Kulapat Yantrasast, Why - A California Architect Draws On Memories Of Thailand | The Plan
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Kulapat Yantrasast, Why - A California Architect Draws On Memories Of Thailand

WHY | Kulapt Yantrasast

Kulapat Yantrasast, Why - A California Architect Draws  On Memories Of Thailand
By Michael Webb -

The oceanfront community of Venice, California, was laid out on drained marshland 110 years ago, as an American version of La Serenissima. Streetcars brought weekend crowds from dusty inland settlements to enjoy carnival attractions on the pier and a gondola trip around the network of canals. By 1925, the vision had tarnished: most of the canals were filled in, oil derricks scarred the landscape, and Venice became a shabby backwater of clapboard bungalows and decaying arcades. Charles and Ray Eames opened their studio there in the 1940s, artists settled there as early as the 1950s, and the community has rapidly gentrified over the past decade without losing its raffish character. Architects have built modest but inventive houses for themselves and like-minded clients.
A recent arrival is Kulapat Yantrasast, principal of wHY, and his house stands out from its neighbors. Massively constructed of poured concrete, it rises three stories from a walled garden. At the base is a guest room and garage. Steps lead up to a linear living room that opens through pocketing glass sliders to the pool and its wrap-around terrace. By placing the house along the eastern edge of the narrow site, the 13-meter width of the indoor-outdoor spaces feels infinite. There’s an unbroken view over roofs and treetops to the ocean seven blocks west. The vistas are even wider from the upper-level workroom and roof terrace, but the master bedroom projects out to provide a view south over the pool.
“Water is a symbol of nature and when we are in it, it becomes our skin,” says
Yantrasast, who likens his house to a cave opening onto a river. Though he lived 15 years in Japan, working with Tadao Ando on the design of buildings there and in the West, he reached back to childhood memories of his native Thailand. As he explains, the traditional Thai house is composed of connected pavilions, raised above ground to protect occupants from floods and wildlife. That gives...

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