boutique hotel fuses multi-curved brick walls with pure white geometries
photo © wison tungthunya
all images courtesy of onion

 

 

 

‘sala ayutthaya’ by onion is a 26-room boutique hotel across the picturesque site of the old capital of thailand along the chao phraya river. built in 1353 by the first monarch of ayutthaya kingdom, phutthai sawan temple becomes the encompassing view of the restaurant and the riverfront suites. the main entry, next to a sala tree on U-thong road, is a single iron door on a long brick façade that leads occupants to the low wooden ceiling above the reception desk and the double volume art gallery. 

onion sala ayutthaya boutique hotel curved brick walls white geometries thailand designboom
the multi-curved walls frame views of the sky
photo © wison tungthunya

onion sala ayutthaya boutique hotel curved brick walls white geometries thailand designboom
corridor to swimming pool court
photo © wison tungthunya

 

 

 

within this space, the dominant feature is an antique timber door whose frame has been designed by the architects. it is placed between transparent mirrors, opening to the exterior courtyard, and narrowed by the paralleled brick walls of multi-curved geometries that frame images of the sky. ‘what is unique about this main circulation is the constantly changing shadows,’ notes onion. ‘the curved shadows from the two sides normally meet on the floor at about eleven o’ clock in the morning. they transform the atmosphere of the space at different times of the day.’ 

onion sala ayutthaya boutique hotel curved brick walls white geometries thailand designboom
main entrance
photo © wison tungthunya

onion sala ayutthaya boutique hotel curved brick walls white geometries thailand designboom
the low wooden ceiling above the reception desk
photo © wison tungthunya

 

 

 

the panoramic view of chao phraya river and putthai sawan temple cannot be seen from the sinuous boundaries of the courtyard. instead, it can only be experienced while walking past the restaurant towards the riverfront deck. at this location, another façade of sala is shown, with white walls of gable houses, an arrangement of step decks, and terraces along the water.

onion sala ayutthaya boutique hotel curved brick walls white geometries thailand designboom
putthai sawan temple can be seen from the indoor restaurant
photo © wison tungthunya

 

 

 

the layout is a compound of twelve private residences, proportionately packed within the limited area of L-shaped land, leaving the focal points of the project to be the outdoor spaces. they exhibit the local craftsmanship of brickworks, juxtaposed with the simplicity and neatness of the white walls and a solution to the problem of annual flooding, influenced by chand baori stepwell in rajasthan, india.

onion sala ayutthaya boutique hotel curved brick walls white geometries thailand designboom
the project presents a solution to the problem of annual flooding
photo © wison tungthunya

 

 

 

 

as a result, the step decks are designed to be flooded. the overall formal gesture moves from the one-storey high platform to the same level as the river. four red-flower trees called ‘jik’ are planted next to the main deck in order to signify the location of the outdoor bar. along the narrowed riverbank, a row of tropical trees named krading-nangfa (which is thai for the ‘angel’s bell’) have been placed. their bell-shaped flowers will eventually blossom, and their branches will suspend themselves down towards the water to form a long tunnel of fragrant vegetation. thus, sala ayutthaya will be more complete with age.

onion sala ayutthaya boutique hotel curved brick walls white geometries thailand designboom
the outdoor restaurant organizes white walls of gable houses, step decks, and terraces along the water
photo © wison tungthunya

onion sala ayutthaya boutique hotel curved brick walls white geometries thailand designboom
the swimming pool
photo © wison tungthunya

 

 

 

the pattern of the terraces can also be explained as an element of local architecture. the studio has borrowed a reduced size of a corner of the phutthai sawan stupa, scaled and redesigned it to frame various objects at the hotel. this includes the interior and the exterior walls, the vertical and the horizontal planes, the furniture and the pillow cases. such repetition marks the architects’ concern about what contemporary thai should mean, in both the functional and decorative sense.

onion sala ayutthaya boutique hotel curved brick walls white geometries thailand designboom
pool suite room
photo © wison tungthunya

 

 

 

onion has placed emphasis on the construction details and interior design. custom-made by a local factory, the bell-shaped granite lamps are the main features within the dining room. the structural pattern of the hangers is based on the grid system, but the aesthetic looks dynamic due to the precise positions of the weights that change the arrangement of electric cables from a straight to a zig-zagging texture. the image of a tiger leaping forwards, representing ‘strength’ in thailand, is engraved upon the head of the wooden bed. the section of an ornament called ‘luk-mahuad’ is redesigned as parts of the bathroom counters and beds.

onion sala ayutthaya boutique hotel curved brick walls white geometries thailand designboom
the image of a tiger leaping forwards represents ‘strength’
photo © wison tungthunya

 

 

 

the privacy of guests is secured through the circulation scheme. the architects opted for the use of staircases that directly lead the clients to their own bedrooms as opposed to a single loaded corridor. in turn, all the units are different from one another. there are at least three rooms that have the direct access to the swimming pool made of white marble. the smaller bedroom has its own private terrace and a hidden daybed for children. the more spacious residence does not have a view of the river, but its longitudinal wall faces the longitudinal side of the swimming pool. on the upper floor, the room above the gallery has bird’s-eye-view of the brick walled courtyard. meanwhile, the bridge provides an aerial view of the pool and the garden.

onion sala ayutthaya boutique hotel curved brick walls white geometries thailand designboom
river view room
photo © wison tungthunya

 

 

 

 

project info:

 

name: sala ayutthaya hotel
area: 3500 sq.m
location: ayutthaya, thailand
year of completion: august 2014
architect: onion (siriyot chaiamnuay and arisara chaktranon)
interior designer: onion (siriyot chaiamnuay and arisara chaktranon)
text: M.L. chittawadi chitrabongs
photography: wison tungthunya

 

 

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.