adobe brick and timber create a contemporary 'tale of earth and wood' in thailand

adobe brick and timber create a contemporary 'tale of earth and wood' in thailand

on a site uniquely situated between lamyai tree orchards and rice fields — boasting views of the mountains of northern thailand — chiangmai life architects (CLA) has designed a modern residence named, a tale of earth and wood. the architects were tasked with interpreting natural materials through a contemporary lens, and integrating the home in harmony with its environment and surroundings. the use of adobe brick walls and wooden roof structures were designed to make this earth and wood residence meet needs of a 21st century family.

all images by alberto cosi | drone photography by markus roselieb (CLA)



‘a tale of earth and wood’ comprises a private wing with 4 bedrooms: 3 for the children, and a master bedroom with views of the adjacent rice fields. chiangmai life architects has incorporated the common rooms — living room, dining space, kitchen, swimming pool and entertainment space — centrally within the home. a second-floor mezzanine provides inhabitants with sweeping views of the surrounding landscape, and is designated as home office and reading space. on the other side of the common area is a free-standing guest cottage with its own sunset veranda. living areas rely on natural ventilation and the natural materials’ inherent thermal insulation capabilities for cooling. the roof structure is designed in line with traditional thai architecture, with ventilation openings that induce air circulation as hot air rises.



wood elements throughout the home have been employed as naturally as possible to show off the structural and decorative features of the design. the wood was sealed and treated with clear oil to celebrate ‘nature’s own design’, bringing out the characteristics and imperfections inherent in the timber. the residence’s walls are built from adobe bricks self-made from local clay, sand and bamboo shavings. while small irregularities, round corners, and texture gives clues to the underlying material, the finishing is so smooth that differentiating between earthen walls and conventional walls is nearly impossible. meanwhile, lime has been combined with fine earth powder to achieve a strong and water-resistant outer coating.



throughout the dwelling, flooring is derived from stone tiles, further enhancing the use of natural materials and providing a cooling effect that is both practical and comfortable to touch. to keep the carbon footprint as low as possible, and add a local touch, the car port, barn and entrance gate were all made of bamboo.




project info:


project name: a tale of earth and wood
architect: chiangmai life architects (CLA)
completion year: 2018
built area: 696 sqm
project location: chiang mai, thailand
photographer: alberto cosi / drone photography: markus roselieb (CLA)


technical info:


lead architects: markus roselieb, tosapon sittiwong
collaborators: thaweephan wood products, homebuilders, anmar
consultant: numton architects (traditional thai roof consultant)
client: paul valler
budget: N/A
carbon footprint: much lower than conventional construction




chiangmai life construction: fine-earth wall plaster, adobe bricks, treated bamboo
thaweephan wood products: wooden roof structures, doors, windows, furniture
homebuilders: wood shingles
anmar co. ltd.: natural stone floors

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    architecture news

    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    502,531 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample