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Local Home Building Materials and Resources

Introduction

Thailand has a special mix of cultural heritage and natural resources. This makes it an excellent place to try out something new, especially in the world of design and construction. The Thais have centuries of experience in building with plant products, clay, and earth, and their basic “shelters” could easily be seen as potential models for what are called “university”—that is, research—homes.

Note: Search more construction knowledge in the modern era or finding our construction company at : www.landyhome.co.th

But even without any research/development component, today’s homeowners can look to traditional Thai architecture to see a model for a home that could be built to use very little commercial energy and very little so-called embodied energy and that could “live” off grid in some renewable-energy configuration.

1.Bamboo is a familiar sight all over Thailand.

It is a super construction material because it is so amazingly versatile. For example, it is as strong as a truck axle yet much lighter and certainly more pliable. Because it is so widespread, we are an obvious place to look at for new kinds of construction systems that use bamboo. This is as straightforward a premise as you’ll find, especially when you realize that bamboo is just about everywhere—urban, suburban, rural—and is a sustainable material. So grab a buddy and head off to the countryside. Harvest yourself a bunch of bamboo. That’s right—harvest. When you cut it down, it grows right back, but now there is more of it, and it grows even faster.

 

2. Teakwood: A Timeless Classic for Thai Homes

Teakwood, a classic material for Thai homes, offers a timeless look and feel that never seems to go out of style. The teak tree is native to Southeast Asia and is often found in Thailand. It is prized for its highly durable and rot-resistant wood. Customers in Thailand use teakwood in the construction of all manner of building structures, floors, and surfaces both indoors and outdoors. One of the most basic (and noticeable) uses for teakwood is in beams and columns, where it is often left exposed as a kind of interior or exterior architectural “statement.”

3. Traditional Building Materials with a Contemporary Edge

Using bricks and tiles provides what some traditional Thai construction industry veterans argue are the key reasons Thai people, and especially traditional Thai builders, have preferred them for centuries. Those benefits are fourfold. First, bricks and tiles are essentially indestructible if used correctly in the basic labor-intensive masonry techniques Thai craftsmen have employed to produce structures for over a millennium. Second, compared to natural stone, bricks and tiles are much more thermally insulating when used in masonry-style with lots of air gaps between units where engineered to meet hot climatic conditions (figure 7.1-1). Finally, in urbanized areas where people must build very close to each other, using bricks or tiles as a foundation or wall structure of a house makes it much harder for fires to spread).

4. The elegance and durability provided by Thailand’s natural stone resources cannot be matched.

  • Architects and interior designers have probably made more use of the available stone in the past few years than ever before as they seek to impart a unique quality and appearance to space. Affordable and with an apparently limitless supply, Thai stone can be employed almost as freely as brick and mortar.
  • It’s not simply the variety or quality of natural stone here that gains it favor with artists and architects; there’s also the deep and rich heritage surrounding the selection and use of these materials, which the craftsmen of yesteryear delighted in cultivating. This work has long served as the ornamentation of Thai temples and palaces. The knowledge of those artisans and the character marks they left on the stone itself sustain the integrity and unique appearance of the installations they created.

5. Local Craftsmanship and Artisanal Resources

  • The local way of doing—craftsmanship—and the local resources and traditional resources—guarantee products and value systems that are unique to Thailand.
  • One example is the way local artisans, especially in the northern part of the country, make textiles entirely by hand, preserving an age-old tradition.
  • Other examples mentioned in the same are local ceramics and pottery and, in general, a traditional knowledge and know-how of wood carving and sculpture that goes back many centuries.

Conclusion

Building a house in Thailand is a way to learn to use materials and make connections— both physical and spiritual—to the land and the culture. You take big steps toward having a house that is balanced with nature and that also establishes a clear relationship to people (since in the traditional way of doing things, the home carries on this direct link to the builders and the residents). For the vast majority of traditional houses and house variants in Thailand, the house is born from the same land that’s also served as the place where you make your living and grow your food.

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