“The bold elegance of living in a single piece of rock inspired us to create something extraordinary”.
A contemporary and evolutionary use of marble characterises Openbox’s approach to this project and defines the unique character of this dwelling, perfectly integrated with the surrounding landscape.
There are many 20th century architects who have encountered and fallen in love with marble and then made it an essential part, if not the protagonist, of their most successful projects: from Mies van der Rohe to Carlo Scarpa, Già Ponti, Angelo Mangiarotti and Renzo Piano to name but a few.
That same love involves architects and design studios of the younger generations, like Openbox Architects who, in 2017, designed this private residence in Bangkok, Thailand, giving it the shape of a real marble sculpture.
The marble used for its creation was Flamed White: flaming is a processing technique for natural stone, performed by bringing the surface to be treated to a very high temperature using a blowtorch. The stone is then immediately cooled with water and the thermal shock causes smaller flakes to detach, giving it a very porous appearance and touch. The flaming makes the marble non-slip and appropriate for exterior applications.
The initial idea of the Openbox architects was to create a living space inside a marble monolith with the appearance of a sculpture. This is why the main block of the house has such a solid appearance and at the same time it seems to float above the external space as though defying the force of gravity. Around it, some smaller blocks of marble lie on the ground, becoming an essential component of the outdoors, apparently isolated from the villa, but in reality strongly connected to it as though they were parts of the central block that have been detached.
The Marble House is situated on one of the edges of a rectangular plot of land, opposite a beautiful rain tree whose luxuriant mature vegetation creates a wonderful contrast with the villa’s external pavilion which has a modern and linear architectural style, reflecting an incredibly evocative image in the water of the swimming pool.
In this villa, the use of marble, between interiors and exteriors, is very important: as an external finish the surface of the brick wall was clad in marble, protecting it from bad weather and protecting the house from the sunlight and heat outdoors, which in Bangkok’s summer, is very intense, thus keeping the inside naturally cool.
The villa has a square plan and opens onto the outside via a courtyard that allows natural light and ventilation to pass through all the internal spaces: the bamboo in the central courtyard constantly moves and sways, evidence of the ever-present wind.
The cut-away roof terraces give privacy to a house that is actually surrounded by other houses, but the opening of the terraces allows natural light to filter into the rooms and create, as we can read in the words of the architect, “a sort of private sky”. Some windows have been positioned on the external side of the residence for structural reasons. The tilting of the windows towards a more open space, facing the area surrounding the house, contributes to its shape.
Finally, the whole project revolves around the skilful use of materials, space and shapes: a seamless flow between indoors and outdoors with the aim of creating a strong connection between architecture, landscapes and interiors. A design project that was born from a customer’s simple request to build a house that would be naturally perceived as a sculpture.
ArchDaily.com, Wison Tungthunya
Architetti Openbox – https://openbox-group.com/
Architetti principali: Ratiwat Suwannatrai
Team di architetti: Nattawan Supanan, Sudatip Pipatthakorn, Nonglak Boonsaeng
Lead Landscape Architects: Wannaporn Suwannatrai
Team di architetti del paesaggio: Chawannuch JirasukprasertLead Interior Architects: Wannapat Jenpanichkarn
Team di architetti d’interni: Pichaya Sampanvejsobha, Chitchaya Klinkhum
Progettista illuminotecnico: Studio di progettazione illuminotecnica FOS