Project description by jury
In the last decades, an over-exploitation of resources, population growth, intensified tourism, aquaculture, and industrial production have caused a progressive coastal degradation in Thailand which endangers local ecosystems and communities. This project recovers the coastal area of the Northern Gulf of Thailand, through the re-creation of a mangrove forest in Khlong Dan municipality. The design solution consists of three small-scale operations that work in synergy to create a massive intervention in the sea, on the shoreline and in the inland area. Several kilometers offshore, eighty triangular floating breakwaters are placed in the sea to reduce the intensity of waves. Rather than resisting nature with heavy foundations, these light structures do not damage the seabed and can be removed 30 years after installation, once the mangrove reforestation is well established. Along the shoreline, a system of bamboo docks further absorbs the wave energy, traps the sediment needed for the mangrove afforestation while generating a trail to promote ecotourism in the area. A small pavilion is positioned on the shoreline to serve as a clam embryo shelter and observation tower. Made of biodegradable materials, the architecture will progressively decompose over the next 30 years.
This very complete and detailed proposal addresses the critical environmental issue of coastal erosion in Thailand through a convincing multi-layered and multi-scale design. The project shows a careful analysis of the site and a thoughtful integration of environmental technologies into the landscape and architectural design. The LafargeHolcim Awards jury Asia Pacific particularly appreciated the scientific-driven approach where high- and low-tech elements are interspersed, leading ultimately to an almost poetic atmosphere.
Ecological reclamation process
The ecological reclamation process starts from the reduction of wave intensity by constructing eighty triangular units of floating breakwater connecting as a line, located 2km away in the sea. Three lines of bamboo trap, building layer by layer, along the shoreline helps absorbing wave energy and trapping sediment for mangrove afforestation. The shrimp farm ridges are gradually demolished, allowing seawater to go through the inland. Natural water flow helps preventing water pollution. Reforestation process then begins on the abandoned shrimp farms. Once the forest grows, the afforestation process can be done along the shoreline where sediments have been returned. Within the next 30 years, when mangrove forests become a natural buffer, floating breakwaters can be removed from the coastal ecology.
Structural innovations to reduce wave intensity, trap sediment, and building on soft clay
The galvanized-trusses form a triangular unit of floating breakwater in the sea, which is best form absorbing wave energy. The structure of the pontoon with metal grille and net increases friction forces of the waves. Without a foundation and disassembling structure, the impact on marine ecology is minimal. It is also used as a fish cage and trap as well as shelters for fishermen. A zigzag ecological trail made from bamboo acts as layers of sediment trap on the shoreline. It connects to a clam embryo shelter which is a mangrove-wood wedge and disassembling structure. To minimize footing, 60-degree columns to the ground that mimics bracing roots of mangrove are used with a wide-span cable structure. The biodegradable materials allow architecture to decompose and be a part of nature in 30 years.
Mechanism sustaining coastal ecology and local economy
The decreasing number of aquatic animals in the sea has affected the productivity of local fisheries. This is a consequence of the absence of mangrove forests which has an impact on the animal life cycle in the ecosystem. Hence, clam and mangrove-crab shelters are built to culture embryos and return them back to nature. This operation helps to complete the food chain in the coastal ecology yielding sustainability for local fisheries in the long term. Besides, the outdoor terrace inspired by local “sun-dried krill litter “can be used as a relaxing space for fishermen and tourists. Ecological trail and observatory tower enabling biodiversity experiences together with vernacular architecture are parts of eco-tourism promotion in this area, which will ultimately stimulate the local economy.See more
Thailand’s coastal regions have been overexploited and damaged by excessive tourism and industrial manufacturing for decades. The project by architect Dolathep Chetty, graduate in architecture from Kasetsart University in Bangkok, aims to counteract this development. “We generated the core idea from the philosophy of symbiosis of architecture and environment,” he explains.
There followed what the jury describes as a convincing, multi-layered, multi-scale design based on careful analysis of the site and with thoughtful integration of environmental technologies into the landscape and architectural planning. 18 triangular breakwaters off the coast break the waves and thus reduce erosion. A system of bamboo screens further breaks the force of the waves and collects sediment from the sea water. This in turn can be used to reforest the mangroves. Mussel and crab farms will be introduced, and these will be accessible to tourists. “The project also looks ahead to a point in time when it’s not needed anymore,” says Marilyne Andersen: “It’s an example of how respectful with nature we have to be with our interventions.”Read more »
Next Generation 3rd prize Mangrove Recovery in Thailand – Coastal erosion and economic enhancement by Dolathep Chetty, …
Next Generation 3rd prize winner Dolathep Chetty,graduate in architecture from Kasetsart University, Bangkok, …
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