The Khiankhai Home & Studio in Thailand by Sher Maker Highlights Local Materials And Its Ambient Atmosphere

January 16, 2022



Maria Rebecca Abaya

Chiang Mai, this large city can be found in the northern part of Thailand and the locals referred to it as the “Rose of the North”. It is known for its historical temples, breathtaking mountains, its cold weather, and surrounding scenic views. These characteristics of such locations are said to be conducive places for people to build their homes, be close to nature, and promote healthy living conditions. As one builds a house, it is not only a structure but a home, a built environment that should grow together with its residents, just like the saying, “people grow the home”.

Situated in a sloping plot of land in Chiang Mai, Thailand is the Khiankhai Home & Studio designed and built by Sher Maker Studio. The modern tropical home is composed of two floors that used 260 square meters of total floor area. According to the lead architect, Thongchai Chansamak, “For this house, we had the intention to use the easiest system of construction methods, that the local builders could carry out with normal usage. There was no need to do high craft processes, but just simply a building method that is easy to understand. In some parts of the process, they also had the power to make decisions together with the owner. That is why we can say that the home and people grow together.”

From the outside, onlookers can already attest to the coziness and comfortability the residents enjoy with the openness of this home’s spaces. The open layout plan allows optimum breathability all throughout the whole house. Following a rectangular form, the long side of the house is oriented parallel to the village road, having the front elevation face the road and the rear side enjoys the picturesque views of the existing rice fields and greeneries. An open-air central terrace is also introduced to hold the existing white meranti tree and be integrated with the house. This central terrace now becomes the main artery as it strategically links all the living spaces together.

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The architects opted for two floors to maximize the existing site levels of the uneven land terrain. The upper floor consists of communal spaces such as the living, dining, and/or kitchen hall and also, all the private spaces such as the bedrooms are on the same floor. While the lower floor houses the storage and the music composing/recording studio. The transition of the two levels is evident with the different materials used. The main floor, which is the upper floor, mainly used wooden elements in all of its walls, most of its framings and terrace decks, and the lower floor walls are all in concrete, serving as additional support for holding the main floor as well. As for the roof, the architects chose the traditional Lanna roof tiles not only for their availability locally but also for understanding how well-versed the builders are in using such material in construction.

Completed in 2021, the Sher Maker design team’s approach to using different materials for the Khiankhai Home & Studio allowed for the illusion to have the house appear half-sunken into the sloping terrain of the land. Also using natural materials and earth colors blends well with the tropical setting of the house location. “We are interested in the origins of architectural formations which depend on the context of local technology and materials, and also in the design of the atmosphere that affects the structure in both physical and ambiance,” shares the architects.

Article Credits: Drawings courtesy of Sher Maker©; Images courtesy of Rungkit Charoenwat©

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