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Tonkao Panin On Habitus House Of The Year

Kaset Nawamin Habitus House Of The Year

“Constraints and opportunities go hand in hand,” says Bangkok-based architecture writer and regular Habitus contributor, Tonkao Panin.

While Thailand is represented by its well-defined cultural traditions, Bangkok, by contrast, is known for its diverse and almost indescribable socio-cultural conditions. This simply makes it an ideal site for architectural possibilities. Constraints and opportunities go hand in hand, creating architectural solutions that are both versatile and specific.

Habitus House of the Year, I believe, showcases a similar dialogue among carefully selected houses within the region. It explores different ways of thinking and approaching architecture that could lead to a creative uncommon ground in architectural practice.

Three homes from Bangkok are featured: Architect Boonlert Hemvijitraphan’s design of a residence for renowned landscape architect Attaporn Kobkongsanti’s family; Architects Patchara Wongboonsin and Ornnicha Duriyaprapan’s own home; and Patama Roonrakwit’s newly built family compound that houses three generations. These three houses, though they differ in their stylistic appearances, similarly address the notion of lightness and flexible territorial demarcation, thus always remind the inhabitants of both the places and activities they engage in. These residences were conceived from a close connection between inner demands and outer context, creating a unified whole that belongs to both the owner and the place it is situated.

Yet Bangkok is only a small part of its region. That the entire region is equally represented is important because, for the past two decades, architecture has encountered many challenges. Faced with global environmental crisis, striving to save and protect our environment has become a common goal in all professional arenas. But many architectural questions are still left unanswered. Various ways of thinking and practicing have emerged and shaped the way architects see buildings. One of our many aims is thus to uncover the various types of balance within the dynamism of architectural practice and to bring forth the question of balance. Balance is a means to understand different directions or approaches that are being critically practiced today. The balance we find in Habitus House of the Year represents both the theoretical inquiry and the critical practice that partake in the potential of architectural design to draw from the past and the present towards the future.

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