For this episode of Design Fund, we are still at Hachi Service Apartment. Now we are at the rooftop of this apartment and Win is here with us too. Gap: So the name this rooftop is called “the Skyscape” Gap: Well, tons of people on the social media are talking this place.
Win: Yes, it was beyond my expectation. Win: Along with that movie “Parasite” Win: People relate my design with that movie. Gap: Ah.. I could relate that. Some similarities. Gap: So, a house on the rooftop?
but why the owner want to build this on the rooftop? Gap: What’s it idea behind this concept? Win: This rooftop house has been in the plan since the beginning when we were building the Hachi Service Apartment. Win: Our office name was “Octane” back then Win: Around that same period, we designed this rooftop house to be on top of the apartment. Win: Yes, we have planned this ahead. Gap: But why people have recently notice about this place? Win: Oh, you mean why this come out quite late? Win: When we finished the construction of the apartment beneath and started building the structure of the rooftop house. Win: Well, we have been overwhelmed with calls from client who ready to move it and they don’t want to wait any longer. Gap: So, if clients have to wait you might lose your clients, right? Win: Yes, that’s why we decided to have them moved in. Win: and we have to take a break with the construction of the rooftop Win: We just left the previous structure we built, for like a year Win: Then we speed up the construction in the last three months. Gap: My first impression when i saw this was this house I like the rectangular shape especially the thin edge Gap: I was amazed by the thinness of the edge Gap: What’s the idea of the thin sharp wall and other ideas from the owner to you Could you share with us? Win: Although, I designed both the Hachi and Skyscape in the same project but you will notice that I’m not displaying any gable design in this house. Gap: Yes
Win: I feel that it’s different design from Hachi The top part is the house while the bottom part is the apartment Win: because if I input the gable into the rooftop house, it could take the spotlight away from the apartment Gap: On my way here, I couldn’t spot this rooftop house. Gap: I couldn’t tell. Win: We kind of hide this rooftop so it doesn’t steal the spotlight. In my opinion, the special thing about this design is that normally, in architectural aspect you will see massive cantilever form or sharp beam line form to me this house has no form just pure space it’s like the space just came out of nowhere. Win: If you watched that Marvel movie, it’s like Dr. Strange using his spell and pop out of thin air. Leaving you thinking how can that space just popped out Win: So this isn’t a new technique or anything strange It’s just that the edge of the structure is very close to the edge building so it’s very hard to see how we executed the work from the side of the building Gap: As we can see, the space between the wall and the edge of the building is very small and narrow Win: Actually, the wall was made by steel sheet about 10 centimeter thick just like ordinary buildings Win: Mr. G (the carpenter) made this triangular shape metal sheet that we called “miracle nail” Yes, like nail on your finger. We fold the edge of the metal sheet Fold it like the shape of number 7 then push the wooden structure to align with sheets Win: Therefore, the outer side of the house was finished with metal sheet. For the metal sheet under the floor, it created an illusion from our standing point Win: Until we bend downward, we will see the slope of the metal sheet. similar with the top of the roof, if we stand back here at the edge we can see the slope as well. Like a gable. Win: We used the same technique on the side of the house to create the illusion. We literally have to be on the edge of the building to spot this technique. Gap: Wow, interesting. You exploit our vision limitation. The structure seems very sharp and lean, but in reality it’s not. Gap: Just like a magician doing tricks to deceive your eyes. Win: I don’t viewed that the condition of small spaces is the problem of my design project. I perceived it as a opportunity to highlight my design skills. Like Dr. Strange creating this space. Gap: It’s like suddenly a rectangular box just popped out on the rooftop. Gap: Did the owner has other requests on the design? Win: The owner actually lives around the block, about 10 mins away. so this is like his resort house. he only stay over here once in a while. Sometimes he takes a nap here in the afternoon. Win: He doesn’t stay here, usually. So we were thinking that we spent about 5-600K THB for all the real wooden material. Gap: You use real wood for the entire place? Win: Yes, the whole. So we figure that would not it be nice to share this space for others to experience Gap: So this house