Fabric & Typologies: Bangkok

Fabric & Typologies: Bangkok
Columbia GSAPP, M.S Architecture & Urban Design
Instructor: Richard Plunz
Fall 2017 seminar
In Collaboration with Jack Baiyang

Bangkok, founded in 1782 in the Rattanakosin kingdom era, grew eastward from the Chao Phraya River. The Grand Palace on the bank of the river, was the center of a small town that eventually expanded to become the metropolis it is today. The king built a series of canals around the Grand Palace to protect from the Burmese invasion. Our site is located on the outer ring of the canal, along Bamrung Muang Road, one of the oldest roads in the city. This area is predominantly full of immigrants that arrived on the Chao Phraya River from Southern China because it is adjacent to Bangkok’s Chinatown. While Chinatown is known for gold shops, our site used to be the city’s hub for furniture shops, but people no longer shop in this area. Tourists occasionally pass by on their way to see old temples and the historical parts of the city. Bangkok residents these days shop at malls growing all over the new part of the city. The area is dying out since the younger generation are moving into new high rises. The elder generation are still living in the area maintaining the shops since they own the building and live upstairs. The existing building typology in this area are family shophouses.

We propose a new live-work typology around open space that are multifunction to attract the younger generation back. Bangkok is known for the outdoor market culture. We reform the market culture with our building typology that encourages new generation of freelancers to sell their work or young IT professionals to social network at the outdoor market. There are 3 types of open courtyard spaces. The largest market is the central focus in the new fabric, used for weekend markets, hosting large events or performances for the community. This large market uses the same block footprint as the existing fabric that was originally a market for the neighborhood, but got built over to become an industrial warehouse. Medium courtyard typologies along the axis are mixed use: for office workers, retailers, and the public. The small courtyard typology are mainly for residents doing daily social activities at the central and shared open space. On top of the retail and office podium are the residential units. Instead of the existing individual family shophouses, the new residential building typology share a common circulation. There are three types of unit modules: one bedroom, two bedroom, and three bedroom. All units are two storeys with the entry being on the upper floor. Each residential building includes all the modules. These unit modules are scattered throughout the buildings and also generate pockets of open spaces that are scattered vertically throughout the building. These pockets of open space encourages a more communal type of living. These spaces also captures breeze with natural cross ventilation and the staggered unit modules allow for shading in Bangkok’s hot and humid weather. Our new city fabric activates the area into one that allow for more social interactions, reviving the area.

Skills: Urban Design