Architectural Design IV, Fall 2014
During this studio, we focused on Koh Mak as a ground for speculation on new architectural typologies for tourism and hybrid models.
Interventions varied from agriculture to aquaculture; from park to navy base.
Koh Mak (island) resides in between two popular large islands Koh Chang and Koh Kood on the Eastern seaboard of the gulf of Thailand. Due to its large private ownership ( 95% - the largest privately owned island in Thailand), and a general concensus among the stake-holders for keeping the island low-density, car free and family friendly has limited the development unlikes its neighborhood islands. Landowners are committed to investigating the bike routes and not allowing car traffic; controlling noise and light pollution; finding creative ways to grow the local economy and to improve quality of life without sacrificing the qualities of the island that they have preserved for centuries.
However, the urge for cultural and ecological preservation and minimal environmental impact generally conflict with the desire and need for growth. Addressing the conflict, requires questioning of preconceptions about established touristic and economical models for the island and the established land use patterns. It might also require challenging the presumed manifestations of sustainability, preservation and eco-friendliness.
Throughout the studio, we requested students to develop unique attitudes / solutions towards the following issues;
constructed locally _ What would be the criterial and methodologies for defining the context (cultural, natural and architectural) and developing an architectural response / language in an island where the majority of the population is foreign (labour and tourist); almost the entirely of the island's land is cultivated; and the building materials and construction methods imported?
(un)natural habit _ Koh Chang and Koh Kood have native forests, waterfalls, hills and many more beach options. In contrast, Koh Mak has flat land and almost its entire land cover is dedicated to plantations. Although Koh Mak lack the diverse natural and leisure attractions, it has to rely on tourism as the main driver for its economy. In addition to the beach resorts, can the anthropogenic landscape of Koh Mak be ulilized as an alternative destination for tourists and the modern nomads?
Isolated & Collective _ Many residents of Koh Mak elect to be here for the isolation and solitude it offers. Yet is is precisely this isolation that promotes collaboration and a sense of commune among the island's citizens. What would be the architectural manifestation of the collective yet solitude lifestyle? Or in contrast, is it possible to create total isolation and self dependence for individuals through architectural intervention?
Our first semester at INDA Architecture program has ended. See link below for the research booklet that contains work done mainly during the first half.