Villa Noi

Villa Noi is a cluster of glazed pavilions orientated towards the setting sun at Natai Beach on the shores of the Andaman Sea. The pavilions are located among a stand of towering casuarina trees, whose delicate branches provide a striking contrast to the precise horizontal lines of the architecture. The design pays homage to Mies van der Rohe, one of the acclaimed masters of the Modern Movement. The house, located adjacent to the Aleenta Resort and Spa, is the vacation home of Veronica and H. Chin Chou and their family. Their main residence is in Hong Kong.

Moving around the site, the views are orchestrated superbly. From the entrance court there is an axial route flanked by fountains across a bridge over a rectangular pond. At the end of the vista is a two-story rectangular flat-roofed dwelling housing living and dining space, with the principal bedrooms above, that is set transversely across the axis with views through a lanai to the ocean beyond. Arranged around the main house, with access to the timber pool deck, are three single-story glass pavilions that variously serve as additional family accommodation, guestrooms, a service block and an entertainment pavilion with a plasma television, a pool table and a bar overlooking the beach. Th e layout was planned on a Mondrian-like orthogonal matrix. The plan also contains the essence of a traditional Thai compound, with its various family pavilions clustered around a timber deck.

Raised high above the beach, the house has a broad flight of stairs leading down from the pool deck, with a gate at the lower level that provides security and makes the house appear somewhat aloof. Yet, it is not divorced from the ocean, for the sound of waves rushing up the beach is a constant presence.

The glass pavilions that are so integral to the design of the house contain sleeping accommodation and semi-outdoor bathrooms, and expose their occupants to the gaze of other family members and guests. There is an issue here of transparency versus opaqueness, privacy versus openness and exposure versus concealment, for even in a family home the different generations require personal space.

Every member of the family and their guests is given a view of the sea from their bedroom, and the main living rooms are also orientated westwards, while bathrooms, some open to the sky, face east. The architect has gone to great lengths to retain the trees on the site. Some actually grow within the pavilions and penetrate through the roof.

Villa Noi is a large and dispersed space. The distance between individual pavilions discourages walking in the hot sun during the day, but the large timber pool deck comes into its own for large family parties and for corporate entertainment as the sun sets gloriously over the horizon. There is a great calmness about the architecture. Materials include steel cruciform columns, black aluminum window frames, clear glass, horizontal timber boarding and terracotta brickwork.

This is another house designed by Duangrit Bunnag, the talented principal of Bangkokbased DBALP, the architectural firm he founded in July 1998. Houses of this type in Phuket are quite different to Bangkok. Many are the boltholes of expatriates from Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and elsewhere, who come to the island to escape the pressures of life in the metropolis to relax and swim or sail.

Share on Google Plus


Post a Comment

Contact Form


Email *

Message *