Perched on a dramatic headland on the west coast of Phuket in Thailand, Villa Saengootsa is an unassuming statement in the integration of indoor and outdoor space, brought together in an exciting contemporary living experience. The stunning sea view and the desire to create a contemporary home that maintains a cultural affinity with its location, have combined to inspire the design.
The entrance is a processional experience that dramatically uses the view and a change in level to shape the transition from the public road to the private entertainment spaces below. Inter-connecting cathedral roofs float above the living and dining areas which in turn, open fully onto terraces and the main pool deck creating a combination of interlinked volumes that blur the line between inner and outer space.
Glass, steel and wood have been used extensively to create an experience that is light and open and roofs that appear to float. Calmness and harmony are infused through the use of these simple forms and the limited palette of materials.
The terraced levels below are dedicated to the more private family functions. Five bedrooms, a club room and home theatre command full benefit of the view and open onto the extensive gardens. None however, are more dramatic than the master suite that is defined by a soaring pyramid roof crowned with a shaded glazed cupola.
Villa Saengootsa has been carefully modelled to minimise environmental impact on its surroundings. Designed to respect the natural slope, the villa hugs the natural contours and blends into the landscape with the lower floors tucked under the upper levels. A single storey is all one sees when entering. From the sea, the accommodation is terraced sensitively to reduce mass and enhance a human scale, belying the dynamic volumes that are experienced within.
This architectural camouflage is continued into the landscaping where only indigenous species have been used in an endeavour to supplement the existing flora to further blend our designs with the natural environment.
The overall result is a fantastic resort home that takes full advantage of natural assets the site has to offer.
Perhaps the most innovative aspect of Villa Saengootsa is the way in which it provokes a different way of living. The spaces are large but still intimate. The various dining locations are designed to be friendly and relaxed but still evoke a real sense of luxury. The living areas should really be named the lounging areas with no real definition as to where or why but just do. There are pockets for privacy but they all refer back to the overall whole that is full of vitality and peace.
CONTRIBUTION TO ARCHITECTURAL DEVELOPMENT:
The whole concept of leisure architecture has been developing rapidly over the past 20 years. People are learning lifestyles that are specifically geared around vacation time and are closely interacting with family and friends in new living experiences. Villa Saengootsa helps take such experiences to a new level with its rich array of interesting eating, lounging, sleeping and entertainment opportunities that enliven an exciting example of contemporary architecture.
Villa Saengootsa is one of fourteen homes in a gated development. As water is one of the most precious elements on Phuket, rain is collected from the roofs of all the villas and stored in a central reservoir from where it is distributed to the individual villas for use. Waste water is also carefully managed in a centralised treatment plant where sewage from the villas is collected and biologically treated to a level that is safe enough for use in irrigation.
In addition, the roofs of Villa Saengootsa are heavily insulated and deeply overhang the glazed walls below to minimise solar heat gain. Generally however, the air conditioning on the Entertainment Level is rarely used. With the window walls fully opened on all sides, the almost constant land and sea breezes keep the spaces at a comfortable temperature.