UR-BAAN ● Bangkok, Thailand
University ● King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi
Task ● Renovation & addition of storey, bangkok
The texts were written by the teams themselves and will be updated during the competition.
About the team
Project UR-BAAN was formed by a team of students at King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT) in Bangkok, including decathletes who took part in the SDE19 in Hungary. This year, KMUTT is partnering up with two renowned universities in Bangkok, Arsom Silp Institute Of The Arts and Kasetsart University with over 80 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’.
The key focus of UR-BAAN is the revitalization of urban building stocks and adding back value to the degenerated and under-utilized architecture. This situation is a common challenge for old cities around the world, including Bangkok, where old buildings and the existing urban fabric need to be preserved while urban infrastructure, social and economic context have been transformed.
The neighborhood selected for this project is ‘Talat Noi’, which is a charming historic quarter in Bangkok that best represents the situation stated above, where its old building stocks are currently being under-utilized. 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.
Speaking of Talat Noi, this charming neighborhood formerly relied on secondhand auto parts and engine trading. The business is called ‘Xiang Gong’. Despite the business that is slowly declining due to the coming of electrical vehicles, numerous row houses are still being used as Xiang Gong storefronts while a fair number of traders have moved out. Consequently, Talat Noi has become less dependent on auto parts trading, but rather on tourism.
Never the less, Xiang Gong remains one of Talat Noi’s main characteristics from the huge piles of used auto parts along the streets and the strong smell of engine oils. This results in an uncomfortable living condition in every Xiang Gong shop, which leads the team to find a way out how these row houses can become a more livable and a practical residential unit at the same time. The solution sought out by the team will not only be applicable for Talat Noi itself but it would fit in other old districts in Bangkok as well.
To bring a degenerated and under-utilized Xiang Gong row house to a more sustainable level, the team is applying the principle of ‘auto part’, found at the site, for the renovation. A ‘part’ suggests a larger system which can be broken down into modularity of functions (parts), or the process that can be broken down into multiple steps. The shift to a modularized architecture as a result of standardization of parts allow increasing flexibility and ability to meet user’s specific needs. The part is replaceable and able to extend the life of the whole.
The thermal collectors are used to store solar energy and convert into heat energy to be stored for later use in the household.
The electrical system uses photovoltaic systems to store electrical energy from the sun. A circuit breaker will be installed to automatically cut the electrical circuit in the event of an electric
Heat Recovery Ventilation
HRV system helps reduce the heating and cooling demands in the house by taking heat from incoming fresh air and transfer it to stale air-conditioned exhaust air.
Home Automation system is a technological solution that enables automating the bulk of electronic, electrical and technology-based tasks within a home to reduce human physical intervention.
Kapok is a cotton-like fibre that comes from the giant pods of the kapok tree, which are abundant throughout Thailand. KMU team sees the potential of Kapok to become the house’s insulation material because of its low thermal conductivity. Currently, the team is already proceeding to experiment the capability of Kapok as an insulation.
Since KMU team aims to utilize local materials for construction, rubberwood was chosen as the main material for the structure. Thailand is a major exporter of rubberwood, shipping over 65 percent of its rubberwood production abroad. It is a product of plantations rather than deforestation and is, therefore, an environmentally friendly material.
The team works closely with the community in Talat Noi to make sure that the most sensible and sustainable solutions are applied with the existing buildings, creating a result that would perfectly fit in any typical row houses in Thailand while preserving the city’s fine-grained urban fabric and its architectural heritage.