Baan Trok Tua Ngork: Heritage renovation through the craft of measured drawing

Asst.Prof. Sudjit Svetachinta, Ph.D. & Win Assakul

Introduction :

Baan Trok Tua Ngork (beansprout alley house) is a privately owned trans- generational space situated on Santhiphap road in the heart of Bangkok’s Chinatown. For almost a century, the building was the family home and was used primarily for residence although there was a brief period of time where it took on a commercial role and hosted the family’s office. Eventually the family members found success with businesses and moved out of this ancestral home to start families elsewhere and the building was left vacant.

As time went by, the family’s younger generations became more interested in the space for its history, culture and heritage. Eventually, the decision was taken to restore the house to a condition suitable for more contemporary functions whilst losing none of the richness that links this building to this past. The unique, rooted design was born from the passion of the family and the skill Stu/D/O Architects, a practice local to the area. In addition, VERNADOC Thailand, led by Sudjit Svetachinta and Parichat Sakunjaroenpornchai were engaged early in the

process to identify important characteristics that helped shape the building into what it is today.



1. Renovating a private heritage home into a publicly accessible retail and cultural space.

2. To maintain the essence of the heritage space through careful consideration of details whilst increasing flexibility and functionality for future programs and uses


1. Standard CAD architectural and structural survey of existing building.

2. VERNADOC survey and capture of details of the building and internal environment using simple hand tools.

3. Conclusion of client’s architectural brief.

4. Begin iterative design process.

Combining VERNADOC and CAD information to develop a fuller understanding of the existing condition.

5. Finalise design for construction.

Techniques and Materials:

Adaptive reuse of an existing building with careful, respectful curation of new and old materials. Always being respectful and conscious of maintaining authenticity by identifying and celebrating the most characterful details such as the floor tiles and original doors and windows.

The technique of VERNADOC is the accuracy achieved from on-site measurements, using simple tools such as pen and paper, measuring tapes and spirit levels. Texture and shadow instead of text and specifications bring a building to life and make it more legible to onlookers.


It is almost always the case that working with existing buildings is more difficult than starting with a blank canvas. In this case it could not be more true. Behind its richness and beauty lies a difficult truth, built in the 1920 s Baan Trok Tua Ngork was designed with little consideration of standardisation or modularity. CAD surveys that were measured with healthy doses of assumption quickly showed errors and it was fortunate that the discipline of the VERNADOC process was able to identify problem areas and provide accurate corrections. Although these quirks and oddities slowed the design process it was important to the overall development and these seemingly minor details come together to create a granularity of detail that can be quickly noticed by almost all visitors. From the original wooden shutters and doors to the beautiful antique tiles, key details were carefully considered and preserved. In contrast, superfluous material was removed to make way for future use as a flexible space to support creative and local projects. It’s this balance that makes Baan Trok Tua Ngork so unique. Self-referential, it eschews the pastiche. This is a project rooted in its location, its history and its transgenerational future.


ปาริฉัตร คำวาส (2023). Baan Trok Tua Ngork: ปัดฝุ่นบ้านเก่าย่านตรอกถั่วงอกเป็นพื้นที่แล้วแต่จะสร้างสรรค์ไปพร้อมกับการบันทึกรอยต่อความทรงจำเก่าและใหม่ให้ทุกคน. Retrieved from (11.02.2023) 

Mattila, Markku. (2015). “FIRST 10 VERNADOC YEARS.” In ITALIAN VERNADOC 2015, 105-111. Edited by Markku Mattila. Helsinki: CIAV of ICOMOS Finland. 

Mattila, Markku. (2006). VERNADOC 2005.Helsinki: The Vernacular Committee of ICOMOS Finland. 

Stu/D/O Architects & VERNADOC Thailand