Bangkok Sketchwalk, Old Kadeejeen house

March 17, 2013

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A4 Laloran 120g sketchbook, graphite pencil and watercolour

First of all the house. This large, stand-alone, run-down teak wood house faces on to the Chao Phraya River, separated by a swathe of grass and the footway/bikeway at the water’s edge. It’s special because of its size, higher than the houses in the Old Kadeejeen Portuguese community.

Secondly, the grassy area in front of the house. This is really quite unusual in Bangkok.  Having moved around the city for more than a week, the number of vacant blocks or areas of vacant land in the city I saw could be counted on one hand. I saw a large area of forest  surrounded by some high-rise buildings in Krung Thonburi and another in Baan Krua, a former weaving suburb, among some houses. The contrast is quite stark.

I can’t say whether this house once faced directly on to the river and some land reclamation has occurred, or whether it was part of an estate or whether the buildings in front of it were at some later date cleared. I liked the disjunct so much between the house and the land that I couldn’t help stress it in the composition.

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The house is occupied. Its appearance contrasts strongly with a recently completely refurbished colonial house over on the other side of the river near Sathon Tower. In that case, land surrounding an old house has been sold off and is now occupied by 50-storey towers. The colonial house stands in splendid isolation, especially so since there is no landscaping around it at present.

My sketching colleagues on the 2013 Chao Phraya event also found the house worth sketching. The vantage point is the riverside  footway/bikeway.

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