The Cultural Courtyard – Elephant World / Bangkok Project Studio

Curated by Hana Abdel
CULTURAL ARCHITECTURE, PUBLIC ARCHITECTURE • THAILAND
Architects : Bangkok Project Studio
Area : 8130 m²
Year : 2020
Photographs : Spaceshift Studio

© Spaceshift Studio

Textual content description offered by the architects. Kui individuals are an ethnic group in Surin, north-eastern Thailand. For a lot of centuries, members of a Kui household have all the time included each people and elephants. A Kui home options the area for people, and the area for elephants—proper beneath the identical roof.

© Spaceshift Studio

As soon as fertile, the forest of Surin was extensively destroyed for industrial functions within the final half-century. The Kui and their elephants, who had relied solely on the forest, suffered excessive droughts, shortages of meals and medicinal vegetation the forest as soon as offered. The 2 wandered the streets of vacationer cities begging for meals. Some labored in elephant camps, many with unsuitable dwelling situations and routine.

© Spaceshift Studio

Elephant World is a governmental mission to convey the Kui and their elephants again to their homeland and to make sure the appropriate dwelling situations for the elephants. The mission consists of the Kui village, an elephant hospital, the pre-existing temple and graveyard for each people and elephants, and a museum telling tales of the group’s age-old tradition.

© Spaceshift Studio

Dubbed ‘the Cultural Courtyard’, the 70×100 m sloping roof spans a big floor the place cultural occasions and spiritual ceremonies from beginning to demise of people and elephants may happen. The 1.5-metre thick roof is open within the middle and punctured at varied factors to ventilate the area. The roof is low-lying, in concord with the encircling village. However as soon as contained in the beneficiant peak of the roof and the expanse of the cultural courtyard reveals itself.

© Spaceshift Studio

Six mounds make up the panorama beneath the roof on three sides, leaving the fourth facet open for customers the scale of elephants. Sloping from four to 1.2 meters, the mounds evoke the rolling soil⁠ by which elephants romp round to chill the physique temperature and defend from bugs.

© Spaceshift Studio

The positioning is an arid plateau situated four kilometers from the river. However the 200 elephants dwelling right here require greater than 8,000 cubic meters of water per 30 days. A rainwater assortment pond was dug subsequent to the location of the Playground. The ensuing 8,500 cubic meters of soil is remodeled into the 6 mounds forming the amphitheater-like courtyard.

© Spaceshift Studio

Strengthening the mounds are basalt rocks sourced 40 minutes from the location. When basalt is mined to the groundwater degree, the water wells up, forming a water reservoir. The development of the Playground, consequently, creates one other water reservoir within the neighboring district.

© Spaceshift Studio

Six rows of concrete benches scatter on the mounds, forming seating for 800 guests. Additionally dotting the panorama are 42 concrete pots the place bushes can be planted and develop by means of the roof openings, offering shading and meals for the elephants.

© Spaceshift Studio

On the Playground, the method of creating architecture offers rise to sustainable coexistence. With new water sources ensuing from the development, moisture has returned to the barren land. The Kui can now take care of the newly-planted bushes, keep the water sources and revive the forest. The bond between the 2 is the catalyst in the direction of a sustainable future. On this future, they’ll reside beneath the identical roof once more, similar to their ancestors did.