The Lanna Traditional House Museum, CMU

Kruang-Puuk House (Traditional Lanna/bamboo house)

A kruang-puuk house is a house that uses thin bamboo strips as ties to tightly bind the structure of the house.  As such, maibua houses and kruang-puuk houses are related.  The word maibua refers to the material and kruang-puuk (the ties that hold the house together) refers to the method used to build the house.  Generally, this method is also used to build maibua houses because they are constructed with small, light pieces of wood that are easier to tie together than wooden boards, for which nails are better.

Chiang Mai Townsfolk House - Heaun Phaya Pong Lang Ka

Heaun Phaya Pong Lang Ka is a prime example of a house belonging to a family of high social status. The style of the house, which was typically found in the moated city of Chiang Mai, resembles the traditional Kalae house of old. The house was built elevated from the ground and is comprised of two compartments, each with its own roof and gables, but sharing the same platform. A wooden gutter made from a single length of log runs between the two tiled roofs. The larger compartment is the sleeping area, while the smaller one serves as the kitchen. There is a large veranda at the front of the house which connects to the terrace. There is a presumption that the wooden wall in the house was constructed later to separate the rooms and the veranda. As with a Kalae house, its construction is comprised of pillars and beams to bear and support the weight. The roof structure is the same as in a Kalae house but there is no Kalae – a piece of wood carving extending from the top of the gables. No ham-yon was found as a carved lintel over the doorways to the sleeping rooms. The numbers of windows are fairly small but there are sliding panels in many places which provide extra ventilation. Heaun Phaya Pong Lang Ka was originally built in the moated city of Chiang Mai in 1896, the same year that Chiang Mai City celebrated her 600 years anniversary, by Phaya Pong Lang Ka and his wife Kham Moon. The descendants of Phaya Pong Lang Ka, the Waneesorn family, donated the house to Chiang Mai University in 2004. The relocation was supported by Chumbhot-Pantip Foundation.

Kalae House - Heaun Phaya Wong

This Kalae house is comprised of twin main compartments sharing the same platform.  Each compartment has separate gable roofs.  Between the two gable roofs, there is a wooden gutter or Hang Lin.  The transitional corridor under this gutter is called Hom Lin.  Both compartments served as sleeping areas of the extended family of Phaya Wong.  There is a separate smaller compartment at the rear for cooking.  The bathroom was built away from the house.  The front covered veranda or Toen has a wooden partition extending from the wall called Fah Lab Nang to give some privacy to the female occupants during the day.  It was very well-built with hardly any nails used. The space under the gable is lofty without a ceiling under the roof structure.  This is in order to aid the air circulation through the roof.  In place of a ceiling, there is a wooden shelf or Kwan to store artifacts such as Nam Ton or earthenware water containers.  At the ceiling level there is also a Kua Yan to give footholds while repairing the roof. The sleeping area is separated from the front veranda by a continuous wall from the floor to the gable tip called Nab Toen.  The bedroom doors can be locked from the inside by a latch called a Saew. Above the door to the sleeping area, there is a notable decorative lintel called Hum Yon.  Underneath the door, there is a wooden threshold, or Khom Tu. The floor structure contains one strip of wide and thick wooden planks called Pan Tong.  These planks, which are supported by a mid-span post called Sao Pok, help stabilize the floor structure.  Since they are separate from the normal floor planks, they also serve as a sturdy path way to walk during the night since they make less noise. The post and beam system of this Kalae house is constructed from teakwood.  The posts were axed into an octagonal shape.  Each main compartment and the front terrace used six pairs of posts - excluding the mid-span posts.  The wall supporting posts have beams or Waeng running through them, which support the joists, which in turn support the wooden planks.  At the front and back gable, there are mid-gable posts supporting the top beam called Pae Jong.  At the top of the posts which are not supporting the gables, there are Tang Yo or the gable rafters supporting a system of roof tiles. The roof angle is around 45 degrees for the fast shedding of rain water.  The extended edge of the roof is supported at the posts by a sturdy Yang Kam.  Under the front and back gable walls, there are Ngab, extended roofs to protect the front and back side of the house from the rain and the sun. The gable wall is normally made up of a composite wooden panel called a Fa Ta Pa.  The front and back gable-side walls are at a right angle with the floor while the walls are leaning outward to provide extra spaces inside the house.  This leaning wall arrangement also helps support the roof structure.  The wall is made of vertical wooden planks called Pan Lan with laths covering the spaces between the planks. The house is large and elevated from the ground on stilts to achieve lightness of form and beautiful proportion.  Accompanying the form with a neat and coherent tectonic relationship, this Kalae house exhibits its beauty from the relationship between the mass, planes, and internal and external spaces. This house was originally owned by Phaya Wong, a descendant of one of Lamphun’s aristocratic family that lived in Pasang District of Lamphun.  The house was built by his son-in-law, Phaya Ud, also a headman of another subdistrict in Pasang around 1890.  The house was used by the family for three generations before it was sold and subsequently dismantled and reconstructed in Suwanavihara Temple in Lamphun.  The house was sold again to Mr.Harry Wong and later donated to Chiang Mai University in 1998 by the Dr.Winit - Khunying Pannee Winitnayapak Foundation which also supported the reconstruction.

