August 13, 2007

09 the six projects from the workshop

After working for about two days on the site and the context, another three days on the project itself, these are six the proposals of the students to design Baan Leam Tong School Learning Center and Guesthouse. :)

1. Water Collector

Benz, Zing, Name and Tool came up with this idea of a building that besides the required functions, it should be able to act as a rain water collector and preserve. Although presently, the school has several rain water preserve tanks, they are not enough to keep water to spend for the whole year.

They began with the idea of big roofs that act as rain water collectors. When the rain water falls from one level to another, it could create a temporary wall. Also water tanks could be part of some walls of the building. Here are their study models. They tried to understand the contours and the rain directions and so on..

The most impressive thing was their one-to-one-scale model which actually a pure improvisation. They brought some tube ballons from Bangkok without knowing what to do exactly. They used them as a representaion of the rains. The model shows the directions and the volume of the rains passing to the roofs.

We tried some shots at night. It was successful only with this one.

2. In Between the Trees
Meth, Ta, Sai and Tip were interested in the space in-between the existing trees in the site. It is very nice and pleasant - they believe. Their idea is to create the space between the trees usable for some outdoor fuctions without too much interruptting the terrains. And then they want to have the building in the area where there is not tree at all, and create the building space similar to the space in between the trees. They like the very flexible, gentle and soft quality of it.

Their very first conceptual model.

The one-to-one-scale model was an attempt to understand the space in between those trees by creating objects to interact with the space they are interested. The two cylinders made out of fabric were hung in between the trees. Actually they did not signify any functions or anything, just a room, to understand the space around.

They accepted that they have learned a lot more about the space 'in between the trees'. Well, we are looking forward to see the further development then.

3. Meeting on the Route
The project of Fam, Fern, Pam and Chompu - the super power girls. At the beginning, they were interested in everything.. very macro scale of interested. We told them to scope down, and choose what they liked the most to work on. They, therefore, came up with the idea about how external people who come to use this building would interact with the school and the locals.

They started to analyze the whole master plan of the school, and then try to modify the masterplan by the new buildings. The building should be something that activate the new zoning and circulation system of the school and should be able to grow out of the existing school seamlessly. They wanted to also work on 'the seams' between the school and the building by creating an space where the boundary would be blurred by some common activities.

Their one-to-one-scale model was very interesting. They just made 'the routes' all over the site. And then activated some space by using very little elements interlacing with the routes made, such as small chairs - actually it worked, some kids used them right away and the unattended space became very lively! Congratulations! We are really looking forward to the space and finally the building that will come out from the project.

4. Pre-fabricated Modular

Another 4-girl group, Preaw, Oil, Pear and Nam. They began with the idea of making something simple and easy to build by something in modular system and also it could be able to pre-fabricated from a factory. So at the site, you just have to assemble everything to become a building.

They found fishing net quite interesting because while it is in a modular system, it is very flexible - so perhaps it can be used to accomodate with uneven slopes in the site. In this photo, they tried with their conceptual model. We were all trying to see the fishing net as they explained.

The one-to-one-scale model made out of PET bottles, which is one of the biggest garbage around...They wanted to communicate this modular, pre-fabricated system and moreover, if possible, some recycle materials. The small space was cover by the so-called net structure by hanging.

They accepted that the idea has to be a lot further developed, with more understanding of structure and topography. We all are waiting then.

5. Hammock
Joe, Hin, Toey and Pao were interested in the idea of a 'hammock'. Because of its ability to transform quickly a space and its function with a very simple act and technology. Moreover, it also signifies something relaxing and friendly. However, they accepted that the degree of temporarity and flexibility of an actual building is not actually so simple. There for they divided the project into two parts: the most compact building that houses the necessary interior functions (or when it rains), then the outdoor plateforms and roofs that would act more like a hammock. In the conceptual model you can see that the 'hammock-like' part is a kind of extension of the building into the trees.
Their one-to-one-scale model was simply made out of two sheets of canvas brought randomly from Bangkok.

Because of the slope of the site, some of the roof is an extionsion of a plateform.. you can use the space under or above. Very simple but expressive model. They also learned that with the very uneven terrain, they have to study much more the slope of the site.

6. Water Filter + Dam

Joke, Kwang, Bee and Paan were working on several ideas. First they were facinated by this idea that sand can filter, and transform dirty water into a clean one. Their quite ambitious idea was then, to make a building that could produce and collect clean water to people. Their experiment was quite fun for our presentation. :)

Then, their idea a bit transformed into this sand bags that could be a very simple building material and method. For a floor, you don't need to make a foundation, and very little to distube the terrain.. and also you can move the floor, if you want. Also the sand bags could be also some wall if needed. This wall could be also water dam at the same time..

The one-to-one-scale model was more a representation of their idea with available materials like the balloons.. However, they tried the real sand bags on the floor and found out that it was not as simple..To make it working properly they might have to design their own sand bag and the way to put them altogether - it is quite exciting actually. I believe if they are serious enough, it could be a very interesting project too.

Well, after coming back to Bangkok, they will have a whole month of August to develop their idea into a building before we decide which scheme we really want to work on as an actual building. Let's see then. :)

08 the 4th day workshop @ phi phi island: 30 july 2007

The Site Survey + Measurement

The day began with Fam, Fern, Pam and Chompu gave the brief to all of us to complete the detail measurement of the exact site where the project is going to be built. Because of the very complex contour and our lack of proper tools as well as measurement training, a lot of inventions and improvisations were here... But so far the students did well.

The fluorescent papers in the students' hands were the 'fill-in' sheets that Fam, Fern, Pam and Chompu were working all night long as a database structure for all of us.. thanks a lot.

