Botanica Khao Yai / Vin Varavarn Architects
Botanica Khao Yai / Vin Varavarn Architects
Text description provided by the architects. The project is located on the edge of Khao Yai mountain range, one of the most important and extensive national reserve forested regions of Thailand. The existing site is an abandoned agricultural land but has a great potential of viewing the beautiful panoramic view over the area. On the front, the land faces a small local road, and, on the back, there is a small mountain right next to the boundary line.
The brief is to create a unique residential project which should be different from other residential projects in the area, in term of overall concept and design. Since the project is locate next to one of the beautiful forest regions, where people come for holiday and enjoy the natural resources, the nature has become the most important factor for architect to create a concept of ‘slow life’ living space where resident and visitor can enjoy to spend times outdoor as well as indoor.
From that idea, the design concept of the project has been proposed with an inspiration of ‘the journey to Khao Yai’, where people experienced the visual beauties of many different species of natural greeneries from every direction throughout the journey until reaching their destination. This inspiration is transformed into a design concept of “The Path” and “The Forrest” for the project. These two concepts will transform the public area of the project, to enable residents options of choosing their pathway amidst natural and recreational spaces to their accommodations.
The land is separated into 2 main parts. The front part, next to the road, is the residential area. The second part of the plot, next to the mountain which is not allowed to build big structure, is reserved as a public park for recreational activities of the residents. In the front part, the architect proposes a series of building, with careful consideration of appropriate planning layout to ensure that the residents are able to see either beautiful panoramic scapes on the front or close-up mountain view on the back.
Two main 6-storey buildings, A and B, both connected to the main swimming pool located in between buildings. With the proposed building gap, the pool can, at the same time, open up to both panoramic and mountain views. The Building A has been proposed by the architect with a V Shape layout, in order to fit all unit requirements rather than to raise up the building height. Along the road, 12 two-storey villas are also created, with private gardens and pools. While both buildings required to face to the South by the client and his Feng-Shui master, the design of spacious cantilever balcony for each unit has been proposed by the architect, to prevent the strong direct sunlight and create enough shading during the late afternoon.
The public areas have been designed as open-air spaces without using air condition. Careful considerations have been given to the possibility of integrating natural lighting into areas of walkways to ensure cost-saving on the use of electricity within the building. While the project is constructed on the edge of the mountain ‘Khao Pang Ma’, the Mountain Stone has been selected as the main architectural materials and interior design, as well as landscape design, because it can be acquired without any additional cost during the foundation construction process. This idea would also help to reduce the cost of construction waste disposal from the site.
For the landscape design, T.R.O.P, the landscape architect of the project, has created a link between the architecture and Nature. For the front part of the land, ‘The Forest’ has been proposed as main landscape concept for the opening space among architecture forms. The Main objective of landscape design is to integrate the man-made architectural blocks into the greenery surrounding.
The floating units on tall columns remind of the gigantic trees in the rain forest. The area underneath, with much less Sunlight, is very similar to condition found under those big trees. This different availability of Sunlight is the main criteria to re-create a forest-like landscape. “The Path” is also introduced as the main circulation system in between Residential Blocks and Villas, with private entry for each units. The proposed circulation system is an elevated walkway, raised a bit above the landscape terrains, enabling residents’ options of choosing their pathway amidst natural spaces to their accommodations. It is also a recreational route, where visitors could exercise or take a leisure walk and experience direct contact with nature.
On the second part of the land, ‘The Park’ has been proposed as the recreational attraction for the residences. With the neighboring mountain as a backdrop, a variety of landscape programs has been introduced to the property. Working with the architect, the team has proposed the idea of having functional pavilions floating in the green landscape field. On the left, the Dining Pavilion, with cafe is built to frame the boundary of the Park. Right next to it, an outdoor dining terrace is created as an extension of the facility, encouraging residents to spend more time outdoor.
Overall, the main design objective of the project is to create a contemporary context, but still keeping intact the essence of a tropical feeling and atmosphere. The design team believes that contemporary design does not have to be in opposition to nature, on the other hand, with the right design, both can cohabitate with each other.
Originally published on June 23, 2015