The Modern Thai House: Innovative Design in Tropical Asia


  • By Robert Powell (Author), Albert Lim KS (Photographer)
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing; Reprint edition (18 October 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804845700
  • ISBN-13: 9780804845700
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 1.8 x 30.5 cm

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With rich photography and insightful commentary, this Thai architecture and interior design book showcases some of the finest modern masterpieces in Southeast Asia.

A tremendous body of sophisticated and sensitively designed architectural work has been produced in Thailand in the first decade of the 21st century. The 25 houses in The Modern Thai House illustrate the radical new ideas coming from a dynamic younger generation of architects who are producing work comparable with and sometimes even surpassing the very best architecture in the world. Most of these architects were trained in the U.S. or U.K. and reflect not only American and European sensibilities but also affinities with their contemporaries in Asia —including Japan, China, Singapore, and Bali—all hotbeds for innovation in modern design.

The houses in this book are readily accessible from Bangkok, Phuket, and Chiangmai. They reflect a wide variety of concerns and solutions, such as: sustainability; responses to climate; strategies for cooling with minimal electricity; openness versus security in a large metropolis such as Bangkok; cultural sensitivity and responsiveness, as evidenced in a “three-generation house,” built for a society in which the extended family is still prevalent; and cultural memory, as in the use of elements such as pilings, verandahs, and steeply pitched roofs with large overhangs that echo traditional Thai designs.

Nurtured by an increasingly knowledgeable and wealthy clientele, modern architecture in Thailand is emerging with a variety of innovative architectural expressions



The Modern Thai House features twenty-five houses selected by Robert Powell. Mainly designed by young architects in Bangkok and Chiangmai, these have been created in the last five years. I am impressed by the freshness and diversity of these contemporary works. There is an enjoyable consistency in the way that the lush vegetation, pools of water and often magnificent views weave through and around the architecture. The photography in this impressive book captures these qualities beautifully. This volume is an intelligent reminder of the importance that the design of the family house plays in the career of an architect. In many ways to design a good home is the ultimate architectural challenge.” —Norman Foster, Baron Foster of Thames Bank, owner of Foster + Partners

About the Author

Robert Powell is an architect and writer. He was formerly Associate Professor of Architecture at the National University of Singapore. Currently Project Director and Head of Ecomasterplanning with Llewelyn Davies Yeang (London), he is working with Ken Yeang on projects in Libya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Qatar. He is the author of thirty books, including The Tropical Asian House; Modern Tropical Architecture: The Work of Tay Kheng Soon and Akitek Tenggara; Rethinking the Skyscraper: The Complete Works of Ken Yeang; Singapore Architecture; SCDA Architects: The Architecture of Soo Chan; Singapore: Architecture of a Global City; The New Malaysian House; Singapore Houses and The New Indonesian House. He writes occasionally for Architectural Review, Architectural Record, Dialogue (Taiwan) and Monument (Australia).

Albert Lim Koon Seng is an acclaimed Singapore-based architectural photographer whose images have been published extensively in architectural journals, including A+U (Japan), Architectural Review, Singapore Architect, SPACE (Singapore) and Monument (Australia). His photographs have illustrated numerous books, including Living Legacy; Modern Tropical Architecture; Singapore: Architecture of a Global City; The New Malaysian House; Singapore Houses and The New Indonesian House. His work has also illustrated exhibitions at the Venice Biennale (2004) and at Aedes East, Berlin (2006).