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Forested House is an urban forest, home to over 100 trees

A young lady riding her bicycle in front of the forested house
An aerial picture of Chatuchak, Bangkok's Forest House, featuring the homeowner waving from the green rooftop
Aerial view of Forest House in Chatuchak, Bangkok and the buildings around it

Forested House in Chatuchak, Bangkok is a family home which integrates more than 100 trees. This urban forest in boxes is made up of a biodiverse range of over 20 species of fruit bearing, edible, flowering, evergreen or deciduous trees.

Designed by Shma Designs, the home was designed as a response to rapid urbanisation and diminishing green areas. Bigger structures are getting built on the same plot area and greenery is mostly being used for decoration. The reality is that this loss of green space significantly impacts the environment, particularly in increasing air pollution. Trees have the superpower of being able to filter out harmful gases and provide us with oxygen, and without enough trees, our health and wellbeing in cities like Bangkok is being affected.

Rooftop covered with trees
Rooftop hallway shaded with greenery

Forested House was a research project with the aim to find a way to integrate greenery into urban areas while still maximising the plot area. The solution was to segment the home into three sections with two courtyards between them, which provide room for planting, access to sunlight and natural ventilation. Abundant greenery is on each level of the home and it provides lush green views, privacy and shading with a rooftop urban farm. Organic herbs, fruit trees and vegetables provide fresh produce and reduces the food miles for the family of five who live here.

Research has shown that one tree can produce enough oxygen for two people and with more than 100 trees, this urban forest helps sustain the inhabitants plus their surrounding neighbours.

The plants were carefully selected to consider maintenance levels, tree growth rates, biodiversity, a mix of evergreen and deciduous trees and shading.

A man is descending the wooden stairs with the glass window that overlooks greenery
Glass-walled hallway with trees visible through the walls
Glass-walled bedroom overlooking the garden

Sustainability specs:
– The building houses more than 100 trees
– A single tree can produce enough oxygen for 2 people (according to research)
– Slow release drip irrigation at the tree roots, plants are watered efficiently which saves water
– Natural composting process is used instead of mulch. When leaves drop, they are collected and used to cover the soil. The leaves are used as fertiliser
– Rooftop urban farm provides organic produce, reducing food miles through onsite production

Aerial view of Forested House
Exterior view of an urban forest biodiverse home
Rooftop full of trees and potted plants
Table and chairs on the rooftop shaded by trees
View of trees from the rooftop
From the architect:

Average planter size is 1-1.5 meters deep and 2×4 square metre. Only 1-2 years old trees with trunk diameter of 1 inch are selected because young root system has higher chance to adapt to the limited soil condition. The whole planter box is filled with high nutrient topsoil that provides food for the tree. To maximize number of trees planted in the small planter, only columnar shaped trees are selected.Indigenous tree species typically found in mixed deciduous forest are chosen as they demand less watering, hence save the resource.

Images courtesy of Shma Designs. Photography by Jinnawat BorihankijananPrapan Napawongdee, Napon Jaturapuchapornpong

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