Down to Earth: Nakhon Ratchasima [นครราชสีมา]
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In a classroom at an architecture school, a lecturer persuades student to answer the question, “what does a brick want to be?” And, the answers to this question include,
‘a brick can be a lot of things in architecture’.
Keeping this in mine we can ask the same question about our soil,
“What does earth want to be?”
“All life is born from earth and eventually goes back to earth”
– an old saying make us think about soil – a basic material that is part of the land that covers 30% of our entire planet. Over the centuries and despite the changes taking place in the human race, soil is ever present on earth and fulfills its role regardless of passing of time. It not only brings forth ‘life’ on earth, but also instills the genes of wisdom in all living beings on the planet that create places to dwell under different environments, circumstances and contexts.
One interesting answer to this question can be had by getting to know a piece of architecture located at the edge of Nakhon Ratchasima province. This orange –mass earth shelter can be found out of the city. The house is topped with a lean-to shape roof that is outstandingly superimposing, making the house greatly distinctive after the city’s urban environment.
The Louise earth shelter is constructed using adobe technique that is both beautiful in appearance and energy efficient. An adobe brick, sized 25×40 cm, is made from clay from the rice field together with hay and chaff that holds all ingredients together.
The starting point of the house [บ้านดิน] was initiated by the desire of the owers, Mr. Luise Gracia Ernesto and Arunee Bawornchtuwit, a couple who come from two different cultures and from different parts of the word. They settled down in Nakhon Ratchasima together. The given task is the design of a house with high flexibility of space for undecided future activities in order to support rough ideas as to how the space might be used, for example, to be adapte as a restaurant when the couple wants to retied. Therefore, the architects interpret the use of space by design the ground area of the house as an open space, whereas the living area for the family is placed on the upper floor.
The design is a combination between curves and strait lines the curvy lines appearing around the house give the feeling of inconsistency and unevenness, which is what molding is all about. It is the value of beauty in the creative of art via local wisdom.
To end, “This project could never have happened if the owner were not familiar with this type of architecture; also thanks to Luise’s Mexican background. Not only that, it also thanks to the particular team of craftsmen. We consider very lucky to have them for they are very professional and not afraid to experiment and find new possibilities. And all the earth we use comes from the rice field of their hometown. ”