Tara Villa Hotel in Kanchanaburi, Thailand: a small resort at the Kwai riverbank
Situated at the Kwai riverbank, a small resort is a lively event host for weddings, conferences, and seminars. The facilities serve a full cycle of event programs and the future expansion of guestrooms on the back of the site. Comparing to the site area, the number of guestrooms is quite small. So, the designer decided to pay more attention to the space between each functional area and used an idea from the quote that the journey is more important than the destination, as source material.
The concept is represented through the human senses, i.e., touching the texture of material, seeing the light and shadow in the view, hearing the whistling wind, and smelling the soil after rainfall. All of them become an integral part of users' experience, in particular, while they walk from one place to another in the resort.
The building layout connects the main circulation with every common area while keeping the existing trees as many as possible. By taking advantage of the narrow site, the function room in the building and all the main areas have access to the river view - including a swimming pool and a courtyard located alongside the riverbank.
On the other side of the continuous space connecting the swimming pool and the courtyard lay an exclusive family suite in the separated area. So, the possible noise disturbance from the family zone cannot reach the other guests easily. However, the resort can accommodate a spouse as a honeymoon suite type. Thanks to its spacious area, the resort planning lets the couple enjoy their privacy by keeping them from other visitors who stay in another wing of the resort.
The villas are the heart of the resort. While entering it, the guests walk through the semi-outdoor space, which functions as a transition space before reaching the indoor living area. When all of the sliding doors fully open on a pleasant breezy day, the indoor and the outdoor space merge and become one space. They can support any activity, whether it happens either in the indoor area or on the terrace towards the swimming pool outside.
The owner's essential requirement was to keep the ground level of the land on the right-wing three meters below the street level or approximately the height of a single-story building. So, the multi-purpose court and the swimming pool can be more closely connected to the river. The decision also led the designer to find a solution for the large quantity of soil removal, and then he came up with adopting the idea of utilizing it. That is the starting point of the rammed earth wall, which becomes the main feature of the resort. At the entrance of the resort, the rammed walls' position plays a double role - as a prologue and an epilogue to a living experience of the users. Sometimes, they create accessibility choices that allow visitors to spend time along the pathway. They also support the core idea that focuses on the arrangement of space between functional spaces. The rammed earth walls become a medium that interacts with the users and the human senses, as the designer's initial intention.
Tara Villa is the project that designer values on the spaces among functions rather than the physical structure. It refers to what Lao Tzu (Lao Zi) said: "We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want." The design process of the project utterly transforms the concept into a tangible architecture. It attempts to realize an example of the efficient utilization of the material. The idea of reusing the leftover soil to be the feature element - rammed earth walls - generates a unique character for the resort. The particular rammed earth walls bring about a physical outcome. It even strengthens the design concept and engages the users to spend time along a pathway. So, they can enjoy and experience the elements that incorporate the idea of the abovementioned quote: "the journey is more important than the destination."
Founded in 2004, IDIN Architects Co., Ltd. is the acronym of Integrating Design Into Nature. It conveys our philosophy in both English and Thai languages. In English, it portrays how we can merge architecture with nature in many different ways and why it matters. In Thai, the term “I-DIN” also refers to the beautiful scent after rainfall. Hence it perfectly implies the Tropical climate of Thailand.
Nature can be defined as the ecology around us, the context, and referring to the difference in personalities of people or clients – in other words, the nature of an individual. The design philosophy of IDIN is to merge this sense of surrounding, the ‘natures,’ to the architectural aesthetic. Our emphasis is placed not only on aesthetics but on a dynamic balance between aesthetics and practicality so that the architecture can suit this hot and humid environment and create a meaningful experience.