Baan Taab 1

Baan Taab 1 is a superb example of the creative manipulation of space within a small urban site. The three-story house was designed by Srisak Phattanawasin, an assistant professor at Thammasat University, for himself and his wife Panadda, who teaches Pharmacy at Silpakorn University. The site area is just 176 square meters, but Srisak has managed to squeeze 132 square meters of net internal area onto the footprint without sacrificing outdoor amenities in the form of a spacious courtyard. The architect explains: ‘You have to know the building regulations thoroughly so that you can use them to your advantage. For example, the regulations permit a house of less than 150 square meters to be built half a meter from the site boundary, otherwise it has to be one meter.’
Baan Taab 1
The house is entered via a timber deck past a traditional Thai spirit house.

Now in his early forties, Srisak was educated at Silpakorn University in Bangkok and worked with Kanika Ratanapridakul at her former practise of Leigh & Orange before embarking on graduate studies at Ohio State University where he obtained a Masters degree in architecture in 1997.
Baan Taab 1 The Modern Tropical Thai House
A koi pond is located alongside the entrance.

The major influence on Srisak’s design methodology was Professor Jose Oubrerie, a French-American teacher at Ohio State University who had worked with Le Corbusier. He also acknowledges the encouragement of Mathar ‘Lek’ Bunnag with whom he worked for one year after returning to Thailand. ‘He was a good teacher’, says Srisak, ‘and especially good on detailing. I learned from Mathar that you should always carry a measuring tape for he would constantly ask “exactly how wide is this?”’
Baan Taab 1 The Modern Tropical Thai House 1
A short ramp leads to the entrance court.

Srisak also refers in conversation to the influential monograph by Brian Brace Taylor on the Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa, sometimes referred to as ‘The White Book’, from which he gleaned ideas on internal and external connectivity, views in and out, borrowed views and the relationship between the built form and its context. Adhering to Bawa’s oft-quoted maxim not to chop down trees, Srisak retained most of the existing mature trees on the site and also planted new ones to shade the house and courtyard. A spirit house that was on the site has been retained.
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Existing trees on the site have been carefully retained.

The compact design of Baan Taab 1 (or Baan/1) is a brilliant counterpoint to the often excessively large houses of a growing affluent middle class. The one-bedroom home has a second, smaller bedroom for guests but the compact planning, with its interlocking spaces and overlapping functions, reduces the space required for circulation to a minimum. The house can be entered by two routes one via a courtyard fronting the double-height living space, the other alongside a koi pond that gives access directly into the kitchen.
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A small courtyard fronts the doubleheight living space.

Srisak is concerned with the ‘spatial flow’. The design, he explains, is about ‘connections’ both internal and external and vertically within the shell. The bathroom is connected to the bedroom via a sliding wall that is, in turn, connected visually with the living room and the courtyard beyond through a two-story void. Th ere is also a rotating TV. The paradox is that the house is small yet the spaces appear large.
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A window seat in the master bedroom suite overlooks the courtyard.

The house was essentially designed in section, with many study models being tested to ascertain how light would enter the spaces. In this, Srisak was influenced by the Japanese architect Tadao Ando, whose work he has visited and clearly admires. It is evident from the numerous models in his top floor studio that physical modeling of options is his preferred mode of making architecture. The design takes clues from vernacular two-story timber-clad dwellings, and Srisak has carried out a thoughtful process of integration with the context. A roof terrace gives views over the surrounding houses.
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The connecting master bedroom and bathroom.

The couple share access with an existing house on the adjoining plot occupied by Panadda’s parents and they back onto another plot owned by her sister’s family. ‘In the three-generation compound’, Srisak remarks, ‘we are connected but separate. This is the future. We live together so that we can take care of my wife’s parents, one of whom is disabled, and they, in turn, get to enjoy their children and grandchildren.’ The house is utterly modern and yet it sits comfortably alongside its older neighbors.
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The connecting master bedroom and bathroom.
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