Kalae House - Heaun Oui Paad

Kalae houses often have twin compartments.The roof ridges which run in parallel are usually orientated along the North-South axis. The ends of the two roofs are connected by a wooden gutter. The two compartments usually share the same platform which runs from the front of the house through to the rear.The larger compartment is the sleeping area, while the smaller is for cooking. The bathroom is usually built away from the house. The front veranda serves as a working and resting area during the day. At night, it is used by all the men of the household as their sleeping quarter. This front veranda has a small partition, which is the extension of the wooden wall of the sleeping room, called Fha-Lap-Nang. This partition is for the privacy of the young girls working on the veranda during the  daytime. Upon ascending the staircase from the front of the house, the first veranda which is separated from the main veranda is called “Shan Hom”. A small wooden shelf for drinking water in an earthenware jar is often found on this veranda. Many houses also have a similar this drinking water stand near the front gate, offering potable water for travelers and commuters alike.   There is no ceiling under the roof so the heat disperses quickly from the utility area. At this ceiling level, a wooden or bamboo shelf called a “Kwan” gives extra storage space. Atop the stilts are “Kua Yan”, struts that help in bracing the roof structure and also serve as a foothold when carrying out work on the roof tiles. The wall of the sleeping area which extends to the roof is called “Hnab Toen”.   Above the door of the sleeping area, there is a notable decorative lintel called a Hum-Yon. A post beside the front stairs is called Sao-Laeng-Mah, the usual place to tether the dogs that guard the house. This Kalae house is constructed from teak posts and beams.The six pairs of posts were lathed into octagonal shapes.These posts bear the weight of the whole house. The four walls lean outwards instead of going straight up so as to increase the space for shelves inside the room. The most notable feature of a Kalae house is the decorative wooden carvings or Kalae at the top of the gables. As the name suggests, this Kalae house once belonged to Oui Paad (grandma Paad), a resident of Chomtong, Chiang Mai. It is estimated to be around 80 years old. Totally made of wood and with the dimensions of 7 by 12 metres, the house is considered to be quite compact. However, the house is elevated from the ground by 48 stilts, which is an unusually large number of stilts for a house of this size. At present (December 2011), this house is considered to be in good condition as a result of the continuing repair work since it has been relocated to Center for The Promotion of Arts and Culture in 1993.

Tai-Lue House - Heaun Mon Tood

Heaun Mon Tood is considered to be a medium-sized wooden house.  Similarly to a Kalae house, this Tai Lue house has two compartments with a broad veranda at the front.  Connected to the veranda is the terrace which has a small wooden shelf for a drinking water earthenware jar.  The larger compartment serves as the sleeping area, while the smaller one serves as the kitchen.  There are no bathrooms in the house. Totally made of teak wood and with the dimensions of 7 by 12 metres, the house is considered to be quite compact.  However, the house was elevated from the ground by 48 stilts which is an unusually large number of stilts for a the house of this size.  The posts are shaped into octagons and were perforated in order to bear beams for supporting the weight.  At this ceiling level there are “Kua Yan” or struts that help in bracing the roof structure and also serve as a foothold when carrying out work on the roof tiles.  There is no decorative lintel (Hum-Yon) above the door of the sleeping area. Mon Tood (great grandmother Tood) was a Tai-Lue descendant living in Doi Saket district, Chiang Mai.  The house was built by Por Noi Luang, her husband, in 1917, from wood collected from many old wooden houses. Ajarn Sirichai Narumitrekhakan acquired the house but the relocation only started after Mon Tood passed away two years later at the age of 107.  The relocation to the Center for The Promotion of Arts and Culture in 1993 was supported by the Chumbhot-Pantip Foundation.