is rental too? Win: Yes, it’s a daily rental. The guest can rent this place for party, small gathering dinner, etc. Gap: The owner is okay about this? Party? I’m afraid the beautiful structure work could be damaged. Gap: Also, I noticed that there are lots of stone on the floor. is this intentional as well? Win: Correct. Normally, people might use Balinese stone size 2-5 cm. Win: but I’m not satisfied since I used real wood with it’s rough texture and tone therefore, the stone got to have the rough texture and feeling too. Win: The rough edged of the stone keeps people away from stepping on it. It’s also representing as a pond space. Win: We wanted to build a pond on the rooftop, but it will go so big and much more complicated for maintenance. to me, this is like a pond with water. People won’t feel like stepping on it. Gap: So the people will be forced to walk on the wooden path only and the path will lead to this tree too. Another question is about the layout. Even though it’s quite open and clear to see. This is the dinning area Then the living area for relaxing and then the bedroom Gap: What about this? Win: it’s the staircase walk up from 4th Floor On the other side, they previously want to have a fitness room but they decided to make additional bedroom instead. Gap: and the depth is as we are seeing right now? Win: Yes. Gap: Is there any room behind this room too? Win: There is a room behind. We actually use the same design floor plan from Hachi beneath us If you can remember, there are five rooms on each wing (left and right) of this apartment Win: Which I have used the same floor plan to align the pillar grid in order to rigid the structure of the both the apartment and the rooftop house. Win: While the grid in the back part was designed mainly for service Starting from the back, the bathroom, the court, the kitchen, washing area, elevator hall, and pump. Win: Basically, the front side is for the view and the back side is for service and etc. Gap: In other words, just same a the grid below. Win: That’s right. Gap: Let’s have a look inside. Win: For this slide door, at first i was going to use aluminium but the owner and the constructor make this metal profile themselves. I gotta give them credit for this. The door rail is installed on the top which provide a smooth sliding motion for such a gigantic door. As you can see. Win: When you open all three doors, it provides a spacious area since each door has one glass window. This size is consider as a maximum modular for glass window. 2.4 x 3.6 meters Win: This size helped determine the proper ceiling height of this place As you can see that our ceiling height isn’t extreme high. part of it is because of the window size and it provides a cozy feeling too. Gap: I felt that when I walk in. The ceiling seems to be a bit lower. You don’t feel like its grand or imposing. Win: it’s more like a picture frame and with Ladprao area view. it’s just make this more special. Gap: Um… Like a frame with Panorama view Win: I always question myself about the architectural physical model. Previously, I like to design a thin eave, but if you come inside you will hit the Air con. Win: This cassette type air con. need its space for installation thus, if I do it the ceiling will be uneven. The difference of the thickness would created the uneven ceiling which I don’t prefer. Win: I want it to be smooth and even like the floor here but I never have done even ceiling before. So, I was thinking that if I designed thin eave, the edge of the eave will be pointing upward and looks very thin but flip it upside down people will see the “miracle nail” and along the slop upward it will provide a space enough for the cassette type air con. to be installed and when you’re in the kitchen, you might think that you will notice the thickness that increase with the slope upward. nope, we sloped down like the gable shape so no matter if you see it from the kitchen or from the front, it still going to look flat. Win: Plus we have space to hide the air con. too. We do this for all the ceiling from each side if you look at the court area you will notice the thin ceiling I think it’s strange to see thick ceiling about 60 cm. , I prefer 15 cm. for proper proportion Gap: So, slopped down on all four sides? Win: Yes, it’s like slope upward and then downward on the other side. Gap: There are lots of detail that went down into designing this project Win: It seems like there are no detail just a wooden box. Gap: The smoothness and even floor level were standing out in shared photos online. What I want to know is how you select the wood and match various colors together nicely? The owner bought a large lot of woods at a time About 30-40% of the wood were used for Hachi service apartment and about 50-60% for the Skyscape Win: The owner bought 1 million THB worth of wood for this whole