The Alpine Pranburi

The Alpine is a private beachfront residence for an interethnic family of four, located on the Pranburi Beach, Prachuap Khiri Khan Province, Thailand. The house bears the imprints of two cultures that are rooted in two disparate geographies and climates: the oceanic Tropical and the mountainous Alpine.

The house reflects first and foremost the family’s casual lifestyle and love of the outdoors.  The compact, aqua-centric residence addresses its immediate adjacency to the sea, echoing the vast natural body of water with its own aquatic components: a swimming pool, an outdoor shower, and a rooftop Jacuzzi overlooking the sea.

Two building volumes sit along the east-west axis of the long, narrow plot of land, separated by a small Frangipani courtyard on the ground floor yet connected by a wooden bridge on the upper floor. The single-storey beachfront pavilion adjacent to the swimming pool houses the living + dining + kitchen quarter, rooftop deck and Jacuzzi. Its horizontality allows a panoramic sea view for the master bedroom on the second floor of the two-storey streetfront volume; the lower level of which is occupied by the guest quarter and service functions.

The house sits lightly and humbly on the beach amidst local sea pines. One existing tree lining the street becomes an adopted part of the driveway, forming an axis from the street toward the sea. Moments of interplay between the modest house and its splendid natural surroundings are aplenty—the sounds of the wind and the tides supplement its quiet presence; dramatic colors of the vast open sky provide ever-changing backdrops; dancing shadows of neighboring trees lend ephemeral patterns to its unassuming facades.

Constructed by a local builder on a modest budget, the structure is in situ post-and-beam concrete, infilled with brick masonry walls. The material palette is limited to unpainted cement plaster, wooden accent elements, stone tiles, and white terrazzo interiors. Vertical striations of the cement plastered facades, wooden wall panels and wooden slats make reference to the forests of Pranburi and those of the European Alpine Region the family holds dear. Through a veil of vertical wooden slats, a forest superimposes onto the sea.

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