Ajarn Nantapon Junngurn
The Chairman of the Architect’17 Exposition
ASA CREW: As the Chairman of Architect’17 Exposition Organizing Committee, can you tell us the concept behind this year’s theme? Why “BAAN BAAN” Reconsidering Dwelling?
Ajarn Nantapon: We view that ‘BAAN (or a dwelling)’ is the most important architectural unit for general people. To build or change something starting at a small scale, such as a well-designed well-planned house, will result in a great overall picture or community. At the same time, ‘BAAN’ is perhaps the best architectural tool that an architect can use to communicate with the general public. This is a policy of the Association of Siamese Architects under Royal Patronage. We want to make everyone know and have a better understanding about the role of architects, using ‘BAAN’ as a tool to bring together the public and the architects.
In addition, we see that ‘BAAN’ could attract new generation of architects to get more involved with the association because, for almost all architects, the first projects in their careers begin with home design.
As for the origin of the name ‘BAAN BAAN’, we want to find a Thai name, and this is a name with repeated words that can be interpreted in different ways. In additional to the meaning ‘a dwelling’, it can refer to a group of dwellings, a community or the repeated word slang that we are used to. It can also imply comfort and simplicity, without lots of decoration, but can still make us live happily. And all the ideas that are gathered for the talk about ‘BAAN’ come from reconsidering dwellings, and that’s how we come up with the English title for this event, ‘Reconsidering Dwelling’. Visitors will have an opportunity to reconsider about dwellings through concepts and displayed works this year.
ASA CREW: What is the reason to reconsider about ‘BAAN’?
Ajarn Nantapon: A dwelling is one of the beginning points of life. Recognizing its importance and rethinking, both as a designer and a user, when an architect and a home owner get a chance to exchange ideas, Bringing in and digesting different types of ideas may lead to new ideas that are more beneficial. Not only do we have to reconsider the approach in home design, but we also need to analyze it in the context of society. For example, if every house plants a tree, not only do we feel cool from the shade of our tree, but the whole village has shading from all the trees from everyone’s house. Usually the temperature under trees is 2-3 degrees different than in the non-shaded outdoor area. In terms of the village sustainability, we help reduce energy use. Better understanding of the dwelling design gives way to different perceptions about society. To give an easy example, if we have a piece of land that is similar to our neighbor’s, we can co-design and have a common open green space. If we are friendly with each other, there may be no need for fencing. I think this type of concept will be one of the emerging ideas from reconsidering about houses and dwellings seen in this architectural exposition”.
ASA CREW: What have you prepared for the visitors?
Ajarn Nantapon: At the entrance, we want everyone to join us in the memory of His Majesty King Rama IX’s benevolence and his works for the people. Also we want all to see his wisdom in architecture. There are 2 main exhibitions; the first one is ‘The Kingdom’s Architect’, ‘Baan’, the King’s Choice of Dwelling, and the other exhibition is to commemorate his great kindness. We make a presentation of the King’s home office in Chang-Hua-Mun Project, which shows the concept of dwelling based on the Sufficiency Economy philosophy.
Other exhibitions are divided into 3 main sections. The first one is about ‘Dwelling’, showcasing different types of dwellings such as single family houses, townhouses, and condominiums. Various aspects contributing to the sense of home are also presented through case studies of a rafting house and a homeless house. The second section is the Exhibition featuring Dwelling’s Elements, including walls, doors, windows, and stairs, all the way to furniture. These small elements are what made up a house. The third section is the Exhibition featuring Dwelling’s Surroundings, focusing on the context of the surroundings of the house, from the house to the fence, and also the area outside of the fence of each house and between houses. This is the context on the community scale. Here, we want to tell the public about the concept ‘BAAN BAAN Reconsidering Dwelling’, which is the theme of this year’s exposition.
ASA CREW: I have heard that this year, the event design takes into consideration the reusability in order to benefit the society as well.
Ajarn Nantapon: We have 50 perennial plants that we will set up as props in the event. We divide them into 2 parts. After the exposition ends, we will have the activity ‘Planting for Home, for City’ and ‘For Home’. We will bring 25 trees back to plant at our association, following the policy of Ajarn Ajaphol Dusitnanond, the president of the association, who wishes to increase green spaces. We will plant the trees in the parking area of the association so that we can use that area for a recreational purpose like an exercise and activities.
In the future, we will open the space for the general public to take advantage of. As for ‘For City’ we collaborate with Big Tree Group and Bang Kra Jao community to bring the other 25 trees to plant at Bang Kra Jao, the lung of Bangkok, to increase the green areas. In the activity hall, each day 999 seedlings will be distributed from the Royal Forest Department to the public for planting. We want the plantation to be the beginning of how we make the surroundings of the dwelling and the community to be more livable. and I would like to have the teams responsible for each section talk about them
ASA CREW: The intention of this year’s event is to emphasize on the public communication. What will be some additional benefits for coming to this event?
Ajarn Nantapon: The public will understand the importance of dwellings that all components are related, from inside to outside, and, on a broader scale, to the community level. They will see all the pictures according to the main concept ‘BAAN BAAN’ that we set.
Furthermore, those who are interested can attend lectures in the ASA Forum, an academic seminar with top designers and architecture professionals, both locally and internationally, sharing knowledge and experiences in their careers. There is a huge area to shop for a variety of construction materials from leading brands in the exhibition building. Or if you are interested in a particular house style, scan QR Code for information about the architect who is the designer and his or her contact information. At the activity hall, there are training sessions, talks with architects, and free workshops. It is an event that will build closer relationships between architects and the public.