vietnam-based studio sicart and smith architects has recently inaugurated the suan kachamudee spa and resort cascading down the lush landscape of koh samui, thailand. the 2,500 m2 site boasts a total of 8 guest houses organized into 5 buildings surrounding a central structure containing a spa, swimming pool, common room and event space. the site, though offering breathtaking views of the ocean, posed particular challenges when planning the layout.

herzog de meuron elbphilharmonie
the central structure hosts group events for visitors and provides various social areas
image © anne sophie maestracci

 

 

a slope of over 50% suggested the need to split the program into several structures that would more easily integrate into the hillside and help maintain a smaller scale amongst the tropical green-scape. the site itself was also dotted with large granite boulders that the architects at sicart and smith rationalized as a design element in order to preserve as much as the local flora as possible and integrate a piece of the site’s history into every house. 

herzog de meuron elbphilharmonie
a large outdoor pool mirrors the vibrancy of the ocean beyond, allowing guests to swim which enjoying the views
image © anne sophie maestracci

 

 

the design was not solely a reaction to restricting site conditions, however. the structures are composed of stark white, rectilinear fragments that  extend over exterior patios and glass walls to provide necessary shade in the tropical heat. triangular walls frame ocean views and offer varying degrees of privacy for guests. the granite boulders make appearances in every building on the premises that, along with a series of outdoor paths, distort the sense of interior and exterior, providing guests with a constant exposure to rich textures and colors throughout their experience. 

herzog de meuron elbphilharmonie
view from the roof of the communal structure, the highest building of the set
image © anne sophie maestracci

herzog de meuron elbphilharmonie
image © anne sophie maestracci

herzog de meuron elbphilharmonie
communal terrace overlooking the beach
image © anne sophie maestracci

herzog de meuron elbphilharmonie
image © anne sophie maestracci

herzog de meuron elbphilharmonie
image © anne sophie maestracci

herzog de meuron elbphilharmonie
angled walls frame entry vestibules and provide shade to the individual houses
image © anne sophie maestracci

herzog de meuron elbphilharmonie
dense vegetation abuts the architecture, filling the spatial voids between the structures
image © anne sophie maestracci

herzog de meuron elbphilharmonie
large windows take advantage of the tropical views and natural sunlight
image © anne sophie maestracci

herzog de meuron elbphilharmonie
community living area
image © anne sophie maestracci

herzog de meuron elbphilharmonie
image © anne sophie maestracci

herzog de meuron elbphilharmonie
granite boulders become part of every day functions, integrating site and structure
image © anne sophie maestracci

herzog de meuron elbphilharmonie
image © anne sophie maestracci

herzog de meuron elbphilharmonie
aerial view of the site
image © anne sophie maestracci

herzog de meuron elbphilharmonie
image © anne sophie maestracci

 

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