We had an appointment for taking photos of this house at the time when the storm was coming to Thailand. We were so excited because the way from Bangkok to Ayutthaya was covered with clouds and darkness of the rainy sky. Soon, there were raining heavily during we were travelling. At that time we felt disappointed and afraid that we might not have such beautiful pictures with clear blue sky that provide good lights and shadows. Fortunately, everything turns to be normal when we arrived at the house. The sky was clear, and the one story box-shaped house located on the hill could be clearly seen above the landscape leveled up above the fence. The big trees surrounding the house were springing their new leaves without any signs of storms like what we met on the way.
Even though I am familiar with various styles of house for many years, It makes me surprise when I know that this house belongs to an elderly (looking back at the first picture). It doesn’t show any clue of an aged man on this house at all, including, the slope way, handrail or the dark tones of adulthood. On the other hand, the shape and design of the building represents the style which is popularized by new generations – a loft style. This house is kind of a true loft style, not a neutral or a half loft one. It erases the old image that I get used to through a new concept that the architect reiterates that this is a house of the elderly.
“The concept of the design for this house is to be a house for living after retirement. The owner of the house is a police officer, so all functions are specified to fit into his lifestyle. As a policeman, he often has a lot of guests come visiting; the middle space is needed for those guests to utilize conveniently. The balcony at the front of the house is designed to be wide and spacious for the guests’ fellows. The space is divided functionally and not to be cramp. The most important thing is that this house belongs to the elderly, so the design is based on Universal Design, for example, the stairs are designed to be sloped properly for wheelchairs. As the house has only one story, it doesn’t need stairs for going up and down. In addition, the space in the middle can be used for sharing time together. The door is extra-wide for convenience when using the wheelchair,” says Khun Kasin Sornsee, an architect who designs the house from Volume Matrix Studio.
There are also small details to be considered. The architect has to pay attention to whether the furniture is weight to be able to load the user in the case of leaning or support. Even the use of the clear glass installed over the door so that outsiders can notice that there are people in the room. In this case there are some accidents, the people outside can notice and help right away. As mentioned earlier, all of the things in this house do not give us a hint that this is a house of an elderly.
For the design, this one story house is somehow similar to those Thai traditional houses in many parts. For example, the building is lifted up 1 meter higher from the ground because there was flooding many years ago.
The master bedroom is organized at the eastern corner of the house. At the middle is a living corner, a cooking corner and a dining corner. This space is open to receive the cooling winds in a long shape connected to the wide balcony like in the traditional villagers’ house. At the west is a bedroom of the owner’s daughter who doesn’t permanently live in. To provide the beauty of the house, the architect use the construction materials to reveal it such as bricks, raw concrete and furniture made of old collected wood.
When asking about the reason why this house is in a loft style which does not match the style of the owner who is an elderly, Khun Kasin answers shortly that Loft is something simple; it doesn’t need built-in furniture and even piece of woods which are usually damaged by termites and there are no space for dusts. When living in this loft house, the owner can live their lives much easier.