L71 House

The L71 House is a clearly articulated composition in a modern architectural language that responds logically to climatic imperatives. The designers of the house, which was completed in 2010, are Surachai Akekapobyotin and Juthathip Techachumreon of The Office of Architectural Transition (Office AT Co. Ltd.) Both partners are graduates of King Mongkut Institute of Technology Ladkrabang in Bangkok. Upon graduating both worked for large architectural practises in the capital, Surachai with Plan Associates and Juthathip with A&A Architects, before undertaking their Masters degrees at the University at Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA.

On completion of their studies, they both worked in New York for three years. While there, they won a competition organized by the Van Allen Institute for the design of a public transition space from subway to sky train. Returning to Thailand, they set up practise and shortly aft er won another competition, this time for the Bangkok University Art Gallery. Th e gallery is complete and has subsequently won an award from the Association of Siam Architects under Royal Patronage. They continued to garner awards with another competition winning entry for the National Discovery Museum Institute exhibition and auditorium. Their practice now employs six staff . The two architects are part of a young architects group in Bangkok that meets informally to discuss issues relating to architecture.

The L71 House occupies a long, narrow site perpendicular to the public road. The site configuration and context drive the plan form, resulting in a linear east/west axis. All the principal rooms are to the north of the axis, overlooking a swimming pool and rectangular garden, while the subsidiary spaces are to the south of the axis. There is a clear allocation of ‘served’ and ‘servant’ spaces as defined by the modern master Louis Kahn. The orientation and the cantilevered upper floor also maximize shade in the principal rooms.

The brief of the owners, Tosaporn and Samorn Wongweratom, called for the separation of ‘public’ and ‘private’ spaces. The various functions of reception, living and dining are consequently rationally planned in a linear configuration of interlocking spaces, and external landscape is ‘inserted’ into the spatial planning. Doors and windows open in both long elevations and, consequently, there is excellent cross-ventilation. The house owners have occasional parties and thus the public areas are located close to the parking at the entrance to the house, while private areas such as the dining room are located at the rear. The living room was extended across the site to create a private space for the swimming pool.

The materials used throughout the house are a delightful combination of white marble, polished limestone and pale wood, with a particularly striking central staircase in limestone highlighted by daylight that penetrates from a skylight above the stairwell. Skylights are used elsewhere in the house to emphasize specific features, including a family altar. The restraint of the design and the manipulation of daylight are reminiscent of some contemporary Japanese architecture, and the partners admit to the influence of the innovative work of Toyo Ito, Kengo Kuma and Kazuyo Sejima.

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