Project: Ruean (เรือน)
Architect: INchan atelier
Location: Chiangrai, Thailand
Area: 250 sq.m. (Interior Area) 168 sq.m. (Terrace)
36 sq.m. (Parking lots) 25 sq.m. (Tree pot)
Ruean (noun): a traditional dwelling unit, that has one roof and is elevated above ground.
The design began with a simple question, “how to make this house JUST RIGHT for this place (Chiangrai) and its owner”.
Chiangrai is the northernmost city of Thailand. It has been well known as a tourist attraction that is famous for good air quality, good mountain views, good fresh food. Therefore, this Chiangrai house must celebrate such living qualities for the owner. That is to say, the design must encourage the owner to enjoy Chiangrai living advantages, unlike the metropolitan lifestyle in Bangkok.
(1) To celebrate the living qualities in Chaingrai, we can simply imagine basic activities like the following examples: getting fresh materials from local food market, cooking and dining together as social bonding moments, one is watching TV with a warm blanket whereas the other is reading a book by the window, spending time and chilling out in the garden outdoor or sipping coffee at the veranda space, enjoying the night with bright stars and waking up with the sunrise. With all of that, life can feel the sense of time through the sun and the seasons, not by the clock and the calendar.
(2) To interpret the local wooden house unit, so-called “Ruean” allows us to capture unique spatial and structural characteristics for this house.
(2.1) the feeling of having a private floor under a simple gable-hip roof, and yet the entire unit is elevated above the ground. Functionally, the ground space under the shade is normally used as a gathering area as well as a storage for supporting facilities, whereas the upper level (the enclosed space with the roof above) is practically used for a sleeping room.
(2.2) the emphasis of the brutal look of columns and beams. Also, the rough and raw texture of the outer surfaces against the smooth and clean interior walls.
(2.3) the spatial and sectional qualities of the extending roof and sloped ceiling allows us to alternate gestural behaviors from the central space to the peripheral ones.
(3) The concern on local construction is carefully thought out. We tend to apply inexpensive materials, mostly available in Chiangrai city in relationship with the local builder skills. This helps us manage the budget efficiently; however, it enriches the uniqueness of local building quality. So, the house can automatically blend in with its surrounding and deliver the sense of belonging to the community.