Northern Thai House - Heaun Oui Kaew

This Lanna folk style house was built after World War II, mainly from hardwood.  It has twin gables with a gutter or Hom Lin connecting the end of the roofs between the two gables.  The front and the rear of the house are connected by a veranda.  The structural and usage layout of houses in this period was inherited from the traditional Lanna houses such as a bamboo hut or Tub Mai Bau and Kalae house.  One notable difference is the staircase which no longer leads up directly from the front of the house.  The terrace is only half the width of the house and sealed-off by wooden partitions to add more security. Heaun Oui Kaew is 7 metres wide by 10 metres long and was raised by only 1 metres above the ground so it felt rather small.  The construction was comprised of pillars and beams to bear and support weight.  Nails were used for the most part to speed-up the process of construction. A sliding wall or Fha Lai which was popular during this era was used in many places to help with the ventilation.  Using larger cement tiles, the slope of the roof therefore was not so steep. Heaun Oui Kaew was built during World War II just outside the moated city of Chiang Mai.  It once belonged to Oui Kaew (grandmother Kaew) and Oui In (grandmother In). Ajarn Vithi Phanichphant, with support from the Kyoto Seika University, Japan, bought this house before it was torn down in 1987.  Oui In (grandmother In) moved to her new house but Oui Kaew chose to continue living in her beloved house until the end of her time.  The house was dismantled and rebuilt at the Center for the Promotion of Arts and Culture, Chiang Mai University in 1997.  

Mae Taeng Folk House

Adapted from the style of traditional folk houses, this house is comprised of two main compartments with twin gables.  It is made mainly from hardwood, and raised above the ground using the post and beam system, with staircases both at the front and the rear of the house.  The terracotta-tiled roof extended to the front and covers both the veranda and the terrace.  The platform of the bedroom was raised to separate the more private sleeping area from the veranda. The house was originally constructed in 1917 at Ban Pa Phai, Chor Lae, Mae Taeng district, Chiang Mai.  It once belonged to Noi Ping and later Mrs.Kan Takham.  The house was relocated, with the support of the Chumbhot-Pantip Foundation, to the Center for Promotion of Arts and Culture, Chiang Mai University in 2008.

Pan-Ya House – Heaun Anusarn Sunthorn

The Pan-Ya style was influenced by the colonial style brought in by missionaries, English timber traders, and governors from Bangkok.  The style is an adaptation of the European style to suit the local hot and humid conditions.  Advancement in technology meant that cutting and lathing were much easier.  Square posts, beam and walls were easier to make and their surfaces smoother.  Nails, nuts and bolts were widely used which helped in assembling wooden parts together quickly. The space usage in the house was also adopted from the European style.  The primary use of furniture required more space, therefore the roof is large and covers the whole area of the available platform.  The veranda was used to connect rooms and also serve as a resting area.  The central area of the house serves the main functions. The Pan-Ya House style does not place emphasis on decorations, but rather on simplicity.  However, later adaptations added some delicate details like perforated wooden panels which create a sense of gentleness.  Colonnade style pillars also give the style its needed airiness. Luang Anusarn Sunthorn and his wife Khamtieng built this house for their son, MD.Yong Chutima in 1924.  It was donated by Luang Anusarn Sunthorn descendants to the Center for the Promotion of Arts and Culture, Chiang Mai University in 2004.  The relocation was supported by the Chumbhot-Pantip Foundation.

Maenai Khamthieng’s “Fah Lai” House

This wooden house was originally built as an addition to Luang Anusarnsunthorn’s two-story, building in 1914 in the city center of Chiang Mai.  The structure notably features wooden wall panels on all four sides.  These thin panels can slide open in order to allow air to flow through the house (Fah Lai).  The upper floor served as the living quarters of Luang Anusarnsunthorn and Maenai Khamthieng where the bedroom was portioned off leaving an open space to serve as a dining area.  The lower floor was used as the building’s storeroom.  Both residents lived in this house until they passed away in 1930 and 1934, respectively. Afterwards, their descendants donated this house to Suan Dok temple in 1969.  When this house was transferred to Suan Dok temple, being rebuilt and used as an office.  The original design of the house included stairs that were attached to the previous main building.  When the house was relocated to the temple, new staircases were built in front of the structure on both the right and left sides.  These staircases led to the balcony from which one could walk into the upper floor of the house. In the year 2019, Suan Dok temple donated this Fah Lai house to Chiang Mai University to be preserved and displayed at the Lanna Traditional House Museum, The Center for the Promotion of Arts and Culture, CMU.  The support for the structure’s dismantling and subsequent reconstruction in its original state was received from Chiang Mai University, along with the Chumbhot-Pantip Foundation and a group of related companies (Anusarn Chiangmai​​ Co.,Ltd., Kamthieng Development Co., Ltd., and Chiang Mai Panich Co., Ltd.).  The rebuilding process was completed on June 4, 2020 and the dedication ceremony was held on July 2, 2020.

