Koh Yao Noi is an unspoilt island located in the Andaman Sea halfway between Phuket and Krabi. Our initial site visit left a long-lasting impression on us. Approaching the island by speedboat presented impressive views of Pah Koh, the Thai name for the fabulous, lop-sided limestone karst islets for which the area is famous.

Upon landing on the site, thickly wooded with lush rainforest, we met a family of hornbills, their throats and bills splendidly colored. These initial experiences of the site’s natural wealth inspired us, sparking a determination to touch this place as lightly as possible with the proposed resort development. The architectural components were derived from local vernacular housingthe hipped roofs typical of southern Thai architecture. We wanted these roofs, as the dominant manmade elements on the site, to age naturally and gradually amalgamate with the jungle. So, local sugar palm leaf was selected as the roofing material.

The thatch is retrained by timber lattice at the ridgesadapting an age-old local method for enduring monsoonal storms. Exhaustive efforts were made to sub-divide the buildingsall 56 pool villas and public buildingsinto small components and to insert them onto the steep topography of the site.

There was minimal disturbance to the existing ground and to existing trees. The extensive covered outdoor living areas throughoutsuch as restaurants and transitional verandahs between bedroom and pool in the villaslend transparency to the structures, again contributing to the objective of the resort very gently impacting the site.

We are gratified to hear feedback from visitors to Yao Noi saying that it’s as if the buildings have been there for a long time. This is partly due to the way the materials have weathered. It’s also a result of simplifying the structure and honing architectural components to their essence. Views to the timeless, otherworldly Koh Pah are framed by columns hewn from timber logs, thatch roof, and infinity edge pool. Even more gratifying is that a family of hornbills have returned to nest here. We like to think this is the same family we met on our first visit.

  • LocationKoh Yao Noi, Phang Nga, Thailand
  • Date2008
  • Interior designerSix Senses Creative Department
  • Landscape designerInside Out Design