Friday, November 28, 2008

Roofs (Thai Architecture Elements Series)

These little books are published to make available unused images from Nithi Stapitanonda's book Architecture of Thailand (2006.) In each he focuses on one or two architectural elements with images and some text, this one is divided by roof type. I'd like to get copies of "Surfaces" and "Colors." There are also volumes entitled "Stairs & Railings," "Statuary," and "Gates & Fences." (Update: See also Doors & Windows, Surfaces, and Colors.)

Some notes from the text regarding pattern recognition:

Tiered roofs
-visually reduce the mass of a large-scale building, making it look slimmer and more buoant
-reflect the status of the building: more tiers=higher significance of building, owner, or dwellers
-high, vertical layering implies faith in Buddhism or the King

-in the North, where it is cooler, eaves reach down to cover the windows. "Ka Lae" are crossed pieces of wood at teh gable-top to give good fortune, and "Ka Ko" are carved pieces covering the end of purlins.
-in the Southern region with heavy rains and winds, houses on stilts are not as high as those in Central and Northern Thailand, and have a higher pitch to facilitate drainage
-Northeastern style roofs are of the lowest pitch due to dry climate & low rainfall

Multi-tiered (like wedding cake-cone form, spire)
-based on belief related to the mythical Sumeru Mountain...highest rank of roof.

Gable & Hipped
-enable good rainwater drainage and air ventilation
-builders prefer to use small roof tiles on high pitch roof planes
-tiles placed so as to make a border on each roof plane help to make the roof appear light and buoyant

Roof Elements
-Cho Fa, gable-top decoration made in bird-beak shape or fish-lip shape
-Khrueang Lamyong, gable eaves & tile end covers
-Hang Hong, gable end decorations made in the shape of Nage heads placed in a row
-Thais consider it inappropriate to decorate common buildings to be as or more elaborate than temples and palaces.

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