Colonial House – Heuan Queripel

Heuan Lung Que is a colonial style house, built in 1926. It was an early example of such houses in this era. Colonial style houses in Chiang Mai were first built by foreigners working with trading or logging companies in Thailand and Burma. Some of the early adaptations were the covered veranda and large doors and windows for   better ventilation. The style became popular later among the aristocrats and the nobles. This floor plan of this house is rectangular in shape. The entrance to the house is at the center of the building. The first room upon entering the house is a big hall with a fireplace on one side. The stairway leading up to the first floor is also in this hall which is uncommon in Lanna traditional style houses. The ceiling of the ground floor is relatively high to aid the ventilation. The first floor ceiling is not as high and has access to the roof. The veranda is totally covered so it can be used during the day and keep the rain and the sun away from the main compartment. The owner of the house was Mr. Arthur Lionel Queripel, a British trader working for the Bombay-Burma Trading Company. The house was constructed in 1922 by a Burmese architect called Mong Chan. Thailand was occupied by the Japanese during World War II from the 1941 invasion until 1945, during which time Mr. Queripel and his wife Dokchan were forced to leave the house. After Mr. Queripel passed away in 1946 in Bangkok, the Queripel family returned to live in the house until it was expropriated by the government and became part of Chiang Mai University in 1963.

Long-Khao or Rice Granary

Long-Khao Sarapee

Historical background - Long Khao Sarapee Long-Khao Sarapee was originally built in 1907 by Por Toh and was subsequently bought by Por Muengjai Thongkamma of Ban Sanklang, Sarapee district, Chiang Mai.  It has eight big pillars with the storage compartment in the center surrounded by a balcony on all sides. In 2008, Prof.Dr.Hans-Jurgen Langholz and his wife, Dr.Md.Phil. Agnes Langholz made a donation to Chiang Mai University to purchase the rice granary and support the relocation to the Center for the Promotion of Arts and Culture, Chiang Mai University.

Long-Khao Pasang

This large rice barn belongs to the Nandakwang family's lineage was originally located in Pasang district, Lampun province.  Both front and back side of this rice barn "Nah Jua" (the triangle shape under the roof) decorated with a refine wood craving in a peacock design.  The stairs in both front and back side was adapted from the original rice barn structure by added a permanent stairs, which originally use the temporary ladder to attach to go up and down each time.  Estimated from the original architecture, this Pasang rice barn should be approximately 150 - 170 years old.  Mrs.Sopa Muangkrajang (Nandakwang) the owner of the Pasang rice barn donated it to Chiang Mai University in the country of the Lanna Traditional house museum, the Center for the Promotion of Arts and Culture, Chiang Mai University.

Long-Khao Laohawat

A vernacular wooden building of Lanna was usually made of hardwood for strength and durability.  Customarily they used the whole trunk as posts for vertical supports.  The posts are slightly inclined inwards to better bear the loads.  There are beams called Wang, joists and wooden floors - the same structure found in houses. There is no staircase access but only a ladder called "Kern" would be used when needed.  Walls are assembled from vertical wooden planks from the inside on wood frames.  There is no window except an opening to load and unload the rice.  Wall structures are similar to those found in houses.  Usually, they were assembled separately on the ground and raised into position after all the other parts of the house were already in position.  The wall panels are connected by wooden bolts.  The roof structure is also similar to that of houses, using a single tier roof. However, this granary has a double tier roof.  The upper tier has a higher degree of slope with a lean-to at the gable Ngeb.  The lower tier has a lower degree of slope with overhangs from all sides, giving the roof tender and delicate looks.  The original roof tiles were made of clay or terra cotta or Din Kor, with Naga-like decoration on the gable.  This style of granary can still be found in rural areas of Lanna such as Sanpatong and Mae Jam districts.