Traditional Thai Houses

General construction topics - basically anything to do with building not covered in other topics.

Moderators: Sometimewoodworker, MGV12, BKKBILL, pattayapope

Traditional Thai Houses

Postby chiangmaiexpat » Mon May 19, 2008 12:29 pm

The Thai house, like other houses in Southeast-Asia, is a wooden structure raised on posts. Over many centuries it has acquired its own unique style. The distinguishing marks are an elegantly tapering roof and various finials and decorations that differ regionally. While architectural features vary throughout the four cultural regions, Central Thailand, the North (Lanna), the North-East (Isaan), and the South, the method of raising a platform on poles is common to all parts of the country. It offers protection from dirt, hostile wildlife, thieves, and most importantly from the monsoon floods which affect all of Thailand.

The traditional Thai house is ideally adapted to its environment. The open high-pitched roof facilitates air circulation. Open windows and walls in combination with a large central terrace provide ideal ventilation and offer relief from the hot and humid climate. Wide overhanging eaves protect the house from sun and rain. Rainwater runs off the steep roof quickly and falls through the permeable terrace and house floors. The use of wood and bamboo reflects the once abundant forests that provided these materials ubiquitously and cheaply. In the past, an agricultural society existed in relative harmony with its natural environment.

Unfortunately, things are different today. Uncontrolled development has led to poorly planned traffic-choked cities, vanishing forests, and overall environmental degradation. Thai architecture has changed, too. As canals have been filled; cars, TVs and air conditioners have made inroads, ugly rows of uniform, concrete shophouses and apartment blocks are now the norm. In recent years, however, people began to realize the negative impact of unbridled economic development. Zoning laws and building regulations were just introduced recently. One may hope that the tropical climate will do its part to rid the landscape of unsightly and poorly adapted structures and that the commencing rediscovery of the vernacular architecture will lead to increased harmony between buildings and environment.

The photos throughout the following posts celebrate the Thai house as an integral part of Thai culture. The houses range from simple country houses (ruen krueng pook) to large wooden mansions (ruen krueng sab) of wealthier people. In the past, land was abundant and thus people often moved, especially when couples married or when the political circumstances necessitated it. The Thai house takes this fact into consideration by being completely modular. The prefabricated parts of a traditional Thai house can be disassembled and rebuilt with relative ease, hence, people literally packed their houses and moved with them. Present concrete-based building methods don't allow for this mobility anymore. Yet, it is possible to unite contemporary materials and methods with traditional style. There are some forward-thinking architects in Thailand who have done this successfully.
chiangmaiexpat
 
Posts: 281
Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 8:44 am

Postby chiangmaiexpat » Mon May 19, 2008 1:00 pm

Wood carvings with floral motives resemble Western style colonnades. Note the breadfruit tree growing through the floor and roof. It is common to find shade trees growing around and in the house
Attachments
thaihouses04.jpg
chiangmaiexpat
 
Posts: 281
Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 8:44 am

Postby chiangmaiexpat » Mon May 19, 2008 1:01 pm

The use of high-quality hardwood and teak from the North of Thailand as well as the intricate carvings indicate that this house in Amphawa belongs to a wealthy family.
Attachments
thaihouses05.jpg
chiangmaiexpat
 
Posts: 281
Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 8:44 am

Postby chiangmaiexpat » Mon May 19, 2008 1:02 pm

The elegant design makes clear that this is not a utilitarian building. This house is designed for prestige and leisure. The large veranda might have been used for receiving guests.
Attachments
thaihouses06.jpg
chiangmaiexpat
 
Posts: 281
Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 8:44 am

Postby chiangmaiexpat » Mon May 19, 2008 1:03 pm

The enormous terrace of the teak mansion in Amphawa is used for ceremonies and special events. The building is located in the Rama II Memorial Park. Although constructed only 20 years ago, it is an excellent example of a traditional "ruen kahabodi", the residence of a wealthy family.
Attachments
thaihouses07.jpg
chiangmaiexpat
 
Posts: 281
Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 8:44 am

Postby chiangmaiexpat » Mon May 19, 2008 1:04 pm

Two connected single houses form a huge hall which provides space for official and representative functions. Note the inwards inclining angle of the bearing posts, which is typical for central Thai style houses.
Attachments
thaihouses08.jpg
chiangmaiexpat
 
Posts: 281
Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 8:44 am

Postby chiangmaiexpat » Mon May 19, 2008 1:05 pm

A smaller yet still large "ruen luuk" (children's house), or "hor nang" (sitting room) is connected to the main hall via a bridge.
Attachments
thaihouses09.jpg
chiangmaiexpat
 
Posts: 281
Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 8:44 am

Postby chiangmaiexpat » Tue May 20, 2008 9:26 am

Wide overhanging eaves protect the inner of the "hor nang" (living and dining room) from sun and rain and provide privacy.
Attachments
thaihouses10.jpg
chiangmaiexpat
 
Posts: 281
Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 8:44 am

Postby chiangmaiexpat » Tue May 20, 2008 9:28 am

Side view of a central-style house for a nuclear family. This house stands for sale on the roadside in Samut Songkhram. It does not contain a single nail. Once bought, the house is disassembled, transported to the new owner's site and reerected in a week. Like most Thai houses, it is composed of prefabricated components that are fit together with wooden joints and dowels.
Attachments
thaihouses11.jpg
chiangmaiexpat
 
Posts: 281
Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 8:44 am

Postby chiangmaiexpat » Tue May 20, 2008 9:29 am

The front of the same house shows most of the traditional features. It has a door with portal roof, a small terrace ("charn"), wall panels and gables with the popular rectangular "loog fak" pattern and the typical "panlom" wind break with the horned finial design.
Attachments
thaihouses12.jpg
chiangmaiexpat
 
Posts: 281
Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 8:44 am

Postby chiangmaiexpat » Tue May 20, 2008 9:32 am

The wood carving below the windows is a traditional feature called "yong".
Attachments
thaihouses13.jpg
chiangmaiexpat
 
Posts: 281
Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 8:44 am

Postby chiangmaiexpat » Tue May 20, 2008 9:33 am

This pavilion at Banjasiri Park, Bangkok, is representative for many contemporary structures in Thai cities that copy the vernacular form using reinforced concrete.
Attachments
thaihouses15.jpg
chiangmaiexpat
 
Posts: 281
Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 8:44 am

Postby chiangmaiexpat » Tue May 20, 2008 9:34 am

Thai people call this a "Western body with a Thai crown" - an unconventional combination of building styles. The second floor contains only a few windows in order to permit the use of air conditioning.
Attachments
thaihouses16.jpg
chiangmaiexpat
 
Posts: 281
Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 8:44 am

Postby chiangmaiexpat » Wed May 21, 2008 9:09 am

This farm house in Bangkhunthian is a good example of a traditional ruen krueng pook, a farmer style house built from natural materials. The structural components are made from coconut and mangrove wood; the wall covers and roofing are made from nipa palm (dton jaak). These materials grow here.
Attachments
thaihouses17.jpg
chiangmaiexpat
 
Posts: 281
Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 8:44 am

Postby chiangmaiexpat » Wed May 21, 2008 9:10 am

This northern house differs from central-style houses in several aspects. It has a "kalae" gable top decoration, but it lacks a "panlom." The girders supporting the eaves stand straight on the veranda floor rather than being fixed angular to the posts, and the "kansart" eaves are joined to the main roof.
Attachments
thaihouses19.jpg
chiangmaiexpat
 
Posts: 281
Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 8:44 am

Next

Return to general

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest