Project seeks to develop Charoenkrung, a district of economic and historical importance into a new “creative district”, one that redefines and sets a new precedent for future creative industries. Our aim is to foster the notion of communicative design by bringing together local stakeholders from various fields and expertise. We strive to implement a greatly evaluated design with our public engagement expertise through participatory processes (programmatic workshops, focus groupings, design voting, model making, evaluation sessions, and finally finishing with a 1:1 scale prototype). The engagement process allows for more flexibility, resulting in more choices and prospective projects. Ultimately leading to long-term improvements for the district.
– Inclusive Design – We worked closely with the Thailand Creative Design Center on a master planning process that takes into account community feedback to increase quality and engagement in our design. We acknowledge that incremental changes in creative development that responds to users will lead to long–term improvements for Charoenkrung.
– Creative Citizen – A creative district nurtures its citizens and vice versa, spreads knowledge and creates social awareness. Our approach directly stimulates the local collective creativity through participation in design specifically in problem solving and creative thinking. Participants are also exposed to the processes in planning and design.
– Growth – A bottoms up decision making approach is applied throughout, focusing on utilizing collective action from the local level to effect change at the local, regional or national level.
A new participatory design approach – A new inclusive method was devised in order to identify physical data, problems in the community and to meet criteria such as the public’s physical, psychological, and economic and social needs. This process acts as a creative tool by allowing the participants to exercise their creativity and encouraging interaction between people of similar or opposing views. This approach provides the opportunity for agendas to be set by the participants and seeks to uncover well-rounded, common sense solutions in order to generate a creative and sustainable district. The design process goes through the following 6 stages;
1.Site Exploration and Creative Workshop (Part 1) – After surveying the sites 7 focus groups were held in order to find the problems, needs and potential from the local residents, state employees, students, business owners and academics. From this workshop we managed to assess 3 design frameworks as follows:
- Revival: to regenerate forgotten urban spaces, vacant historical sites back to use.
- Relink: to create a network between the public and the environment, in order to foster more interactions between local residents and their district.
- Rebrand: to create a newfound awareness for the district, in order to keep the general public well informed and updated about their district and its surroundings.
2.Creative Workshop (Part 2) – 4 workshops were held with local residents, state employees, students, business owners and academics, in order to classify the initial findings against the 3 goals into projects that can be realized and developed further. Eventually 6 schemes selected and are as follows:
- Recreating the public waterfront
- Adaptive reuse of vacant shop houses
- Creating urban pocket landscapes and Street furniture
- Reconnecting local alleys
- Creative activities
- Transportation network
3.Design Evaluation and Selection – The 6 projects were then presented for evaluation and selection. Local residents, state employees, students, business owners and academics were invited to cast their votes on preferred projects. This was to ensure that the decision-making came from the demand of the people and not the designers. 4 projects were selected to be developed further, these projects are as follows:
- Recreating the public waterfront
- Adaptive reuse of vacant shophouses
- Creating urban pocket landscapes
- Reconnecting local alleys
4.Model Making Workshop (Part 3) – A model-making workshop was held with the stakeholders. Each model was important in providing us with more specific design insights and needs, which will be used to develop the detail design further. Reference images were also used to initiate conversation about aestheticis.
5.Feedback and Evaluation Workshop (Part 4) – This workshop consisted of getting community feedback, which was later incorporated into each proposal before committing to the 1:1 prototypes. The discussions also focused on topics such as management and procurement issues.
6.Prototype Testing Day – Following the completion of the 1:1 prototypes, a 3-day public event was held to assess the usage of these proposals. These prototypes serve to invoke the public’s imagination about the potential of Charoenkrung as a new creative district. In our assessment of the event, we found that the general public reacted positively towards the projects, and had requested some of the prototypes to be displayed for longer. The participants involved in the design were proud with their contributions, and persuaded their friends to attend the events.
By building 1:1 scale prototypes, we were able to observe the public’s engagement of our designs, contribute the importance of public spaces to society overall, stimulate the local landowners to recognize the potential of developing their own estates, and finally to establish connections in gather feedback from the public and private, landowners, local residents and creative industries.
A creative district nurtures its citizens and vice versa. And since creativity is an essential component for sustainable growth, it is our hope that beyond the output of our designs, the participants (public, private, youths, businesses) involved are creatively stimulated and are able to their utilize newfound skills proactively to effect positive change at the local, regional, national and international level.
Location : Charoenkrung, Bangkok, Thailand
Area : 450,000 SQ.m.
Year of Completion : 2016
In collaboration with
Client / Owner :
TCDC ( Thailand Creative & Design Center) / Thai Health Promotion Foundation
Project Manager : Kwan Phonghanyudh / Kullakaln Gururatana
Landscape Architect / Design Director : Shma Soen Company Limited
Urban Planning / Research : Thammasat University Design School
WAF 2016 : Co-Create Charoenkrung, Highly Commended in category of Masterplanning – Future Projects (World Architecture Festival 2016)
TALA Professional Awards 2016 : Co-Create Charoenkrung, Honor Award in category of Community Service / Workshop (Thai Association of Landscape Architects)