The authentic vernacular and classical
creations of Ong-ard Satrabhandhu stand as vigorous,
if lone, way signs to a civilized future.
Mae Rim Residence
ONE PARTICULARLY VIVID EXAMPLE of Ong-ard’s gentle touch is the weekend retreat in the foothills an hour’s drive north of Chiang Mai. This compound for an artist consists of a generous living space with a second-floor master bedroom that is open on all four sides that is appropriate for the tropical hot humid climate. The steep roof form is reminiscent of vernacular dwellings in Yunnan, Southern China. The location of the guest wing along the edge of the pond ties the building to the land and creates a place that seems to have the right degrees of openness and enclosure — a prerequisite of successful siting that is very different from merely setting a building on the land.
A separate studio building across a small rectangular meadow lends the composition something of a farm-like quality. The structures rest easily on the land, interacting with the pond (that was reshaped and enlarged by the architect) so that the feeling of being in a very specific location is natural and tangible. It is as though the house has always been there and is so gracefully engaged with the land and pond that nothing could be moved. The quality of the space and light, shaded and calm, recalls the plantation houses of the American South or those villas of Palladio in the Veneto that combine house and agricultural structures into one ensemble, creating a sense of place and sanctuary in the open landscape.
Photography, Michael Freeman, images 3, 14