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Kantana Film and Animation Institute

Bangkok Project Company Limited

The architectural programme for the Kantana Film and Animation Institute, a facility offering a broad range of filmmaking courses, pivots around integrating modern materials - concrete and steel - with Thailand’s traditional building medium - brick. Integration is also at the root of the spatial composition and its elements. Broad pathways connect the separate department blocks, and long expanses of unrendered, saw-tooth outer brick walls group the various units into a single complex. The lush natural vegetation is also used to enhance a sense of oneness. Trees line the external pathways while the surrounding tropical forest intrudes into the plan at various points, dialoguing with the architecture and framed by the raw brick walls. The exterior distribution routes are set at right angles on a north-south, east-west axis. The north-south paths course slightly off-axis, in keeping with slight skew given to the built volumes, an irregularity that adds a dynamic quality to the whole. The stout brick walls enveloping the single storey buildings are the programme’s most striking visual feature. They enhance the horizontal character of the whole plan. The sense of groundedness is forcefully conveyed by the regular alignment of huge bricks to form rough horizontal expanses some 8 metres high topped by identical mouldings and broken only by a series of projecting walls. Different-size recessed openings pierce the building walls at irregular intervals. They serve several functions. As glazed openings they allow light and air into the building while the cut-outs closest to ground level create quiet corners for reading, relaxing and meditating before nature behind solid walls. Some 600 thousand bricks were used on site. The project has helped revive an ancient Thai building technique and encouraged vocational training in this time-honoured skill. It has also made a traditional material part of state-of-the-art building technology: the brick wall...

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