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A sophisticated and stunning design of Wat Rong Khunoriginated from a small house owned by Distinguished Professor Dr. Chalermchai Kositpipat, Thai National Artist, whose mundane and supermundane wisdom reflect his whole life.

This house was not built from Ajarn Chalermchai’s ideaoriginally but his wife’s, Khun Jang or Kanokwan Kositpipat. She asked to build this house after an earthquake in Chiang Rai and let be the final home of their lives. The plan finally turned into a house on a 4-Rai-land and a 2-rai jasmine rice field with a fish pond in between them. It is not exaggerating to say this house originates from the love for his wife.

“Jang asked me if she could have a house with a pond, a rice field, and a spacious yard space before the end of her life. I said yes if that is her happiness”, tells Ajarn Chalermchai about the beginning of this house.

The house is separated into 2 buildings. One has the right size for easy maintenance and is designed by Khun Jang using the simplicity concept to match its natural surrounding. The design is well thought-out to maximize each functional space with polished cement exterior walls. Using mainly wooden furniture due to its simplicity look and feel that can easily match with every element in the house, its long lifespan, its mobility to move around or adjust which reflects the similarity of the artist life in which freedom is cherishable and never attached to anything in particular.

A spacious terrace in the East is a lovely spot where you can feel the breezy wind and a fresh scent of the rice field. Because the sun sets on the other sideand makes this terrace even more spectacular for a cool, breezy evening. White Meranti,Ivory Coast Almondand Indian Oakare some greeneries around the house especially the wonderful cool cross breezes that are the trade windof the East passing through the pond in the front easily makes the living room so relaxing all day long.

A roof design is inspired by the Northern style barn. It is a gable roof form that dips lower and has a relatively gentle slope that is expanded to cover the porch. This design helps reduce the heat from a sunlight and protects the walls from rain which is suitable for the tropical countries with a lot of heat and humidity like Thailand.

“This house is designed and built based on what we like. I love comfort. I like open space and the small-sized house that I can take care of without the need to get some cleaning assistance or getting a housekeeper to keep it clean. I don’t like big houses because a house is a home where it gives peace, serenity, and relaxation”, Khun Jang tells us why she has a small house.

Another house, designed by Ajarn Chalermchai, is on the opposite sideand has the direct door alignment with Khun Jang’s house. It is a great small size of a one-story home with simplicity concept that has the walls higher than normal. This is to accommodate a 3-meters high double door which is inspired by the Buddhist monastery’s door. Split staircase in the back of the house is also inspired by the Buddhist crematory. The design of this house reflects the noble truths, the mindfulness of death in order to be aware of death in every second of life. Ajarn Chalermchai makes a proclaimed joke that any Feng Shui Masters visiting his house would eventually tell him to renovate the whole house.

He explains, “The door is big and huge like the monastery. I want this area to resemble the crematory. The house has an elongated shape like a casket. This is because I want to always be mindful of death. You can see my habits through this house. My Buddhist knowledge can also be seen from the design of this house. I believe in straightforwardness, openness, and transparency. Both of my mundane and supermundane wisdom shines through this house. I do not believe in Feng Shui. I believe in Buddha’s teachings, so I am not afraid of ghost, bad spirit, demon or even death. A house is just a place I use to create my arts. This is my last home, so everything is just simple. I don’t need beauty. The only important thing I do care is happiness”

An ample space hallway is full of papers, canvases, painting brushes, crayons, color boxes. Everything is set where they belong. The house is also decorated with a large intentionally unfinished painting as if life is whispering in our ears that death is coming along at any day and time. Everything will stop when the time comes. Every mission will be unfinished, and this deal is non-negotiable without spare. Ajarn Chalermchai also wants this house to be a legacy for younger generations to see how a spectacular work of Wat Rong Khun has been created using just a small table in this house.

One house resembles a body of a human being which comprises of beauty, love, and happiness that a person could experience in a lifetime while another house resembles a soulful mind of a Buddhist disciple that deeply understands the truth of nature, the noble truth of life and even capable of leaving everything behind when the end of life finally comes along. Living with happiness and understanding the death is the ultimate life compass of this extraordinary man, Chalermchai Kositpipat.

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By Oom, 04/12/2017
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