Stu/D/O Architects - Baan Trok Tua Ngork, capturing memories
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Baan Trok Tua Ngork, capturing memories

Stu/D/O Architects

Renovation  /  Completed
Stu/D/O Architects

As most parts of the buildings are being abandoned, while only the top floor is still being used once a year for the owner’s family’s ritual, the plan was to turn the abandoned shophouse into a cultural and commercial space. The opening up for public use will support the maintenance fee of the building and allow it to be self-sustaining. Yet, instead of reinforcing the building with new steel structure and modernizing it with new appearance, Stu/D/O Architects designs to capture the owner’s memories and retain the building’s original spirit with the reuse of original materials and existing elements. The old is being kept old, while the new is made with new and recycled material, without imitating the old.

Located in Bangkok’s gentrified Chinatown, neighboring houses of the era are left in ruins, waiting to be torn down and made into hostels or cafes, the purpose of this renovation is to conserve the slowly disappearing local architecture and reconfigure the building’s history. The front of the building is left almost untouched, while the inside is adaptive for future uses. The project is also beneficial to the locals, as well as the domestic whole. Not only does this building revitalize the street and the buildings around it, but these public uses help create jobs and bring exposure. The building is a replicable model for local buildings with similar conditions, demonstrating that renovation can accommodate changes in program without having to demolish the building.

Not only that the choice of renovation, instead of a new construction, allow the building to retain its spirit, but it minimizes the impact on the surrounding area. Most of the existing elements are kept as is, such as 80% of the floor tiles, while some are altered to suit the program change, such as doors and windows. Moreover, a structural strategy was introduced to accommodate new public functions and its users as the building already maximized the load on its foundation. The approach was to remove the ground floor to reduce weight on the existing structure then built back to be supported by the new one, structurally independent from one another. This allows the building to last longer in the future through the expansion and connection joints designed for different conditions.

Because of the perception and circulation limitation of the existing vertical connection of a rowhouse, the existing narrow service passageway between the row house and the service quarter is now turned into the focal court, in order to suit the cultural uses. The solid walls that were used to define spaces as interior and exterior are replaced with panes of glass to redirect the perception inward and reconnect the two buildings together. Moreover, an unconventional structural strategy had to be adopted in order to minimize environmental and economical impact.

The ideology towards the design was to enhance the notion of preservation by understanding that the old is old and the new is new, mimicking the old would not suffice. Thus, each element was treated in a different way according to their condition. Some are kept as it is, such as the patterned floor tiles that only went through the cleaning process. Some got reconfigured for the new essence, such as the windows that are being removed from the opaque wall and reinserted back into the glass panes. And some new materials were introduced to reciprocate with the existing elements, such as the clay floor tiles that are replaced by the new ones with grooved patterns.

Even though there had been attempts in renovation projects of heritage buildings to remain original by keeping the facades or elements, in many cases the feeling of the projects has changed tremendously, almost like the building had been given a new soul rather than a new lease of life. For Baan Trok, the owners have a strong bond with the building because of the family’s long history with it. Therefore, Stu/D/O strives to retain its memory and spirit in this renovation process.

Credits

 Bangkok
 Thailandia
 Baan Trok Tua Ngork
 Commercial and Art Space
 12/2022
 1175 mq
 Confidential
 Stu/D/O Architects
 Apichart Srirojanapinyo, Chanasit Cholasuek, Suratchan Likittichai, Suwapat Rodprasert, Patompong Songpracha, Sunhachuta Ploybutr
 Brain Construction
 -
 -
 Kukkong Thirathomrongkiat

Curriculum

Stu/D/O Architects is a Bangkok-based architectural design studio whose practice traverses the fields of architecture, urbanism and sustainable design. Grounded in the belief that architecture should consider all layers of physical and cultural distinctness in each site, the office does not adopt a fixed design process, but instead focus on a strong studio culture that pool together fresh ideas to result in new design approaches and possibilities of creating space. Founded under the desire to create architecture that sustains itself and the community along with it, Stu/D/O’s work reflects the importance of the human experience within the creation, and complexities of constructed environments.

https://www.stu-d-o.com


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