HAS design and research studio / HAS design and research office
Text description provided by the architects. The HAS design and research studio, also called Phetkasem Artist Studio, is hidden in the residential suburbs of Bangkok and is a typical commercial accommodation in Thailand. This typology of commercial housing was mass-produced by developers 30 years ago and instantly spread to many capital cities in Southeast Asia, resulting in a sense of indifference to urban landscapes. However, in this village, the inhabitants present a different way of life from the typical residential units. They built fences to achieve more garage space, added roofs for more storage space, and extended rain shelters to accommodate the flexibility of commercial opportunities at ground level. In addition, they used potted plants, which sometimes even cluttered the roads, to satisfy their vision of small gardens.
These “improvised” but harmonious man-made structures, especially metal materials such as steel pipes and iron rods, are not only used for their material structure and shape, but also in large quantities in daily illegal construction. . In fact, this phenomenon is known as “steel tubes or iron rods readily available in Thailand”. Looking back in history, Thailand was once a major steel producer and once the largest steel pipe exporter in Southeast Asia. Yet these materials have lost their fundamental properties by being used in advertising signs, balcony windows, rain shelters, etc.
For us, the most captivating feature of these steel pipes all over the streets of Thailand is the elegant curvature and the light, hollow shape, which unfortunately have not been effectively adopted so far. This project collaborated with Pacific Pipe, a well-known Thai steel pipe producer, to use steel pipes as unit bricks to create “steel pipe bricks” with a height and width close to four meters, which produced both the microclimate effects of sunshade lighting and convective ventilation. The design also uses a half-split steel pipe on both sides of the unit, so that five pipes of different diameters are integrated into the same unit, and a variety of mixed effects are created by rotation and mirroring.
Additionally, tubular steel bricks are the first technology combined with ground spray texture in Thailand, creating low energy cost and convective ventilation effects, providing an alternative residential lifestyle in a tropical climate. In the entry space, these unique tubular steel bricks form a quiet semi-open area that brings in gentle breezes, which combine with the local trees in Thailand, to create a unique arrival experience. With no air conditioning system installed on the first floor, in a sustainable tropical climate of nearly 40 degrees Celsius, the design connects the front yard to the back yard through openings in the brick system, further introducing breezes from alley in Thai alleys as a new way of life closer to nature. The second floor area intentionally exposes the original columnar beam structure, which emphasizes the sense of scale, produced by a large difference between the width and height of the sloping roof, to contrast the atmosphere of the compact first floor and spacious second floor.
The project is not only a workspace for artistic creation but also a residence that combines the functions of living, resting and dining. Its form breaks the image of typical commercial housing, and using industrial materials common in Thailand, it reshapes a new type of building that combines geography, climate and neighborhood. In addition to the architecture itself. The designer believes that this work, although it is a renovation of an old building with structural and dimensional constraints, can be a driver for an innovative way of change. The project is now more practical to use, with retrospection in the past and prospection in the future.