A constant relationship with nature has several healing benefits. In open spaces with good landscaping, users can gain better moods just by being in the structures. At the same time, this approach to building results in minimal damage to the environment. Efforts to make buildings more suitable to the environment are constant all over the world. From sustainable skyscrapers to eco-friendly cafes that blend with nature, the most recent structures show humanity’s better relationship with nature. In Thailand, the Pomelo Amphawa Cafe by Looklen Architects blends contemporary looks and nature.

The modern world is trying to cope with nature. To be with it and not own or degrade it. There’s still so much to learn for building a sustainable future but evidence of effort in different ways is clear everywhere.

A circular stepped concrete volume frames the cafe.
Outside, visitors can sit on the stone steps or in the net seating under the trees.

All Good Cafes Should be Quiet Abodes

The Pomelo Amphawa Cafe is one hidden in the middle of a quaint lychee garden near the river. As its angled towards the Mekong River, its quite a serene space. With this orientation, the cafe is safe from strong sunlight and tropical climate. The surrounding landscape is a refreshing set up surrounded by nature on every side. The cafe’s open layout takes advantage of this, making it open from all directions.

The cafe is a sweet little oasis combining concrete and nature.
Visitors can walk, climb, or sit on these concrete steps.

At the same time, it’s purposely slanted in a diagonal disk-esque shape to highlight views of the Mekong River. Shaping the curved plane is a stepped surface that allows visitors to walk and climb around the structure. At the center, there’s a rectangular glazed space embraced by a circular concrete amphitheater. Giving it more context, the architects took inspiration from the traditional Thai home’s Tāithun. The Tāithun is a semi-outdoor area where users can enjoy public activities without fear of exposure to too much sunlight. Skylights punctured through the top filter the natural light well enough.

An Adaptable Layout

From all over, nature engulfs visitors, making it a serene oasis at Amphawa’s riverside. The cafe assembles a variety of seating types indoors and outdoors so it can be used for big public events. While there are bar stools, and cafe tables and seats inside, there are also net seating spots and benches hidden under the trees outside. Overall, it’s a completely accessible cafe that almost seems like a part of the Mekong riverside.

Photos by Rungkit Charoenwat

Related read: It’s in the Details: What Makes A Good Cafe Layout

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