The Mae Kuang River Remediation Park
Chiang Mai, Thailand
The Mae Kuang River's many weirs and canals comprise a vernacular architecture constructed by local villagers to irrigate rice fields. I am proposing a Mae Kuang River Remediation Park as an agitated vernacular that adds to the productive agricultural landscape as well as leisure and recreation.
Mae Kuang River has suffered from the construction of the Mae Kuang Dam, the expansion of housing and new road systems, and chemical pollution. In the proposed park water goes through bio, phyto, and soil filtration systems to clean its water. Bio filtration happens in pools/lakes where the water flow slows down and microorganisms break down pollutants. Phyto filtration includes purification through plant roots and filtrating plants. Water filtrates through reach soils of the park. Canals that currently run along the Ring Road are replaced with bioswales to clean runoff water.
Park paths create an educational/culinary connection between two districts that are currently divided by the river. Visitors can walk/bike across the park and rest at salas, take boat rides, swim in clean water, and take a hot air balloon. An eco-farm uses the river water to grow fruit and vegetables and sell/cook/serve them at the site. The park offers an education platform for studying nature, farming, and cooking.
Purified water benefits gardeners, farmers, fishermen, and people for whom the river is the only available/affordable source of water. The green landscape of the park holds water during monsoon seasons thus reducing flooding in the area. Canals provide a sustainable source of energy via the placement of micro hydro energy turbines.
As the watershed map shows, this park is a model of a sustainable vernacular at the headwater of the Chao Phraya river basin that can be replicated downstream and across Thailand contributing to the quality of water and health of people across the Kingdom.