In the heart of Muang Narathiwat, Thailand, stands the Nara House, a residential project conceived by Nirostina Nisani. Unfolding over a mere 360 square meters, the Nara House pushes the boundaries of spatial design. It replaces an old single-story wooden shophouse, reimagined to cater to a growing family’s evolving needs while navigating challenging site conditions.
Nara House Technical Information
- Architects: Nirostina Nisani
- Location: Muang Narathiwat, Thailand
- Topics: White in Architecture
- Area: 360 m2
- Completion Year: 2022
- Photographs: © Beer Singnoi
Dealing with a limitation of only 4m wide, and a disordered form of the land, to be challenging of design criteria, thinking about what the house would look like or even manage a narrow space and unpredictable mass that would still be able to divide the proportion of the extended family. It’s a key design challenge.
– Nirostina Nisani
Nara House Photographs
Designing Within Boundaries: The Versatility of the Nara House
The original plot imposed unique limitations—a mere 4-meter width and a disordered land form. However, constraints often lead to innovation. One of the core challenges Nisani faced was conceptualizing a design that could efficiently divide spaces for an extended family while negotiating these constraints.
The house is organized in a linear fashion, with the original store located at the front. At its core lies an open inner courtyard, which serves as a division between the store and the main house. However, this separation is elegantly bridged by an exposed corridor on the second floor, allowing for a contiguous spatial experience.
Restricted by legal constraints from opening the sides of the house, the design ingeniously incorporates skylights to flood the spaces with natural light. This decision doesn’t merely solve the issue of illumination; it adds a layer of visual appeal and spatial complexity.
The interior embraces a monochrome palette—white walls contrast with dark-toned furniture. Accents in natural stone and wooden floors add layers to the sensory experience, making the narrow spaces appear distinctive and larger than they are.
The stairwell of the house is a functional sculpture in itself. Designed to wrap around the open courtyard, it creates a double-volume effect that amplifies the space. A full mirror along the stairwell multiplies the natural light and extends the visual field, letting occupants see the courtyard in its full glory.
The facade pays homage to its community, blending seamlessly with neighboring wooden structures. What sets it apart is its transformative nature. Wooden doors at the front can be opened or closed, adding a playful yet sophisticated layer to the design. This allows the house to engage in a dialogue with its external environment, changing its character as needed.
Nara House is a lesson in thoughtful design. It not only makes optimal use of a challenging space but also manages to encapsulate a variety of functions in a cohesive manner. Nirostina Nisani’s approach shows that limitations can indeed be the canvas for remarkable architectural artistry.
By reimagining the possibilities of a small, confined space, Nara House serves as a modern testament to what can be achieved when ingenuity meets constraint.