Conversion of a community’s chaotic corner

Chaos and anarchy rule most of our urban sprawls. Man and machine alike in a perpetually furious frenzy to get about their daily chores while traversing along streetscapes that showcase the ornate mess of telephone lines and power cables with the blurred boundaries of buildings in the background being nothing short of border-line batty.

Though seemingly haywire when analyzed individually, they have cohesively coexisted in a system that runs day in and day out. Unpredictable and uncertain, life in such cities have developed a rhythm of their own.

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Urban interventions have been known to create ripples of change in societies at large-design disseminating order in disorder.

Infrastructural planning, spatial redesigns and urban development all happen at a macro level and have been successful, but to what extent can a small project bring about changes on a large community level?

Can a pinch of sugar make the sea sweet? Though seemingly impossible, this is the very basis of Chaos Theory or more widely known as the Butterfly Effect. To put it into simple words, it states that slight changes in the existing conditions of an environment can have large impacts on the system in the future.

The BIRD BOM House in Bangkok, Thailand is a twin house residential project that stands testament to the power of architecture in transforming communities regardless of the scale of intervention.

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Situated at the end of a T-Junction, notorious for frequent car accidents were two adjacent plots owned by brothers. Though situated in the heart of the city, the site was deemed unfavorable for building a house due to its location and context.

When approached with this unique challenge, the young and passionate FLAT12x design team had the vision to mold the project as an urban insert that could induce a positive effect on the surrounding community.

The project manifests architectural design in a wider context, showcasing a broader relationship between scales of experiences. The project is truly a dialogue with newly built houses in the vicinity and the immediate surroundings.

The twin houses though spatially capable of opening up to a connected living domain, aesthetically is treated to portray stark differences. The elevations are treated in ways to establish sync by means of matching rooflines with the adjacent Thai shophouses.

The morphology of the existing buildings has no inherent architectural character but is a mere blind reciprocation of mediocre designs. The BIRD BOM House thus stands out through architectural design with a judicious use of the material palette.

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New patterns, techniques and innovations in the use of materials enabled the project to have its distinct identity yet staying rooted to its vernacular values.

BOM’s travertine tile used in the ground level is brought in to replace the common old granites. The ceiling and screening is done in slim rosewood planks instead of the unfit natural timbers.

The cantilevered roof is finished in a concrete skim coat in contrast to the 12mm engineered temple glass roof of the garage. Portrayal of the owners’ bubbly personality has been essayed in design through the use of vibrant colors that knit through the house.

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Orange couch combined with yellow steel railing at the main hall set against the backdrop of a green curtain that drapes the double heighted walls, are quirky elements that enhances the overall contemporary character of the residence.

BIRD’s is more radical and hand-crafted, the dexterity quite evident and unique. The building is exemplified as a monochrome canvas of a simple painting done in different techniques.

The ground level wall is finished in rough texture mixed with patterned aluminium groove line while the upper floor is finished in black using different materials to create an interesting set of textures.

The matte brick wall is juxtaposed with polished aluminium while pure concrete is exposed alongside with industrial black steel, the play of materials both functional and aesthetic.

The spatial planning of the twin houses has been worked out in ways that facilitate seamless functioning of the two residences as independent units, yet offering the flexibility to have a unified living zone as and when required.

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The setbacks as mentioned in the building by-laws have been clubbed together to form the central outdoor gathering space that functions as the datum of informal activities.

Now, as for the Butterfly effect set into motion, the once chaotic corner has been marginally transformed into a more ordered junction. A significant decline in the number of accidents has been recorded since the inception of the twin house.

The subtle yet imposing architectural character of the twin houses has played a role in the upliftment of the social status of the immediate vicinity. Framed by chaos all around, the BIRD BOM House is a bold statement for the power of architecture to bring in order to anarchy.

Fact file

  • Project: BIRD BOM House
  • Location: Bangkok, Thailand
  • Architects: FLAT12X Co Ltd
  • Architect Director: Julsamano Bhongsatiern
  • Interior Design Director: Pasda Sophon
  • Design team: Chakrit Sripradup, Kamonchai Tangpruetpong
  • Landscape Designer: Amisa Raksiam
  • Builder: Apirat Leowchawalit
  • Area: 280 sqm + 250 sqm

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