The coastal wind park situated in Pak Phanang, Nakhon Si Thammarat is a collaborative project amongst various energy industries, led by Inter Far East Wind International, utilizing 4 wind turbines in generating 10 megawatts of clean energy to serve Pak Phanang community. It reduces carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by more than 165,564,000 tons, equivalent to planting 827,820 trees. The wind park was commissioned, with the initiatives to create a community center where people can be directly educated to understand the significance of the alternative energy source. Consisting of the exhibition hall, conference hall, public library, disaster warning center, weather research center, and outdoor sport facilities, powered entirely by clean energy and open to all for the community. The design concept was drawn from aspects of culture and history evident within Pak Phanang. The architectural design was narrated through the story of cowry shells found on the coast of Pak Phanang beach, previously used as a form of currency of exchange as well as local jewelries. It is a remembrance of the cultural heritage. The project also concentrated on material sourcing from local resources. Unique bricks made from “dintao” or grey earth, specially found in Nakhon Sri Thammarat were used as building material, along with local concrete and wood.
The formal language and function of the architecture is formed through the exploration of the sectional cut of the cowry shell and its site context. The section of the cowry shell reveals internal spatial quality that shows the curvilinear line from the protective exterior shell to its internal core. Accessed the project by the local road that runs along the Pak Phanang coast, the architecture is intentionally designed for the users to see the architectural cowry shell submerging half way in the water. The bridge connected the receptive outdoor plaza leads the users to the entrance and the internal core that circulate to three areas; the exhibition and conference halls, the library and the weather research center. The rooftop is also designed to merge with the jogging track at the park level below for people to experience the park, the sea breeze, and the mangrove from above. Pak Phanang Wind Park Community Center was designed in consideration of the existing, polluted shrimp pond. As a way to revive the abandoned water body, the architecture is built upon the water surface, while a population of mangrove is planted in order to recover and bring back a healthy ecosystem. The coexistence not only creates a dialogue between the context and architecture but also culture and local community.
Vaslab Architecture is a design oriented firm based in Bangkok, presenting expertise in architecture, interior design, and urban design. The studio creates an architecture by injecting the innovative and experimental ideas to construct the new order of architectural elements contextually, which has been recognized with the 2014 winner of International Architecture Award by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies, the 2014 Iconic Awards by The German Design Council, and the 2009, 2013, and 2014 World Architecture Festival Awards (Finalists) as well as having participated as judges and speakers at the World Architecture Festival in Singapore in October 2012 and 2014. This architecture laboratory is a diverse team, consisted of outstanding young, multicultural designers and dedicated exclusively to multi-scale projects such as Casa de La Flora, Honda BigWing, LIT Bangkok Hotel, and Bunker House.