STUDIO OUTLINE Architectural Design V, Summer 2015
Our second semester at INDA Architecture program has ended. See link below for the research booklet that contains work done mainly during the first half.
Industrial delocalization and globalization in the post - industrial era are pushing cities and countries into competition to attract and develop economic activities. These cities and countries are setting up business clusters and industrial parks to promote entrepreneurship, supporting them with variety of incentives and improved infrastructure. Due to rapid increase internet usage and the parallel success of IT enterprise; IT clusters have been the main global focus of the last decade.
Silicon Valley (USA) has been the Mecca of the IT clusters in the world. But other cities, states and countries worldwide are joining the competition for attracting global talent by promoting themselves as the new IT hubs. Each city is finding a different model and format to promote their industries. And the megacities seem to be challenging the isolated ‘valley’ model and the dominance of the Silicon Valley (http://www.theguardian. com/media-network/media-network-blog/2014/sep/04/ silicon-valley-technology-startups-megacities).
Another reason for the popularity of the mega cities might be related to the changing demographics of the entrepreneurs. Starting a large scale IT business does not require a large starting capital; infrastructure or a large team. A few talented individual with high speed internet and access to information and investors are all that is needed. This phenomenon has translated itself into a much younger and dynamic entrepreneur community who select the most convenient and livable city to base their startup. It is not surprising that Bangkok with its dynamic lifestyle options and relatively low living costs, has been attracting many international entrepreneurs. Although currently at a smaller scale than some of its counterparts, Bangkok’s IT ecosystem is becoming one of the most vibrant hubs in Southeast Asia; and is expected to grow in the near future. (http://www. bangkokpost.com/news/general/451789/china-backs-thai- bid-to-become-it-hub).
During this studio, we will investigate the IT work environments within the context of Bangkok and speculate over future spatial and programmatic typologies / organizations / networks as tools to generate a dynamic and creative IT ecosystem. Creating a cluster means providing living and working space for a large community in close proximity. This poses a difficult challenge in dense and crowded cities. Some cities preferred building ground-up cities (http://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Digital_Media_City); some others are using this challenge as an opportunity to rejuvenate under- utilized and under-developed neighborhoods
(http:// brooklyntechtriangle.com). In the case of Bangkok, the ideal model is yet to be developed.
Within this framework, many questions arise:
• What is the role of architecture in promoting such a creative environment at a global scale?
• Are there any possibilities for the City of Bangkok to integrate the supporting elements to its infrastructure
network such as innovative digital and/or physical tools; or work spaces within its public realm?
• Is it possible to repurpose existing buildings, spaces, neighborhoods to support the IT industry?
• Does the unpredictability the IT startups (short life cycle, high failure percentage, fast growth) challenge
the typical office building typology?
• Lack of qualified local IT workforce requires a large number of international workers at the beginning years.
How can the work environment be differentiated globally and attract talent to Bangkok? Can or shall
the work environment facilitate the adaptation of expatriates into the local community?
• Cross-generational educational programs need to be provided for the local community.
Are there possibilities to cluster educational facilities within the work environment?
• Is it possible to cluster the small scale collaborative work areas up into a larger envelope?
• What is the new office typology for the Digital Era? Can concepts and terminology that belong to other fields
such as ‘Networking’ or ‘Clustering’ be utilized as Architectural design, organization and form making tools?