UR-BAAN ● Bangkok, Thailand
University ● King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi
Task ● Renovation & addition of storey, bangkok
About the team
Team UR-BAAN is formed by “King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT)” and two partnering universities in Bangkok, “Arsom Silp Institute Of The Arts” and “Kasetsart University” with over 70 students from various fields of study including architecture, engineering, science studies, and communication design. The word “UR-BAAN” derived from the competition’s goal that focuses on the transition of urban neighbourhood whilst merging it with the word “BAAN”, a Thai word for dwelling, making it “A DWELLING FOR A CITY”.
Project “UR-BAAN” was formed by a team of like-minded students from various fields of study at King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT) in Bangkok, including decathletes who took part in the Solar Decathlon Europe 2019. Students realize that the event provides such skills and experiences which are very beneficial. For the upcoming competition that will be held in 2022 in Wuppertal, we are aiming to improve and reevaluate our previous design, integrate between students from different department and work as a multidisciplinary team once again to strengthen the university’s cooperative network capabilities and spreading its variety of knowledge of innovative sustainable building-design among students, university personnel, and construction industries in related fields.
A historic neighbourhood „Talat Noi“ was chosen for the project to bring life back to the old building stocks which are the “shophouses” or commonly known as a Thai traditional row house which is the most common building type found in the city. However, Bangkok has been facing a rapid urban expansion over the past decades where people are migrating to suburbs due to the lands that are cheaper, the changing lifestyle and trend of housing market, leaving degenerated shophouses in old neighborhoods like Talat Noi become a less attractive place for living.
Our team is using the concept of „auto parts“ that was found in the local business at our site to revitalize these shop-houses. The method of replacing and modifying parts in the automobile industry could extend the car‘s life cycle without having to destroy it. By adopting the concept of “part” to the existing building, the memory of people and historical values of the city could be preserved while the practicality, performance and efficiency could be improved. Similar to prosthesis, new part is not only meant to keep the existing building in shape, but to extend the life and to enhance the way it performs.
Our strategies are to design a flexible and lightweight structure that could be practically integrated with the existing structure while affecting the current urban fabric as little as possible. The new parts inserted to the existing building will not stand out from the surrounding context and the front part of the building facing the street will be kept as original since the façade is one of the elements that strongly emphasizes the uniqueness of the traditional shophouses in the area. By preserving the facade, the height of the building on the street side and the existing street, we maintain the existing urban setting and impression of Talat Noi as a historic neighborhood. So, the historic buildings are restored or rehabilitated rather than demolished and disposed in the community landfield. The unique built environment that is preserved also helps protect the property value, keep the community beautiful and vibrant when having the tangible presence of past eras and historic styles. Like driving an old vintage car that has a lot of meanings to its owner, the original car frame is kept whereas the engine is upgraded.
One of the distinctive features of the house are the selected local materials such as Thai rubber-wood for the house structure that will be insulated with Kapok, a cotton-like locally grown material in South East Asia region.
The texts were written by the teams themselves and will be updated during the competition.