In Thailand, above a 5-storey apartment, a small home is now replacing the usual water tanks.
WARchitect’s client was the owner of a 5-storey apartment in Khet Chatuchak. After getting rid of the traditional water tanks, he asked the studio to build him a 150-sqm home for his own use.
The rooftop location has a concrete courtyard. Trees are replaced with vertical lines of tall buildings in the Lat Phrao district. The house would have only the front façade and could not be seen from the side and the back. To avoid creating a stark contrast between this house and the apartment below, the architects designed the rooftop house so that no one could see it from public roads.
The idea was not to make the apartment feel like a building, but to free it from form, making it a borderless box that emerges out of nowhere in the sky. Just as if the thickness of the wall and roof were non-existent, but still able to make holes in the ceiling to install curtains, air conditioners, and embed lights.
WARchitect’s intention was to give an illusion that the entire ceiling was in the same straight line even though they featured a drop ceiling and a slope that was intentionally used to make the wall and ceiling look thin. These techniques may not be new in architecture but with this rooftop house, it is more special since a short distance between the main structure and the exterior helps disguise the techniques they used.
The owner wanted the house to be simple for his private use as he did not frequently receive guests. Taking this into account, a “naked” approached was designed. The boundary between each room is linked by a courtyard. The functional area is divided according to the grid of the apartment’s pillars underneath, resulting in a six-grid layout.
The front section consists of three grids that are used as a dining area, a living room and a bedroom where the owner can see a panoramic view through a large sliding glass door, which when slid close, the door frame will be precisely behind a small pillar, giving an impression that this building does not have a pillar.
The back section consists of the remaining three grids that are used as bathroom, a courtyard that can be seen from anywhere in the house and a kitchen.
Since the owner already had a large number of Balau wood planks, they were used as the covering material. Although some planks had defects such as cracks, gnarls, marks from saws, and uneven colours, they were used giving a natural charm of real wood. When the construction was finished, the final result is a “space” completed with the warm colour of wood and the cool tone of the sky, just exactly as we wanted it to be.
Pictures by Rungkit Charoenwat