Intergenerational Home Renovation

Rosaline Shaw

Introduction :

Thai traditional house order and features are mostly defined by extended family members living together. Individual houses are attached together and connected by a large balcony which is used as a transition space. These secondary houses are typically built after the wedding of the second generation and attached to the main house. Today however, the second generation of Thai families tend to relocate to other premises because of the limited usable area in existing properties. The presented project is a house for the parents and two members of the second generation with their own respective families. The challenges presented were how to manage the existing space in order to serve all family members, respond to all requirements, and still make it a pleasant and lively home for everyone residing within it.. Therefore the selected design solution arranged a private area for each member connected with the existing vertical circulation. A common area was provided at the ground floor encouraging residents to share and enjoy the space, as well as to encourage the habit of the family spending time together. 


1. To design the renovation project for an extended family by converting an existing house to four private units.. 

2. To apply the culture of a traditional Thai extended family house to a new design that satisfies contemporary lifestyles. 


The main design concept was to create individual spaces for the extended family in the limited space of the older house. The concept assimilated the expansion methodology of Thai traditional house design in which a number of private individual units are connected via a transition space. All existing functions were slightly pulled apart and rearranged within the new design. The main circulation was kept as the main core allowing branches of individual units to attach along with the common area where all family members could spend time together. (McCamant and Durrett, 1994) All existing skeletal structure, columns, beams, and slabs, weare maintained as they were found to be structurally sound. Likewise, the main mechanical and sanitary systems were kept but slightly adjusted. Natural ventilation and natural light were key considerations and prioritised, as a result all. Areas of the house are naturally ventilated. (Chaichongrak, 2000) 

8. Areas of Creative Works / Techniques and Materials (Optional) 

Dwelling means something more than having a roof, floor and wall.(Norberg-Schulz, 1985)The most challenging aspect of the project was how to bring together all family members’ areas within the site of the existing house. In order to satisfy all the family members’ needs and their spatial preferences, the older generation’s area was set on the ground floor, while the younger generations’ units were placed at the top with high ceilings. 


In conclusion, the traditional Thai house design concept was able to adjust and match modern day requirements. This encourages family members to stay together as the extended family grows. The families of the younger generation each have individual spaces where they have privacy and comfort, while the older family members benefit by being taken care of by new generations. Consequently wisdom, knowledge, and culture are transferred to the next generation as the extended family spends time together collectively in the common area. 


McCamant, K. and C. Durrett. (1994). Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves. Berkeley. Habitat Press. Norberg-Schulz, C. (1985) The Concept of Dwelling. New York: Rizzoli International Publications. Chaichongrak, R. (2000). Ruen Thai Doem [The traditional Thai house]. Bangkok, THailand: The Association of Siamese Architect. 


Project Information 

Project: Extended family house 

Building type: Residential 

Location: Jarunsanitwong 75 Bangkok Thailand 

Architect: Rosaline Shaw 

Owner: Eakmahasawat Family 

Engineer: Surapong Netraksakul 

Contractor: Phichet Construction Building

Area: 300 sqm. 

Year: 2023