Open House II

Open House II is a strong formal design arranged around a black swimming pool in a central courtyard. A long raking staircase ascends alongside the pool. The life of the house revolves around the central pool court and all the rooms are inward-looking. The ground floor of the compact rectangular urban site is surrounded by a narrow perimeter garden of palms and banana trees, while a roof terrace provides a view over low-rise housing to the west.

The owners of the house are Naris Siamwalla, a software engineer who holds a Master’s degree from Carnegie Mellon University in the USA, and his wife Maria, an Arts and Social Science graduate from the National University of Singapore. They have two small children. Naris’s parents have a residence immediately to the north.

The designer of the house, Pirast Pacharaswate, is an assistant professor in the School of Architecture at Chulalongkorn University. He received his own architectural training at Chulalongkorn University under Professor Pussadee Tiptus before embarking on graduate studies at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor in the US where he studied under Professor Jim Schaffer. Now, in addition to teaching in the School of Architecture, he has an office with seven staff.

The design of the house incorporates a number of responses to the microclimate of the site. Th ere is a solid brick ‘box’ at the southern end of the house where a stair core above the maid’s room acts as a buff er to the sun. The sun enters the courtyard from the west at 3.00 pm but is mitigated by a layer of screens and louvers, while the family room above the parking area also provides shade from the setting sun.

The architecture is robust and entirely modern without nostalgic references to tradition. Materials include red clay bricks, white glass louvers and black aluminum window frames. Th e roof detail over the carport appears to be heavily influenced by Constructivist architecture. There is a distinct contrast between the solid and transparent elements in this house.

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