building. and since all the wood were purchased in a big lot we can’t just select only nice and even wood from the container. because if can hand pick all the nice and even wood then the cost would be very high Win: So as you can see, there are few flaws like small crack, wood gnarl, we used both big and small pieces Gap: I see, it’s quite small on the ceiling. Win: Yes, we mixed all the sizes the owner and I believed this quite unique with the natural flaw Gap: I noticed the difference of wood between the wall and the floor clearly in terms of size and color What is your criteria when you designing these? is it like, the ceiling can use smaller sizes? while big pieces will be suitable for the floor. Win: When we started constructing, we used the wood for the wall and the floor as our standard first. and then we realized that we’re running out. So we have to start selecting small pieces for the ceiling, meticulously. Gap: Interesting way to manage your resources and solve the problem. Win: Once we got to the balcony floor, we don’t have any wood left. At first, we were discussing that the wood floor should be meticulously aligned to the wall as how we were taught. Gap: So normally, it should be aligned from the floor to the wall? Win: Well, it would be pity to chop up the wood into similar size. I rather use the random sizes to create an unique look and not wasting valuable resources. Gap: At first, I thought you purposely chose the bigger and wider pieces for the entrance to match the outdoor area and smaller pieces for the interior of the house which feel a bit more intimate. Win: I will use this answer next time people ask me, although we really ran out of woods. Gap: It’s like managing and following the given context. I found this court to be so beautiful and functional. Win: I would consider this as a highlight of this house. Without this court, the house will look dull. Gap: Also, it provides that spacious feeling with this court area. and that’s the kitchen while this side is the bathroom where you can shower and enjoy this spectacular view Gap: I think there are more space in the back grid but I can’t spot any door Win: I’ll show you, the door is hiding with the wall when you closed. It’s hard to tell there’s a door. but when you slide open the door, it becomes a wall. We carefully measure the gap and space to be exact with the thickness of the TV panel wall. you will see the same on this slide door as well. Win: if we slide this behind the wall, people can hardly tell that there is a door here. Gap: From this angle, it’s just look like an ordinary wall panel. Win: Once you step inside, you will see our bed that we made ourselves. we made most of our furniture here, besides the bed Win: I realized the tone of this house is a bit warm with the wood work. So I decided to contrast with this black and white granite Babylon stone bed. it might looks luxurious but it’s not costly. We ordered the stone in slab and assemble it with metal frame beneath which makes the bed look floating in the air. Gap: Oh, there are metal frame beneath. Win: We added the under bed lighting to create a romantic atmosphere at night. Gap: I look inside and spot the metal frame bed that finished with wood work. Win: Yes, that’s right. The wood is covering the metal frame. Gap: The contrast of wood and stone actually went well together. Win: It helps highlighting the bed even more. Gap: Is there addition hiding door here as well? I would guess it’s the bathroom? Win: Yes, it’s the bathroom. Gap: So we’re entering the bathroom. Just like other rooms, the floor, wall, and ceiling are made from real wood. Win: Correct. Win: Personally, I don’t think it’s practical to use all real wood. but with unstinting mindset of the owner this was made possible. Remember this is a rental house/unit as well. Win: I was curious too. Once I asked the owner (Mr.G) why don’t we install the cornice or skirting board instead or just go with white wall. He said “it’s okay if the wood work is damage or need to be fixed, because this ensure way my constructor workers will have something to do. Win: He’s looking at this problem from another positive aspect. Gap: Nice. If Mr.G didn’t think of it this way, we’ll never be able to appreciate this fine architecture. I see you incorporate the lighting under the cabinets which give that floating illusion. Gap: What about this sliding panel? Win: This is like a tiny walk-in closet. where you can put and hang your shirts etc. Gap: Every planes were made from wood which make this house very fascinating. Gap: Last but not least, the kitchen. Win: Yes. We can walk through the court area but it’s might not be convenient so we rather go through the living room area. Gap: So the kitchen room… Win & Gap: Hey, Hello Mr.G Gap: The owner of the house is here in the kitchen. Okay, I’ll have a talk with the