light and wind will enter through the façade all day long.
The design of a private residence that is respectful to the surrounding environment
“We are really proud of our design since we are not only concerned with aesthetics, but we go above and beyond. We designed a house to be private for one family while also benefitting the neighborhood in terms of green space, wind, and aesthetics. These three aspects are involved in building a friendship which Bangkokians nowadays choose to conceal the house behind the solid wall rather than communicate as people did in the past.”