SALA Phuket Resort is a beach resort featuring villas with private swimming pools in 63 out of 79 total units. Facilities includes beachfront swimming pools, a beachfront restaurant and bar, spa, gym, gift shop, and executive meeting facility.
In a complex condition of contemporary Asian landscape and lifestyle that is no longer purely eastern, nor entirely western; the project neither refuses the contemporary culture, nor disconnects with its history. The resort itself is situated on a local beach, further away from the ‘center’, yet it is utterly global in its scope condensing multi-national travelers into a single small place. The architecture reflects the co-existence of culture rather than denying it, also fittingly enough to the site of the project - Phuket - which has a long history of cultural crossover among the Chinese, the European, the Malay, and the Thai. This project proposes a new architecture that responds to these complex conditions; it exercises the possibilities of cultural coexistence and answers to the complex context specific to the Asian condition in all of its dimensions from its complex cultural condition, contemporary lifestyle, tropical climate, available materials, technology and labors, to its economical factors.
The design approach focuses on the sensational dimension of the experience that is embodied within the newly conceived space. The physical form of the architecture is modest rather than aggressive. The visual gives way to the experiential.
From entering the property at one end and arriving at beachfront on the other end, space is conceived as a continuous perceptual unfolding of experiences. This sequence of experience starts at drop-off area where interior of the resort is partially revealed through a wooden screen. Behind the screen situate a reception area where an open landscape of the property is fully revealed. The final sequence of experience ends at the beach front public area where the pools and restaurant accompany an openness of the sea.
Within each villa, space is conceived as a private enclosed living quarter. Spaces within the precinct flow freely between interior and exterior. An open plan seamlessly fuses the space of the bedroom, the wash area, the living space, the pool and the landscape into a continuous living experience.
The main public area composed of two beach front swimming pools and a restaurant and bar. The two main pools are laid along the length of the beachfront and become a peaceful foreground of the entire public area. Yet below a seemingly ordinary sheen of water lie multiple areas of varied depths and surfaces allowing for different activities from lap swimming, diving, sitting, walking, and sunbathing.
Taking advantage of tropical climatic condition, the restaurant is designed to operate as an open-air pavilion. The volume of the restaurant and bar has been programmatically stretched horizontally along the shoreline so as to place all the visitors along the best view. Contrary to the grid system which usually demarcates a clear boundary line, structural columns are re-positioned at an unconstrained rhythm, thus creating an ambiguous edge -- a sense of borderless. Consequently, the inside space and surrounding environment is seamlessly merged into one.
Besides dining area on the ground, a new landscape of dining experience can be found on the restaurant’s rooftop. Dining area is depressed into a reflecting pond forming sunken dining pods. By replacing conventional guard rails with water boundary, visual obstruction is removed. The space is extended outward indefinitely.
For the complexity and scale of the project, within the general design framework that ties all the programmatic elements together, there are yet more layers of architectural qualities to be discovered once one gets closer to each of the different parts of the programs. Each part of the project has its own architectural particularity whether it is the beach front public space, the restaurant and bar, the lobby, the villa, all through smaller components as a restroom.