“Multi-place” is a mixed-use building located in the heart of Surat Thani, a city in Southern Thailand. Designed by Bangkok-based Ekar Architects, the building which sits on 480 sqm of land, includes the homes and work spaces of a pair of siblings, one who is a pharmacist and the other a veterinarian.
The architects were tasked by the clients to create spaces that would feel separate from one another, almost like two detaches houses. The building(s) needed to cater to residential living for two separate families as well as conducive spaces for two separate businesses. All of this had to be done with a narrow site that sat along a main road. The architects also had to contend with planning and legal restrictions that limited the building’s length to 20m as well as dust and noise pollution.
The reality of the numerous challenges and restrictions shaped and informed the eventual concept of the building. The architects created two volumes separated by planted courtyards. The work spaces were placed on the ground floor taking up majority of the space with some room left for private entrances into the residences above and behind.
The two volumes differ in height with one side being three storeys high to house the veterinarian’s home, veterinary clinic and pet shop. The other side stands at four storeys and houses the pharmacist’s residence, pharmacy, a hostel and cafe, as well as meeting rooms. The courtyards run through out the vertical volume of the building(s) to maximise lighting and ventilation as act as a natural boundary between the public work spaces and the more private / semi-private residences.
A blend of locally sourced glass blocks and perforated concrete-blocks were extensively throughout the project. Most notably to screen off the windows and terraces at the front of the building on the subsequent floors above creating a unique and engaging pattern as the approach facade. The nature of the blocks permits light and air to penetrate through to the functional spaces while ensuring privacy and security, and minimising noise and pollution.