The Characteristics of Vernacular House Plans in Northeast Thailand along Chi River Basin

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Wachirapong Kittirach


         In Northeast Thailand, vernacular houses can be divided into three groups: Koey house, Khong house and Faed house.  All share the common characteristic of orientation called “following the sun”, by which it means, the narrow sides of the biggest room in the house, usually a bedroom, are facing East-West directions, while its longer sides are towards North-South directions.  This paper studies the orientation of the Northeast vernacular dwellings, focusing on ways in which their main rooms such as bedroom, kitchen, terraces, and stair are located and organised.  From the case studies of 22 houses in total, 19 of which are planned as “following the sun”, which can further be categories into 2 sub-groups: the first group, consisting of 9 houses, has bedroom in the North; the second group, composed of 5 houses, has bedroom in the South.  In both cases, however, the kitchen is always located in the West, and whichever side the stair is situated, the bedroom is on the opposite side; for example, if the stair is located in the North, the bedroom is towards the South. This house orientation shows local wisdom in designing with the local climatic conditions and the use of domestic spaces at different times of the day in mind.


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