Bangkok-based IDIN Architects has completed work on Pa Prank, a hostel and cafe in the Thai capital’s historical Phraeng Saphasat district.
Converted from two former shophouses — a building typology common to Southeast Asia which combines shop and residence — the design aims to both draw on the aesthetics of a shophouse while mitigating some of their common problems.
A vast curtain wall matches the preserved wall of the previous building, and allows guests to look outside towards it, across an accessible yard with swing-like benches. The front facade, a lattice of black steel containing shop-style shutters, provides a contemporary update to the traditional shophouse front. Vast windows — on the facade, and in the 2m-wide space on the hostel’s side — allow for abundant natural light to enter the building along its entire length. Historically, the narrow, lengthy form of shophouses made this difficult.
The interior is organised with clarity, and sees period fixtures contrasted with minimal contemporary furniture. A shared mezzanine allows access to the ground floor cafe, the guest rooms and activity areas upstairs. There are shared bathrooms, locker rooms and laundry sections on the second floor, while a roof-level floor includes space for yoga and boxing. It also provides a view over Bangkok’s historical centre.
Working in its native Thailand, IDIN Architects has gained international attention for its sensitivity to local detail. Previous projects include a private residence with vast vertical structures and a rural tea cafe on a sloping planation. For the studio’s own Bangkok base, they created a secluded structure clad in black timber.
The Pa Prank hostel bridges the historical and the contemporary