BAAN BAB COMMUNITY
Baan Baab, Sathorn, Bangkok, Thailand
This project is a part of our 8th anniversary. Sook Architects is one of the volunteer architect to restore Baan Bab community, Sathorn. 8 weeks with FAIFAH people in Chan Road
Baan Bab neighborhood is located in South of Sathorn road. It is bordered to the north by Sathorn road, to the south by Yannawa canal, to the west by a plot of land reaching Charoen Krung road and to the east by Charoen Rat road. (Under the Si Rat Expressway – 2nd stage expressway)
Baan Bab is a community of Thai, Chinese and Muslim people who have settled down together for 120 years. At that time it was a suburbia where people relied on agriculture for living, using water from Yannawa canal which is originated from Chao Phraya River. Then it was developed in the same time as “The 4S”, which is made up of Sathorn, Silom, Surawong and Si Phraya. It was pioneered and canalized by Luang Sathon Racha Yuk (Yom Pisonbut) or Chao Sua Yom. Roads were also made. The land was split up and sold to those who was interested; mostly foreign consuls, merchants and the wealth in 1888. Consequently, the 4S became great business district and residential area.
The Si Rat Expressway – 2nd stage expressway have opened to the public in October 1996. And Charoen Rat road has divided the neighborhood into the west and the east which later is called Rong Nam Kang community, meaning ice house.
Nowadays, there are 60% of original residents and 40% of new residents, who have already lived here for more than 20 years. Some houses and lands in the neighborhood are belong to Lerdsin Hospital and still be kept. They are wooden and old-styled cement houses. The appearances and materials of these houses have shown that they have been there since the era of the King Rama V. Some of them are rented and have not been in a proper care, getting damaged. Isn’t it unbelievable that we still have such historical valuable architectures in the center of business district like Sathorn?
Since Sook Architects have been invited by FAI FAH Chan to rehabilitate Baan Bab neighborhood, we come up with ideas to improve the quality of the environment, economic and historical value by reviving 3 important “paths” which are;
1 Revive the historical path “Yannawa Canal”
In the old time, the canal was like a main blood vessel for the community. People relied on the canal to live; catching aquatic animals, watering plants and transiting by boat. Then after roads were developed, people started to give less care to the water. Eventually the canal have been completely neglected and it became a drainage. The water has gone dirty and black, giving out unpleasant smell.
Reviving Guideline: Bringing back good quality water to the canal. So the aquatic animals and plants can grow, bringing freshness and balancing city ecology. Also developing the city connection by using steel section walkway over the canal, adding public circulation as a walkway and bike lane that connect Charoen Rat and Charoen Krung road, letting sunlight and rainwater passing through to the water below.
2 Revive the historical path “Baan Bab Alley”
Baan Bab alley is a public space that people in the neighborhood still use as a meeting space. It is also a circulation leading from the residential units to the main roads.
Reviving Guideline: The current street surface and drainage ability are still in a good condition, so the addition we would like to suggest is the lighting that comes from clean energy by installing solar cell units according to the suitability and participation in the community. This way the cost wouldn’t become a burden to the neighborhood and the alley will be lighten and safer at night, while cooling down by tree shades during daytime.
3 Reviving the split-up neighborhood due to the expressway
Reviving Guideline: Using the location under the expressway, connecting with south of Sathorn road and close to the public transit hub like Surasak BTS Station in a walking distance, as an socially economical area for the neighborhood and Sathorn district. At daytime, it maybe city-agricultural market such as Bangkok Farmer (Organic) Market, while becoming recreational market such as Cicada (Bangkok) at night.