The home of architecture and design in Asia-Pacific

Get the latest design news direct to your inbox!

From The INDE Shortlist: Z9 Resort By Dersyn Studio

Should the architecture or the site be the dominant player in a resort? At Z9 Resort in Thailand, Dersyn Studio uses built form to communicate a sense of place.

From The INDE Shortlist: Z9 Resort By Dersyn Studio

What should be considered to be the main actor in the design of resorts? Should it be the resort buildings themselves, or the natural context and surroundings? “Most designers would consider the buildings to be the main actor in resort design,” suggests Sarawoot Jansaeng-Aram of Bangkok-based Dersyn Studio. “However, Dersyn Studio believes that the natural context should play the most important role while resort buildings should be just a supporting actor.”


But what an impressive supporting actor the buildings are at Dersyn Studio’s recently completed project Z9 Resort. An undulating architecture that notions to the rolling contours of the surrounding landscape – this is the basis of a partially floating hotel perched on the Srinakarin Dam in western Thailand’s Kanchanaburi region.


“The lines obviously represent the lake-side context, and the proportion is also in line with the environment. The lobby corresponds with the lunar direction, which means guests can enjoy stunning sunrise and sunset scenes,” explains Jansaeng-Aram. “Each building utilises natural ventilation, and the shapes and colours intimately blend in with the attractive mountain and lake view.”


Jansaeng-Aram suggests that the relationship between natural contexts and resort buildings is like the relationship of a painting (natural context) and its frame (resort building). Z9 Resort offers both on-land and floating accommodation, but perhaps the most significant ‘framing’ moment occurs at the common area. A tall tree shades this shared zone, making the space tenable to all age groups – from seniors practising tai chi to children playing games.

Says Jansaeng-Aram, “These activities are also the real meaning of liveable architectural space.”


The lobby plays the important role of demonstrating the relationship between ‘frame’ and ‘painting’ before guests descend the sloped site to the restaurant and accommodation rooms. “The walkway inside the lobby area, the lighting design and installation details work together and create a ‘catwalk’ atmosphere,” says Jansaeng-Aram. “The planning design, the physical shape of the lobby and its construction details in conjunction with the scenic lakeside work together and create a ‘stage show’ atmosphere. When a guest reaches the end of the lobby walkway, they will see the stunning view of the gorgeous lake with mountains as the background.”


The shape of the shingled roof canopy was inspired by the curvature of the surrounding mountains. Two stoic timber columns in the lobby reference traditional Thai countryside resort architecture, as does the porch of recycled timber. Breathable bamboo walls were crafted using local artisinal techniques; the woven design keeps out the sun and rain but allow breeze to pass through.


Z9 Resort merges architecture and environment, yet also defines itself as one actor in the wider contextual show. Says Jansaeng-Aram, “Architecture should be a process to describe a sense of place to its users.”


Photography: Beer Singnoi and Jagkree Phetphosree.


Z9 Resort

Designer: Dersyn Studio Co., Ltd
Project Lead: Sarawoot Jansaeng-Aram
Project Team: Chanita Wannamass, Kunakorn Buathong, Nuttawoot Mutchima, Suchin Thongmorn, Tawee Natrakulwisut, Thitipong Fuangfung, Wasawat Maneeon


Z9 Resort has been Shortlisted in The Building category of the INDE.Awards 2019. Will it be a winner? Find out at the INDE.Awards 2019 Gala in Melbourne on 21 June!

INDESIGN is on instagram

Follow @indesignlive

The Indesign Collection

A searchable and comprehensive guide for specifying leading products and their suppliers

Indesign Our Partners

Keep up to date with the latest and greatest from our industry BFF's!

Related Stories

While you were sleeping

The internet never sleeps! Here's the stuff you might have missed