Family living, Thai style

In Thailand it is quite normal for the extended family all to live under the one roof. In the village of Nongkhao, one of the local teachers Noppawan Jaijong has her elderly mother and aunt living with her as well as her own immediate family. Her home is an interesting take on this style of community living.

The home consists of three separate but very interconnected buildings. They were all built at different times and are all a bit modern but also retain some traditional Thai qualities.

The first house is a usual modern Thai family home, not unlike those in Australia. It houses Noppawan and her husband, her daughters room, living areas, a kitchen and bathroom.

The second building is probably the most similar to a traditional Thai home, raised and built mostly out of wood. The stairs shown above start at the back entry to the first house, with a very easy connection between the two.

This building houses Noppawan’s mother and the interior contains wooden flooring from an earlier Thai house that occupied the same area.

It is very open plan as most elderly Thai people do not like small rooms and they also prefer to sleep on the floor, so it is sparsely furnished.

Connecting the second building with the newest and third building is a bridge. Both buildings are raised in usual Thai style, allowing air flow underneath which keeps the building cooler and also provides a large cool living area underneath. This is where the elderly family members prefer to spend the day. The area also helps connect the three buildings and almost serves as the center for the home. In American architect Frank Lloyd Wrights houses, the fireplace was the center of the house and a symbol of the family unit. I think that this shady open space underneath this house could be the warmer climates equivalent!

Looking across to the first building from the second. The joining bridge is a lovely pause between the two buildings and also a cool and breezy place to sit in the evening. Noppawan said that sometimes they like to sleep on the bridge as it is so cool and they can see the stars.

View across the village rooftops from the bridge.

Entry to the third building from the bridge. Noppawan’s brother designed the house and only had to get the architect or similar to approve and certify the design. He chose to keep the concrete walls exposed, which is similar to how traditional Thai wooden houses also have their material on display.

The third building contains Noppawan’s aunt and a new room for her teenage son. The photo shows the interior, looking back across the bridge. The dark wood detailing is a nice continuation from the second building.

This photo shows the front side of the third building. The wooden detailing of the stairs softens the grey concrete, while the large overhanging roof mirrors the second buildings and provides a large amount of shade.

I’m not sure how common it is to have a home like this in Thailand but I especially liked how three very different buildings could work so well together and be so connected, just how family living should be.

This entry was published on May 14, 2012 at 4:53 pm and is filed under Architecture, Thailand, Travel. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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