Bangkok: The Three Ecologies

Project by Alexandra Milo & Claudia Garay

A collaborative urban design project, “Bangkok: the Three Ecologies” addresses the cultural and social gap along the San Saeb Canal in Bangkok, focusing on the community of Ban Krua. By designing an “exquisite corpse” structure, the space provides areas for silk weaving and other recreational activities, becomes a beacon during kite fighting season, collects rainwater during monsoon season, creates an awareness of the community, and generates new economies for the community.

Ban Krua
A densely populated community made up of one to two story wooden houses concentrate around the abundantly polluted San Saeb Canal. Just on the outskirts of the community lies the rapidly developing Bangkok., that encroaches and threatens this 400 year old community. Houses appear to be developed upon one another, and as many as 20 people can live within the walls of an individual home sleeping in shifts on the floors of their homes.

The people of Ban Krua
This predominately Muslim community is a very colorful and rich with life. Most of the family’s that are present there have lived there for many generations. The mosque rings at prayer time, the children run through the walkways to and from school, families sell traditional homemade food of their doorsteps, and families and groups of friend congregate around and exchange conversation and play music.

Analysis
These three categories begin to weave the site together. This idea of the community being woven together mimics the original silk weaving process that use to lay all over Ban Krua. Ikat is the traditional pattern used in producing Thai silk. These are three examples of ikat pattens. I used these three silk patterns to represent each of the three categories I divided the site into.

Housing
The places that the people identify with shelter, not necessarily a place that they live their lives. For the people there it seems that their home was a place for sleep and rest. All throughout the hours of day people gather outside of their homes and experience.

Community Life
The spaces where the people gather and interact. These spaces, not located within the walls of the homes, include the pathways that intersect and connect the site, as well as the small plazas sparingly sprinkled along the site. Along the pathways and in between the homes residents use their personal belongs to fill up the two foot wide gaps between their homes. These are the objects that representing their lives.

Boundary
The objects that are constricting the space within the site, whether it’s intentional constriction or not. The San Saeb Canal is a 20 foot wide waterway that is used for transportation, that cuts through the site. The waterway is extremely over polluted, from the sewer system over flowing during the rainy season, that the water has turned into muddy black water.

Outcome
The end goals for the kite-fighting-silk-tower would be that this structure would provide space for silk weaving as well as other recreational activities, serve as a beacon for kite fighting season and monsoon season, collect rainwater during monsoon season to prevent the sewers from over flowing into the San Saeb Canal, create an awareness about the Ban Krua community to the surrounding cities, to bring outsiders in, and to create a profit for silk weavers as well as those that sell goods from their homes.

 

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