owner. Thank you so much Mr. Win for showing me around and sharing the ideas Gap: I got so much design knowledge from you. Win: My pleasure. Gap: Let Mr. Win get back to work. Shall we go outside for a talk. Mr.G: Sure, let’s go. Gap: The view outside is so beautiful. Gap: In reality, all we need is just a nice place to stay with a little nice view. I would like to ask you about your perceptions of this house. How do you feel? Did Win’s design satisfied your expectation? Mr.G: It was beyond my expectation to be honest. Very cozy indeed. I never gotten a chance to reside on the 6th floor. Usually second or third floor. Mr.G: I like the cool breeze up here and especially the panoramic view I got from here. More privacy, quiet and peaceful. It just cut away the chaotic from the city Gap: Don’t you afraid that guests might ruin the wood work when they renting this room? Mr.G: I focused on sharing this experience to others. I already have a house. as you know that I have experiences in building houses for almost 30 years. So I just want to guests and customers to share this experience with us. Well, I have a discussion with Win regarding the creation of this place. This service apartment was built on the special requirement of the architect. Fortunately, with a skillful construction team, it was made possible. Gap: What do find challenging when building this place? Any particular spot or place that were difficult? Mr.G: I don’t think it’s difficult nor challenging in terms of constructing. but I got what I really want. Mr.G: Part of it was from working closely with the architect and understanding their ideas. I worked with many well-known architects and professor for over 20-30 years. I have gathered knowledge, experiences, etc. from architects. So they’re considered as my teachers or mentors. Mr.G: Once I became the owner or contractor, I don’t want to confine their idea rather to have them freely express their thought. in my opinion, everything is possible or nothing is impossible if you really want it Gap: Since you’re considered as one of the renowned constructor in Thailand. Could you share your thought on Thai architecture in two aspects, the past and the future. What you seen in the past, what you like about it, would you like to continue seeing it in the future? Mr.G: I have to admit that Thai architects are good but most owners or employers still don’t emphasizing on professional fee to architect I truly think it’s worth to have a professional architect design for you. while some are trying to save up on the designing fee which I think it’s silly. It’s not worth to try to design something you’re not good at. Mr.G: Even though I have been working closely with various architects for 30 years. I still don’t have the audacity to design and I still have the architects do their job for me. Mr.G: I think for architect, it’s more of a born-to-be in this architect field. you don’t want to copy and paste others’ design just only to get the job done because it could simply ruin the overall aspect of your work. Gap: I totally agree with you on that. I believed it touched every architects I, myself, studied architecture as well but I was focusing on industrial design. I found that nowadays people tend to overlook the importance of the design. They might think that the designing fee is costly. Thus, the new trend of combining designs together is emerging. Many are thinking that they can just take the design reference from Pinterest and the constructor will be able to execute it. This actually cut off the job of the designer part. So what you mentioned really touched the designers’ feeling. Mr.G: I think this trend is getting better, Mr. Gap. I believed that social media can act as a comparison tool between a neat work and a sloppy work. because If you copy someone’s idea and not come up with your owns, it’s not will sustain or last. Mr.G: In my opinion, there must be a profession in each field. Gap: Wow, what a great perspective from the owner. I’m not surprised why building this apartment was achievable and look its best. Since you focusing on the design very well. Mr.G: For construction, either building houses, condominiums, or apartments we don’t really have many opportunities to close it down for maintenance or renovation. maybe every 5-10 years so why don’t I just dedicate the time to do it right and don’t have to doubt that it’s worth or not. This is just my opinion. Gap: It’s a very good idea. Well, it’s a honor to be here today and thank you so much. Also, big thanks to Mr. Win, you and Hachi apartment once again. For those who interested in staying at Hachi service apartment, can contact us via phone, Facebook, or just simple come. Mr.G: Anyway please come check it out and show your support. Gap: I might have to stay over one day. Thank you so much !!! Let’s have a walk and see what’s over there.