The measurements began... Hin and Joe were using a sheet of paper as their 'perpendicular' tool. While Joke and Kwang were using water as a tool to keep their exact level..

Using a lot of rope and little poles as the marks.

Working and working and working...

Before noon, we got almost everything... the site with approximate contour lines.. :) great job!

Design Phase
The afternoon was free for all the students, but by 7 pm. of the evening, they were supposed to show up and present their first idea about the buildings... The really design phase began from here..

The students had the whole afternoon of the day (Mondat 30 July) and the whole day of Tuesday to work on their conceptual phase, then on Wednesday (1 Aug) they had to do 'one-to-one-scale model' at the site. Actualy it was not much time working.. Every evening we had a common review, and during the day we did a lot of group crit to develop the idea.

The one-to-one-scale model was a new thing to the students, it was the first time in their life that they had a chance to do. They prepared some materials from Bangkok without knowing how they project would be. Again, a lot of improvisation and inventions required here...

August 7, 2007

07 the 3rd day workshop @ phi phi island: 29 july 2007

Our Survey Day

Before getting into the detail of what we did on the day, one very important detail has to be mentioned here: our food. With the generous support from Fa Diow Foundation and Laem Tong School, we got extremely good and fresh food everyday from the local fishermen and the super great cook from Phang Nga who came especially to cook for us! So our lives were great there.. Look at our normal meal..

Also the way we ate was very fun, because it reminded all of us when we were in elelmentary school where we had to eat from this metal tray for our lunch. Besides, we used one of the classrooms as our muti-purpose space - also for eating..As you can see that all the students enjoyed the food so much - maybe too much.

The day was the first day of real work. The students were divided into 6 groups, 4 persons each with 2 from INDA, 2 from Thai Program. They were supposed to make a survey in different topics: the geography of the whole Leam Tong, the local community, Phi Phi Natural Resort (where the school is located), the school and then the site where we are supposed to build this learning center building.
I gave them a brief and then Khun Pu showed the survey Fa Diow has done so far with the school and the community of the sea villagers or Chao Thai Mai.

This is the map of the area made by the school children during the environmental campaign workshop run by Fa Diow Foundation. The map is very interesting and impressive. So our students also spent some time talking with the school kids and their teachers...

Some of our students began to make a survey of the school. They had to made a site plan of the school - not so easy task without some special tools. So they invented a method to measure.

I then followed the group who got the task to survey the overal geography of Leam Tong to see the area called 'Chong Kew' or literally translation is 'narraw chennel' on the West side of the pennisular. It is the narrowest area between the two sides of the sea. You can also see it from far away that the last part of Leam Tong is almost cut away from the rest of the island here.

The are was heavily demaged by the tsunami in 2005. The two piers were totally swept away, left us only the foundation..

After that, the school kids who by then became friend with all of us, took us to their village through a mountian route....really a jungle.

We arrived the the sea people or 'Chao Thai Mai' village from the back, where the mountain is. The village is very densed, almost a slum with very poor sanitary system. They let the dirty water through the open drainage going toward the sea on the beach in front of their village. Fresh water is their main problem too.. so they have to collect rain water as much as they can during the rainy season.

Most of the men in the village are fisher men who turned themselves to be a boat driver for tourists. Very few of them still do fishing seriously. The women don't have much to do since they are not used to working for someone else, they are not able to fit with any mannual work of tourist industry. Plus they did not go to school, so they are not able to read and write. Some of them try to make a living by collecting garbage. But the majority of the women there are in gamble and most of them are alcoholic.

Our students got together with the local kids in front of the village where most of the villagers spend all the time..

Back to the school, the super power girl group who were in charge of measure work of the exact site where we are going to build were in a very headache mood. :O As they did not have any equipments for a proper measurement, they also had to invent their own method to measure the site. But later they accepted that it was very hard, but very good lesson to do so. :)

In the evening after our usual delicious dinner, we had a presentation of the survey the students did today. Although they already did quite a substaintial research on Phi Phi island and Leam Tong before coming, to be at the site, to learn the situation were much more real.

The first group presented the geography of Leam Tong, Benz, Zing, Tool, Name, Preaw, Oil, Nam and Prea. They walked all the way to another bay where there are two small villages, although mainly the whole area is resort hotels. They also rented a long tail boat going around the tip of Leam Tong. (Soon they will update their report on this blog).

The second group, Paan, Joke, Kwang and Bee went into the village to understand the community: how they live, their problems, the physical environment of the village.

The thrid group of Pao, Toey, Joe and Hin went around Phi Phi Natural Resort where we stayed. Actually the resort owns the land of the whole tip of Leam Tong - well not really own, but has the right to occupy, let's say. Because the resort itself is composed by small scattering bangalows around with quite complex circulation, we did not understand much the planning from walking around.. The group showed us the overall master plan of the resort.

Ta, Meth, Sai and Tip work on the site plan of the school. They also got some information from the school kids about some of secret spots around the school.

The last group, super girl power, Fern, Fam, Chompu and Pam. They showed the way they measures the site without any special equipment - very impressive indeed. But with only four of them, they were not able to complete all the details. So tomorrow morning, all of the students had to work on the details together. Personally I was very impressed with the very systematic way of working of this group! The task really suited them!

The audiences were all the students, Fa Diow Staffs, the two teachers of the school (ครูหนิง และครูยันต์) with also our TA. (Sor, Pan, NamKhang) and two guest critics (Tong and Ko), and not to forget our invited protographer, Beau (you can see her photo of the trip at her Multiply site.)

The night ended quite late... we all were exhausted but happy and ready for the fun of the following day. :)