Water-Curse or Blessing!? Exhibition by S+PBA

Transform Thailand into a contemporary, sustainable and visually stunning Wetropolis

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The Bangkok-based Architecture firm S+PBA has been invited to attend the exhibition Water- Curse or Blessing!? organized by Aedes East – International Forum for Contemporary Architecture n.p.o. as part of the Asia Pacific Weeks 2011. The event will take place at Aedes Gallery in Berlin from the 9th to 21st September 2011.

As a possible response to the problem of the rising sea levels and the rapid sinking of the capital city of Bangkok, S+PBA will present its more recent project A Post Diluvian Future, a prototype community that takes its inspiration from Thailand’s centuries old traditions of floodconscious aquatecture and turn it into a contemporary sustainable and visually stunning Wetropolis.   A Post Diluvian Future is a project by Architects Songsuda Adhibai, Ponlawat Buasri and Taylor Lowe from S+PBA.

A Post-Diluvian Future S+PBA

While most of the world follows the standard from dust to dust, ashes to ashes cycle, Bangkok prefers something wetter: from water to water. Almost 300 years after rising from the marshy banks of the Chao Phraya, it appears Bangkok will return to its watery origins. A recent UN study estimates that much of the metropolitan area will need to be abandoned by the middle of the century. Bangkok’s population is growing by approximately 100,000 residents per year, just as the city itself is shrinking below sea level 4“ per year. While most cities in this position could simply increase urban density by building up, this would only hasten Bangkok’s subterranean slide. It is the blinding growth of Bangkok’s built environment combined with the over-exhausted aquifers 2 m below the city surface that is causing the city’s physical depression. We are left then with a Post-Diluvian dilemma currently facing many world cities: do we sink or swim, flee or float?

With the city sinking 10 cm below a sea level that is rising by 40 cm annually, the safest place to create new architecture is above water. As it happens, Bangkok is surrounded by fields of water; brackish, polluted water remaining from an oversaturated shrimp farming industry whose very growth precipitated its own demise. Erstwhile shrimp farmers, who can no longer sustain shrimp life in their polluted plots, are currently selling their water-fields to developers who bury the water in housing racts, or to the government, who hopes to restore the once thriving mangrove ecosystem. While the government’s aspirations would yield considerable environmental benefits to the metropolis, they cannot compete with the prices developers would pay for the equivalent water field. Developers, though paying the shrimp farmers slightly more, constitute an entirely negative environmental force by encouraging urban spread and commuting, by stifling the possibility for open space, and by simply burying brown-field environments with expensive flood-susceptible, cold weather foreign architecture. Each party is thus engaged in a win-lose proposition: suburbs will impair government mangroves, water will submerge suburbs, and shrimp farmers will lose their livelihood. City dwellers, developers, shrimp farmers and the environment all lose more than they gain.

This negative economy of loss occurs because Bangkok is still laboring under a very antediluvian mindset where flooding is considered a crisis and not a constant. Bangkok has always been flooded and the latest apocalyptic predictions only suggest that flooding will return with increased consistency. Once the city is submarine, can we even call this phenomenon flooding? Flooding implies a passing phase rather than a fixed environment, and yet, at the current juncture, water is much more predictable than land. In order to initiate a Post-Diluvian perspective that designs for water we must abandon the Metropolis in favor of the Wetropolis, and Architecture in favor of Aquatecture. Towards a Post Diluvian Future will propose a Post-Diluvian prototype community that transforms principles from Thailand􀀀s centuries old traditions of flood-conscious aquatecture into a contemporary, sustainable and visually stunning Wetropolis. We will examine the entirely supra-marine stilt home community of Koh Pan Yii that hovers above the Andaman sea in Southern Thailand, successfully sustaining all of the typical functions of an urban community—schools, public spaces, hospitals, utilities, industry. However, unlike Koh Pan Yii, we will provide a design solution that minimizes its foot print on the water, thereby enabling the continued cultivation of mangrove forests that will supply the community with carbon dioxide mitigating flora, with a natural effluent filtration system, with some of the only green open space in Bangkok and with moderate local shrimp farming. Our goal is not to replace the Metropolis with the Wetropolis, but to exceed it. We will design a community prototype elevated above the acres of underutilized shrimp farms that aligns the interests of shrimp farmers, urbanites, developers and the government by simultaneously sustaining mangrove restoration, modest shrimp farming, and a growing population in a sinking city that can thrive unaffected by the impending floods.

Blessing or Curse? Flooding, according to our community vision, will constitute a cathartic ablution, not a cataclysmic obliteration, of Bangkok. Water, detoxifying water, will wash away the 20th century’ s misguided substitutions of aircon for context, roads for canals, indoors for outdoors, anesthetic environments for aesthetic environments.

这是来自泰国建筑事务所S+PBA的概念项目。

近日S+PBA受邀参加国际当代建筑论坛2011年亚太周的《水—祸还是福?!》展,展览在柏林举行,展出时间为2011年的9月9日到21日。S+PBA面对日益上升的海平面,身处低海拔的曼谷市这类型问题,受泰国传统构建的启发设计出这个具有视觉震撼力及可持续发展力的水城。

世间轮回,周而复始。

曼谷位于水源充沛的湄公河畔,目前人口以每年10万的速度增长,但城市标高与逐渐上升的海平面标高的差距却在日益缩小。要解决这一问题,到底是面对下沉,或者选择漂浮,或者逃离?现在的曼谷周边的污染也日益严重,当水面逐渐升高,还会对虾养殖业以及红树林生态也造成了不可逆转的影响。因此S+PBA设计出了这个可持续的,具有防洪力的,依靠构建飘离在水面之上的水城,水城有学校,社区,公共场所,医院,公建,工业等城市典型功能。同时最大化减少对水的依赖,保护红树林生态,采取污水过滤系统,保护虾养殖业,拥有无以伦比的绿色空间。S+PBA的目的不是简单的设计一个水城,而是更在意水城后的社会形态是否积极,对城市居民,开放商都有好处,同时维护虾农利益,保护恢复红树林生态,在日益上升的海平面影响下,也可以保持城市人口增加和蓬勃发展。

洪水,是祸还是福。这是一个体系的始返,而不是针对曼谷的一个单纯灾难。水,洗去20世纪背景下的一些弊病,以水为路,由内至外,营造出迷人风景。

更多信息请参见上方英文。

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